Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules on Notice to Employer of a Worker’s Injury

The July 2011 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Gentex Corp. v. Morack addressed the issue of the degree of specificity that an employee needs to use when giving an employer notice of a workplace injury. The court ruled that an employee can meet the statutory requirement of notice to an employer of a workplace injury even if the notice of the injury occurs over time through a series of communications. This form of notice is acceptable when the employee is not immediately aware of the nature of the injury or is uncertain that the injury is work-related. This case illustrates the difference between the workers’ compensation system and a personal injury lawsuit in compensating those who are injured.
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Pennsylvania Patients Participate in DePuy Hip Implant Litigation

Hip replacement surgery was supposed to offer a relief from pain and restore the ability for someone to lead an active life. Instead, for many hip implant patients, it has only lead to more pain. For some people, it has even caused severe illnesses when metal from the failing implant gets into the bloodstream.

On October 4, 2011, NBC Nightly News broadcast a report on the early failure of metal-on-metal hip implants. The report called it one of the nation’s largest medical device failures ever. That failure has in turn lead to significant product liability litigation.
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How Much Is an Apology Worth?

Everyone makes mistakes, but when a mistake results in the death of a newborn baby, an apology may not be enough. In Philadelphia, a young couple filed suit against a local area hospital for just that, the death of their newborn. Shortly after being born severely premature, the child died in a neonatal care unit. The child’s path of recovery was risky from the beginning, but the death was nevertheless preventable.
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State Reps Hope to Help Injured Students Through “Ashley’s Law”

Pennsylvania State Representatives are proposing a bill, called “Ashley’s Law” that would abolish the current law capping the amount of money a school district can pay toward a defendant. The law is named for Ashley Zauflik, a Pennsbury High School student, who was severely injured when an out of control school bus struck and ran over her at Falls High School. Because of the accident, Ashley lost one leg above the knee and suffered a crushed pelvis.
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The Rising Trend of Mediation Has Both Benefits and Drawbacks

Mediation is an alternative way of settling a legal dispute without using the court system. A recent uptrend in the use of mediation has caused a noticeable decline in civil lawsuits across the state of Pennsylvania. In 2010, people in Pennsylvania filed 140,764 civil cases, which was a 21 percent decline from 2006.

There has been steady growth in mediation of medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania because physicians want to try to control their liability exposure to patients.
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Pennsylvania Texting While Driving Ban Goes Into Effect

A state law that prohibits texting while driving, which was passed by the legislature last fall, recently went into effect – making Pennsylvania the 35th state to put a ban on this form of distracted driving.

Under the new law, texting while driving is considered a primary offense – meaning that drivers can be pulled over if caught texting, even if they’re not committing any other moving violations at the time. Those who are caught breaking this law will face fines of around $135.
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OSHA Adopts International Chemical-Hazard Warning Standards

Many U.S. workplaces of all sizes and types have the potential to expose workers to dangerous chemicals. The federal government has adopted an internationally recognized labeling warning system that will provide uniform communication to employees of the specific hazards they face. It is hoped that the new labeling standards will significantly increase workplace safety and decrease the rate of workplace accidents, injuries, diseases and even deaths from dangerous or toxic chemical exposure.
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Slip and Fall Liability on Pennsylvania’s Snowy Sidewalks

With Thanksgiving come and gone, winter is starting to creep up on everyone. For those living in Pennsylvania, when the sub-zero winds start to blow they know all too well how quickly snow, sleet and ice can start to accumulate. Consequently, Pennsylvania residents need to be careful when clearing their sidewalks of snow and ice – as doing so improperly may expose the homeowner to liability.
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While Experts Debate PSA Testing, Cancer Patients Could Suffer

In recent months, health policy experts and medical professionals have argued back and forth over the use of PSA tests to detect and diagnose prostate cancer. How the issue is resolved could affect thousands of men each year and help define detection and treatment standards for this serious disease.

PSA is short for prostate-specific antigen, a protein that is produced by the prostate gland; high PSA levels are an indicator of prostate cancer. Healthcare professionals test PSA levels by taking a blood sample and sending it to a lab for analysis, then confirming the results with a biopsy.
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Pennsylvania Study Highlights Nurse Fatigue and Infection Risk

A recent study out of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing casts light on a serious problem in American healthcare. Thousands of nurses studied showed high levels of burnout or fatigue, which can lead to otherwise preventable medical errors with potentially life-threatening consequences.
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