Pennsylvania and Ohio Injury Law Blog

Worker touches power line, goes into cardiac arrest

One of the greatest dangers construction workers face is when they deal with electrical lines. Workers can suffer electrocution, severe burns and other serious injuries when a vehicle, ladder or body part touches a power line or there is an arc flash or arc blast.

According to a newspaper report, this morning a utility worker on a construction site touched a live power line. The 19,000-volt jolt sent the worker into cardiac arrest. No word was available on his or her condition. The electricity also set fire to the worker's truck and a utility pole and knocked out power to 400 Ohio businesses and homes in the Heath area west of Columbus.

Safety regulators' singular focus: single-unit trucks

Any seasoned passenger vehicle driver -- that is, any motorist with sufficient behind-the-wheel time to truly understand the perils of driving and the unremitting safety focus required to do it well -- notes well the outsized risks posed by large commercial trucks.

The truly big rigs that regularly haul goods across Ohio, Pennsylvania and the rest of the country come with some very singular characteristics that make it imperative for drivers of smaller vehicles to literally steer clear of them. They take a long time to stop. They obviously take up a lot of space. And when they are involved in accidents, the resulting human toll is often marked and tragic.

Driving too fast for conditions?

The thunder rolled from a memorial to benefit the daughters of a paramedic who lost her life in the line of duty earlier this year, according to a WJAC report. Two hundred motorcyclists rode in a show of support for the 38-year-old who earlier this year was struck by a coal truck as she helped at the scene of a car accident to the east of Pittsburgh.

The Upper Yoder Township fatal accident was the last in a series of three crashes on a snowy, early March day. The chain reactions began when a school bus came to a stop to pick up children. The delivery truck behind the bus came to a stop, but an SUV following the truck was apparently going too fast for conditions and could not stop on the icy road, hitting the delivery truck from behind.

Route 65 truck accident claims two lives

A truck driver told a Pittsburgh TV station that an Audi driver made a fatal decision on Route 65 near the I-79 interchange. The trucker said the northbound Audi tried to pass him on the left.

"Just went straight into oncoming traffic while she was going around me," he told WTAE.

Pittsburgh building boom means more construction injuries

It's that time of the year: the summer sun is shining and the air is filled with the sounds of baseball games, family picnics, children playing and the bangs and booms of busy construction sites.

The website BuildingPittsburgh.com says construction activity is "up significantly" this year in metropolitan Pittsburgh. Commercial construction projects are up 24.3 percent and residential construction is up 31 percent over last year. While that is good economic news, it also reminds us that construction is a dangerous business in which too many firms try to misclassify workers so that they can avoid paying for Pennsylvania workers' compensation, unemployment insurance and other benefits.

Will bigger rigs roll over Pennsylvania and Ohio?

The biggest vehicles rolling on Pennsylvania and Ohio highways are tractor-trailers. The behemoths could get significantly bigger if Congress has its way. The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed a measure and sent it on to the Senate that would enable trucking companies to roll 85-foot double tractor-trailers across America.

The giant new trucks would be 17 feet longer than those currently allowed on Pennsylvania roads. Naturally, shipping companies are excited about the prospect, saying that the new big rigs would increase hauling capacity by 18 percent without increasing the number of trucks. FedEx claims that the gargantuan rigs would reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions -- and would be safer than the 18-wheelers now on our highways.

Slippery Rock car accident critically injures 3

A car accident in Slippery Rock Township near the intersection of Route 8 and Branchton Road has injured six total people. Three of the six injured are said to be critical. The accident occurred when a 19 year old man from Cranberry Township crossed through an intersection and hit a pickup truck being operated by a 55 year old Marion Township man.

Ikea dresser causes death of two children

An Ikea furniture store dresser, known as the MALM chest, has caused the death of two children in the United States this past year. Both children were killed in tip-over incidents. Tip-over incidents occur when a piece of furniture or an appliance is knocked over or falls over and lands on somebody.

PennDOT employee killed, four others injured in crash

Tragedy struck the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, workers and workers' families late last week. A PennDOT worker was killed and four other workers injured in a single-vehicle crash in a rural, northern part of the state, about 250 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

According to news reports, investigators have yet to pinpoint the cause of the crash. The 53-year-old driver apparently lost control of the state vehicle as it rounded a curve. It then struck a pole and guardrails before plunging down an embankment and overturning. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck; the other four were hospitalized in Williamsport.

Laws that cannot be broken in truck accidents

When our legislators aren't reworking old laws that no longer function as intended, they are introducing new legislation to govern Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the United States. However, no one can change the laws of physics. When a large, heavy truck hits a much smaller, much lighter vehicle, the laws of physics are on the side of the truck.

We saw that truth illustrated recently in a violent collision involving a concrete truck that can weigh 30 tons or more, and a 1991 Mitsubishi GT 3000 that weighs a ton and a half. The driver of the concrete truck emerged from the wreckage with minor injuries. The 26-year-old driver of the Mitsubishi was killed in the crash.