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McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt Secures $15.56 Million Verdict Against SEPTA

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On April 6, 2017, William Meszaros (“Bill”), then age 28, was working as a Power Trainee for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (“SEPTA”) Railroad Division.  On that day Bill was a part of a crew working in SEPTA’s Wayne Electric Car Yard in Philadelphia, Pa. Bill and his crew were tasked with loading a 5,644-pound spool of trolley wire into a storage container. 

In preparation to move the spool into the storage container, two members of Bill’s crew laid two sections of railroad ties in front of the storage container to compensate for the approximately 6-inch difference in height between the container floor and the ground. The spool of wire was then placed by way of forklift on the railroad ties. 

Once the spool of wire was placed on the railroad ties, the forklift was backed up to remove the forks of the forklift from under the reel. At this time, Bill was positioned just inside the storage container doorway as the other crew members began to roll the spool into the storage container doorway. The weight of the spool shifted to the right and pinned and crushed Bill to the wall of the storage container.  Bill was ultimately able to free himself, but he sustained catastrophic crush injuries and required emergency medical assistance.

Bill’s injuries included blunt abdominal trauma resulting in a mesenteric tear and serosal tear of the ascending colon, requiring surgical intervention, including exploratory laparotomy, small bowel resection with small bowel anastomosis, and repair of serosal tear of the ascending colon.  Bill also suffered a brachial plexus injury (permanent nerve damage) to his right shoulder and now suffers from chronic regional pain syndrome, chronic migraines, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.  Bill is now, at the age of 32, permanently disabled as the nerve damage prevents him from fully using his right arm and his abdominal injuries has resulted in severe and permanent gastrointestinal issues.  

Suit was initiated on Bill’s behalf in Pennsylvania State Court under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act by James McEldrew, Esq. of the law firm of McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt.  From the outset, SEPTA postured as if it wanted to resolve this matter, however, never made any significant settlement offers.  In fact, SEPTA took the position that Bill was exaggerating his injuries and spent a staggering $55,195 to have Bill, his girlfriend, and young child followed and surveilled for three years – in hopes of “catching him” faking. 

After a failed mediation attempt it became clear that this case would be heading for a trial. On the eve of trial, SEPTA made a $3 million dollar settlement offer which Bill promptly rejected. During the week-long trial, Bill’s legal team from McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt presented eighteen witnesses, nine of which were medical professionals.  

The witnesses included gastroenterologists, Dr. James C. Reynolds and Dr. Albert Harary, who both testified at length to Bill’s permanent and chronic gastrointestinal (“GI”) issues, which range from incontinence and constipation to crippling bowel spasms.  Dr. Reynolds, who heads up the University of Pennsylvania’s gastroenterology department and Bill’s current treatment provider, explained that the presentation of Bill’s GI issues changes daily and because of that, Bill is limited in what he can do and eat as there is no way to predict when a bowel spasm will occur and cause Bill to defecate on himself.  

The jury also heard testimony from pain and rehabilitation specialists, Dr. Guy Fried and Dr. Steven Rosen. Both doctors explained the nature and extent of Bill’s brachial plexus injury.  SEPTA and its orthopedic expert, Dr. Richard Mandel, argued that from an orthopedic standpoint, Bill was fine and could return to work. However, Drs. Fried and Rosen explained to the jury that a brachial plexus injury is not an orthopedic injury – like a broken bone.  Instead, the doctors explained that the brachial plexus is a network of nerves in the shoulder that carries movement and signals to the arm and hands and the injury Bill suffered to his brachial plexus when he was struck by the spool of wire permanently damaged those nerves.  As a result, Bill will never have full usage of his right arm again and will have to deal with chronic regional pain syndrome for the rest of his life. 

Yet, SEPTA maintained its position that from an orthopedic standpoint, Bill was fine.  To support its position, SEPTA also presented the testimony of neurologist, Dr. George Dooneief, and several surveillance videos of Bill performing numerous activities. However, the case presented by Bill’s legal team was insurmountable as the jury saw through SEPTA’s farce of a defense and returned a verdict in the amount of $15.56 million – more than five times SEPTA’s pre-trial settlement offer. 

The case was successfully tried by Daniel Purtell, Esq., John Coyle, Esq., and Marcus Washington, Esq. of McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt. 

Driving with Dogs: Some Safety Tips

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It’s not uncommon for us to travel with our constant friends. Cats and dogs frequently accompany their owners in the car, whether they’re going to the vet, performing errands, going on a road trip, or even just a joyride!

Safe driving, like riding without cats and dogs in the car, involves a level of planning and the ability to avoid distractions. Here’s a list of things to remember the next time you’re driving with your pet. There are three different forms of distractions that might happen when driving:

    • Visual distraction
    • Manual distraction
    • Cognitive distraction

When a driver’s eyes are taken off the road, this is known as a visual distraction. When a driver takes their hands off the steering wheel, this is known as manual distraction. Finally, cognitive distraction occurs when the driver’s attention is diverted from the activity at hand. When driving with a pet in the car, any or all of these distractions could occur.

Any type of distraction while driving, even being distracted by a pet, can result in a collision. That is why, especially when traveling with cats or dogs in the automobile, safe driving rules should be continuously enforced.

 

Understand the Rules of the Road When Driving With a Dog

First and foremost, you should be aware of the regulations governing the transportation of animals in vehicles. Because these rules might differ from place to location, it’s even more crucial to do your homework before you go so you don’t end up with a hefty fine. This covers legislation governing your pet’s safe transportation, such as whether or not the dog must be transported in a carrier.

“Dog In Car Stock” by RebaSpike is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Fearful or car-sick dogs should be trained or prepared

Long road journeys present a lot of obstacles, which are amplified if your dog dislikes traveling or gets car sick. You can teach your dog to not be afraid of automobile journeys. You begin by training your dog to eat food from a parked car that has not been turned on. Work your way up to eating in the car while it’s running. Then practice on short journeys that conclude in a pleasurable location, like a dog park. Because this process can take weeks or months, you should begin well in advance of any extended trips. However, with the right training, your dog may come to like vehicle rides!

Car sickness, on the other hand, is an entirely separate problem that you can’t prepare for. You might be able to talk to your veterinarian about drugs that can help ease your dog’s nausea or put him to sleep during long bouts of travel.

 

Always have some food and water with you

You never know what could happen, so keep some dog food and a water bottle on standby to keep your pup hydrated in case of emergency. Keeping a spill-proof water bowl with the dog’s name on it will make it apparent what the dish is for. Allow your pet to have a drink and some food whenever you stop on a long journey, so they are not alarmed if an emergency stop needs to be made.

 

Every few hours take a break

People were not built to ride in a vehicle for eight hours or more, and your pet should not be expected to do so either. Make it a point to stop every two to three hours if you’re on a long journey. Step outside and stretch, then do the same for your pet. Before getting back in the car for a few hours, go for a short stroll to burn off some pent-up energy. This is beneficial to everyone’s health!

“Dog Eats Car” by fsamuels is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Locking your dog in the car is not a good idea

There are a variety of reasons why you should never leave your pet in the car alone. The interior of automobiles can become excessively hot in the summer, suffocating animals. Temperatures might plummet in the winter, causing your pet to freeze. It is prohibited in some areas to leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. 

 

Have fun on your journey!

Traveling with a dog is similar to traveling with a small child in many respects. Because they are unable to care for themselves throughout a journey, you must keep their needs in mind and be proactive in caring for them. Any resulting injuries of cars can be compensated by an Ontario car accident attorney. These suggestions should help you and your canine companion have a lot more enjoyable car rides in the future!

Tips To Prevent Dangerous Accidents in Your Home

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electrical injury baby

Unintentional injuries are one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and are the number one leading cause of death in those aged 35 and younger. Shockingly, about 76% of preventable injury-related deaths occur in the homes and communities. In fact, in 2019, 131,400 died from a preventable, unintentional injury. And over the last ten years, that number has been steadily creeping higher. 

Naturally, you would probably not think about bringing a lawsuit against someone if you or a loved one were injured in your own home. But if you were injured in a slip and fall, or other unintentional way in a house that is not your residence, you may have standing to file a claim against the negligent party. The team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can help you understand the claims process, and how you can receive fair compensation for your accident with a free consultation. We’ve also compiled a list of our top tips to prevent dangerous accidents in the home below. 

“ADA 5′ shower units (9) with seat frames and grab bars – $200” by Our United Villages is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

 

Tips to Avoid Dangerous Accidents In The Home

While unintentional injuries can be severe or life threatening, the steps you need to take to prevent them are usually simple. Here are our top tips to prevent injuries in the home:

Prevent Falls:

Falls are the most dangerous and most common unintentional household injury. To prevent falls, follow these tips:

    • Always clean up spills immediately after they occur: Liquids, grease, or other fluids should always be cleaned up immediately after spilling on the ground.
    • Secure rugs: Non skid pads, or slip resistant backings should be present on all rugs on the floor. Double sided carpet tape is also available to secure the edges. Especially watch out for rugs at the top of stairs or near drop offs in the house. 
    • Be mindful of where liquids are placed: Make sure cups with liquid are placed far away from the edge of the table. Watch out for placing liquids on tables that have a tablecloth or runner on it, as a child can easily pull on the fabric causing a spill. 
    • Take extra precautions in the bathroom: Install grab bars in the shower or near the toilet if you live with someone who is unsteady on their feet, such as an elderly family member. Properly installed hower bars or shower stools can help prevent dangerous falls in the bathroom. 
    • Check dangerous areas: Garages and basement are often cluttered and have trip and fall risks. Make sure there are clear paths through these areas and that boxes are stacked safely without the risk of falling over and injuring someone. 

      “How many adults does it take to help a kid down stairs?” by JenCarole is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Prevent Burns:

    • Watch where you place hot liquids: Follow the same steps as above and always be mindful of where you place cups of hot liquid such as tea or coffee.
    • Check your hot water heater: Keep water heaters set at or below 120 degrees to prevent burns from overly hot water. Young children and the elderly are the most susceptible to burns

General Safety:

    • Always keep electronics far away from water: Especially watch out for young children when in the bathroom and keep all electronics far away from the water
    • Stairs: Make sure your handrail runs the full length of the staircase and that there are no area rugs or mats at the base or top of stairs. Make sure outdoor stairs are well lit. 
    • Keep all cleaning products secure: All cleaning products should be stored in a secure and childproof cabinet. A high cabinet that children cannot reach is preferable. 
“Cleaning Product Organizer” by Hey Paul Studios is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

Getting Help When Accidents Happen

Of course, you may not be able to implement all of these suggestions in a house other than your own. But this short list of tips can serve as a guide for what to look out for when you or a loved one visit another house, as well as help you keep your own home as safe as possible.

You won’t always be able to prevent an unintentional injury from happening, but if you or someone you love were injured because of someone else’s negligence in keeping their home safe, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt today at 1-866-283-7804 or use the contact form here to find out what your rights are and get a free consultation.

 

Philadelphia Nursing Home an Example of How Administration Profits From Elder Abuse

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St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation and Health Care

A former manager has pleaded no contest to the charge of recklessly endangering residents at the Darby Nursing Home known as the St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation & Health Care. The misdemeanor charges were filed after the state Health Department completed an inspection that found severe neglect of patients in the home, including one patient with “wounds that went down to the bone with exposed tendon”.

This may seem like an outlying case, but unfortunately, nursing home administrations often profit by neglecting and abusing the elders who are in their care, making this kind of situation horrifically common. At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we have years of experience bringing nursing home administrators and owners to justice after instances of neglect and abuse. We can help you successfully file a claim if your loved one has suffered due to negligence or malpractice while living in a nursing home or long-term care facility.

 

What Happened at St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation and Health Care?

In September of 2017, The PA state Health Department took the extraordinary step of revoking the center’s license and installing a temporary manager at St. Francis after an inspection found multiple instances of negligence, and immediately removed manager Chaim “Charlie” Steg.

The Health Departments inspection was prompted by five complaints. The inspection itself found multiple issues at the facility, including:

Three residents tragically died in the facility due to these types of abuse and neglect. These issues began at St. Francis shortly after staffing was severely cut back under manager Charlie Steg. 

 

Why Was St. Francis Understaffed?

St. Francis was majority owned by Charles-Edouard Gros, who bought St. Francis along with seven other nursing homes in 2014. Gros operated under the umbrella of Center Management Group, who used Charlie Steg as their regional director of operations. Center Management had previously paid fines to state and federal authorities related to neglect. 

A 2018 analysis done by the Philadelphia Inquirer showed that staffing at all facilities purchased by Gros fell sharply after his takeover, while his profits soared. Gros reduced the amount of care provided by registered nurses by 29% at St. Francis by cutting hours for nurses. The number of registered nurses at the facility fell by almost half after the facility was purchased by Gros. Numerous studies have shown that the presence of registered nurses is one of the key elements to providing high-quality care in nursing homes. 

Photo by Sabine van Erp via Pixabay

Is Elder Mistreatment More Common in For-Profit Nursing Homes? 

Despite all this, Gros has yet to face any criminal charges, with only manager Charlie Steg facing penalties. Attorney General Josh Shapiro has stated that  “We filed criminal charges where they were warranted. We held the establishment accountable to the best of our ability.” So why is it so difficult to file charges against the owners of facilities that commit gross acts of negligence?

The answer lies in the complicated legality of for-profit nursing homes. Nearly 70% of the nursing homes in the United States are owned by for-profit companies that often change hands. Who actually owns a nursing home can then become a convoluted question. 

 

How To Hold Negligent Nursing Homes Accountable

For-profit nursing homes can change owners multiple times in a single week, and often have management and ownership structures that are purposefully complex in order to obscure who is responsible for delivering care – and who is ultimately responsible when major issues arise. In fact, the charges against Steg are believed to be the first criminal reckless endangerment charges based on inadequate staffing levels and practices in a nursing facility in Pennsylvania. 

The experienced team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt know how to navigate the complex legal issues surrounding liability in cases of nursing home abuse and neglect. If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at a nursing home, contact us today for a free consultation, and we can help you hold the responsible parties accountable. We can be reached at 1-866-690-2848 or by filling out our form here.

 

 

 

The Role of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Workplace

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"silent diversity" by DryHundredFear is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Diversity, equity, and inclusion comprise the modern workplace mantra, yet discrimination, disparity, and oppression remains widespread in professional settings. Despite the fact that many employers claim that diversity, equity, and inclusion are the foundation of their business, the reality isn’t even close. Many of them do not fully comprehend the terms, while the rest are more focused on putting on a show rather than actually incorporating those values in their organization. Old habits die hard, which is why business owners are not as broadminded and accepting as they claim to be. 

People of color and other minority groups in society repeatedly find themselves at a disadvantage. Racism and stereotyping are two major obstacles that prevent them from personal growth and professional success. The United States is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, thus it is not surprising that there are so many contradicting opinions all around. While the Millenials and Generation Z are actively participating in campaigns promoting equal rights, the older generations are reluctant to let go of traditional bigotry and sexism. 

What is Workplace Diversity?

Diversity in the workplace means that people from different origins and cultural backgrounds come together. The employer must hire individuals on the basis of their skill, rather than what meets the eye. Diversity is not limited to skin color, religion, and ethnicity, but also includes people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations. Diversity in the workplace promotes innovation and creativity, which is ultimately beneficial for the business. Collaboration and merging of contrasting ideas gives rise to new and promising prospects.  

Photo by Amy Elting on Unsplash

How To Establish Equity and Inclusion at the Workplace?

Hiring a diverse workforce is only the first step; many business owners fumble with what comes next. There is no point in increasing the number of female, disabled, LTBTQ, Black, Asian, and immigrant workers if you are not ready to treat them fairly. Every employee at your firm needs to feel included and respected, regardless of who they are and where they come from. Their input is as invaluable as everyone else, and they deserve equal opportunities for advancing in their career. They are entitled to same pay scale, employment incentives, and worker’s compensation policy as everybody else.

When an employer implements equity, inclusion develops automatically. When all employees are treated as equals, none of them will feel singled out. Equity and inclusion eliminate the possibilities of favoritism and victimization. Companies that abide by the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion are 30% more likely to outperform competitors who do not share these values. When employees from all walks of life feel welcomed and appreciated, they are encouraged to perform optimally and exhibit loyalty. 

A workplace that discourages all sorts of discrimination is less susceptible to legal claims and lawsuits filed by employees. Diversity, equity, and inclusion eliminate in-house conflicts, and ultimately protect the business from litigation costs. Every employer and employee should be aware of his/her rights and responsibilities at the workplace. While an employer does not need a reason to fire a worker, there are situations where it can be considered as wrongful termination. If the employee presents proof of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, the company may have to face harsh legal consequences. If you have been wronged by a figure of authority or person of power in the workplace hierarchy, Personal Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia can help you attain justice. 

Call the experienced team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt today at 1-866-333-7715 or fill out our form for a free consultation on your case.

 

Fatal Pedestrian Accidents Increased Dramatically During Coronavirus Pandemic

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Road Crowd People City Traffic Street. Source: Maxpixel.net, shared under a CC0 license

 

The lockdowns of 2020 caused many departures from routine. In the case of pedestrian accidents, these changes in pattern were sometimes tragic.

Vehicle miles traveled in the first six months of the year dropped by 16.5 percent compared with the same period in 2019. Despite this drop, an increase in pedestrian deaths was registered — from 2,951 in 2019 to 2,957 in 2020!

This continuity represents an actual pedestrian fatality rate increase of 20% over 2019. The fatality rate increased to 2.2 pedestrian deaths per billion vehicle miles traveled, compared to 1.8 deaths in 2019.

The pedestrian rights lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt represent civilians with cases of serious medical injuries or wrongful deaths caused by automobiles. If you were injured due to the negligence of a driver, we will fight for the compensation that you deserve.

 

What Causes These Accidents?

In the first months of the pandemic, traffic was light but enforcement was lax. In addition, many more pedestrians were on back roads near to their houses, owing to an excess of time spent at home and no open destinations to head to.

This may help to explain the per-mile spike in pedestrian deaths in 2020 — but it doesn’t excuse it. 

When pedestrian accidents occur, drivers are often speeding, distracted, or otherwise operating their vehicle in an unsafe manner. These are the most common causes of pedestrian traffic accidents:

  • Drunk or otherwise intoxicated driving
  • Running red lights 
  • Right turns through crosswalks without looking for pedestrians
  • Distracted driving, such as driving while texting
  • Illegally parked cars making it difficult to see pedestrians and bicycles

 

Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

Pedestrians harmed in traffic accidents are rarely to blame. If you or a loved one were injured on a sidewalk or at a crosswalk with no traffic signal, the driver was definitely in the wrong. Even if that was not the case, you may have had the right of way. 

Motorists must:

  • Yield to pedestrians crossing a roadway in a marked or unmarked crosswalk when the pedestrian has the right of way
  • Yield to pedestrians crossing a roadway with the assistance of a white/red-tipped cane or a guide dog. Motorists must also pay careful attention when moving past such individuals
  • Exercise “due care” by making use of all available precautions to avoid hitting pedestrians, including honking or giving audible signals when possible

Pedestrians have several responsibilities when dealing with traffic as well. They should:

  • Follow traffic control devices such as red lights, stop signs and “do not walk” signals
  • Cross at marked crosswalks or pedestrian crossings when traffic control devices are present at an intersection
  • When there are no designated crossings, pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles

Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries

When a vehicle and pedestrian collide, the results are predictably tragic. Our lawyers have helped pedestrians who have suffered:

These injuries don’t just cause extensive pain and suffering, they also carry staggering medical expenses. A personal injury lawsuit can help you handle the heavy burden brought on by driver negligence.

 

Other Pedestrian Injuries

It isn’t just vehicles responsible for harm to pedestrians. Negligence of all kinds is to blame for many pedestrian injuries each year. 

Slip and fall injuries occur on icy and dangerous sidewalks, in open manhole covers, from falling debris from construction projects, and down slippery stairs. 

Negligent property owners may be liable for some or all of your injuries, including medical bills and other economic damages. If intangible damages occur as a result of their negligence, they may be responsible for these too.

Photo by Nout Gons from Pexels

When to Consult with an Experienced Traffic Accident Attorney

When a devastating accident occurs, it can be hard to understand the next steps. Insurance companies are not on your side. An experienced personal injury law firm like McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is best equipped to help you navigate this challenging process.

If you or a loved one are injured due to the negligence of a driver, property owner or construction project, don’t hesitate to contact our team of lawyers today. Fill out our form or call 1-866-382-4806.

 

Amazon Working Conditions Just As Bad for Delivery Drivers

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Recent news headlines have focused on the “unsafe” and “grueling” working conditions that employees labor under in Amazon warehouses across the globe. While the media focuses its attention on the warehouses, delivery drivers working for Amazon are now stepping forward to have their stories told as well. 

Amazon is famed for its lightning fast delivery times, with customers often receiving orders within the same day. These tight delivery schedules make for stressful and often hazardous working conditions that endanger drivers. 

 

Amazon Drivers Are Overworked and Underpaid

Amazon delivery drivers are reporting working ten to fourteen hours in a shift. This is in part because drivers are not allowed to return any packages from their routes, meaning drivers can make over 160 stops per shift. 

While the pay rate seems decent enough, with drivers starting at $15 an hour, this rate is actually far less than the average starting wage for other delivery drivers. For example, UPS drivers are represented by the Teamsters Union that starts their wages at $21 an hour, up to $40 an hour or more for more experienced drivers. 

 

The Amazon Mentor App Leads to Invasive Oversight for Drivers

When drivers start their shift, they first log into the Amazon “Mentor” app. The Mentor app provides information on where to leave packages, access codes to apartment buildings, and dictates every step of the drivers day. The app tracks and measures driving behaviors such as speeding, harsh braking, or making phone calls, and gives the drivers a score based on these behaviors. 

Since the Mentor app is constantly monitoring the drivers every move, it also alerts their supervisors if they deviate or stop along the route even briefly. When a van stops for longer than three minutes, a dispatcher will call the driver and ask why. This constant oversight creates a stressful environment for drivers when dropping off packages or simply trying to take a lunch or restroom break.

 

No Bathroom Breaks for Delivery Drivers

With the Mentor app constantly monitoring drivers, every stop has to be accounted for. That leaves most drivers with no time to use the restroom on their ten hour shifts. Drivers need to use public restrooms such as ones inside grocery stores, so if their route does not include an area that has such a location, drivers have to make a long detour that could cost them their job. Because of these strict measures, drivers report using empty water bottles in their vehicles instead of stopping to use the restroom.

 

Amazon Hires Contractors To Prevent Workers From Organizing

Amazon has consistently stated that they are not responsible for these working conditions because the drivers are not actually Amazon employees. That’s because Amazon uses contractors for delivery services, a move that allows them to duck responsibility, while also helping to prevent workers from organizing for better conditions. 

The Teamsters Union has been working with Amazon drivers and the delivery service providers that hire them in an attempt to curtail these exploitative practices, with the director of the Teamsters Amazon project stating, “This sort of model is problematic for the entire (delivery) industry”. 

 

Do Amazon Delivery Drivers Get Overtime?

Although drivers are being asked to work long hours with few breaks, they are still only paid flat day rates for their work with no additional pay for overtime hours. This has led to multiple class-action lawsuits being filed against the company in over ten states. 

Amazon recently agreed to pay out over $8.2 million in a class-action lawsuit alleging that they were engaging in wage-theft by refusing to properly compensate drivers. The lawsuit claims that Amazon failed to pay the minimum wage, and denied compensation for rest breaks or overtime. Amazon has also been fined $6.4 million by California regulators for similar wage-theft violations, though Amazon has stated it is appealing the fine. 

 

Workers Deserve Protections

While Amazon founder Jeff Bezos disputes Elon Musk for the title of world’s richest person, the drivers who keep his company running are struggling to pay rent, while working under increasingly stressful and unsafe conditions. 

The team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt have decades of experience fighting for workers, and are following these developments closely. If you work as a delivery driver for Amazon and have been subject to unfair working conditions, contact us today at 1-866-333-7715 or online via our form.  

 

 

Deadly Paraquat: Safety Measures Were Falsified To Keep the Herbicide on the Market

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Syngenta, an agrochemical manufacturer that sells pesticides worldwide, is now in the center of a legal firestorm. This comes after leaked documents, and the testimony of a company insider, revealed deadly secrets the company has long struggled to keep hidden. 

Greenpeace released a devastating takedown of Syngenta in their report titled “The Paraquat Papers”, which was published on March 24th 2021. Paraquat, sold under the brand name Gramoxone, is a Syngenta pesticide that has long been banned in numerous countries after claiming tens of thousands of lives, but is still used widely in the United States as a pesticide. The Paraquat Papers alleges that Syngenta knowingly used manipulated data to prove to US regulators that paraquat is safe for use. 

 

What Is Paraquat and Why Is It So Deadly?

Paraquat has been sold in the United States since 1964, and is used to kill weeds and grasses before planting. Paraquat is so toxic that consuming only a single tablespoon is enough to be fatal. Unfortunately, it has been consumed accidentally, and intentionally, thousands of times since its introduction in the 1960s.

Paraquat is now banned in more than 50 countries around the globe due to its deadly nature. Yet this dangerous chemical remains available for sale in the United States to this day. This is in large part because Syngenta convinced regulators they had come up with a way to make paraquat safe.

Why Is Paraquat Still Sold in the United States?

Syngenta added an emetic to paraquat in the 1970s. This is a chemical that will induce vomiting if swallowed. By adding the emetic, Syngenta stated that individuals who accidentally or purposefully drank paraquat would immediately vomit up the toxin, saving lives. The emetic added to paraquat was codenamed PP796.

The only problem? Newly uncovered documents reveal that PP796 never worked. What’s worse, is that Syngenta knew this, and still continued to tout their products’ safety. In fact, Syngenta had its concentration of PP796 declared the global standard for all paraquat-based weed killers via the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – a standard that is still in place today. 

 

Fabricated Data

John Heylings worked for Syngenta for 22 years, and has been trying to warn consumers and the company about the ineffectiveness of PP796 for years now. Heyling states that paraquat contains far too little PP796 for it to properly work as an emetic before the victim is killed by the pesticide, even for those who swallow the minimum lethal dose. 

Heylings also alleges that the concentrations that Syngenta uses are based on a report that was fabricated back in 1976, using data that was manipulated. The fabricated data claimed humans were 10 times more sensitive to PP796 than animal test subjects, instead of using the actual doses given to the animal test subjects as a reliable indicator. 

Paraquat and Parkinson’s

Heyling brought this information to Syngenta in 1990, but the company ignored him. In 2018, he again urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to change its standards in regards to paraquat – yet nothing was done. This has given rise to several lawsuits in the United States, all involving paraquat.

Several farmers have claimed they developed Parkinson’s disease after using paraquat on their farms. Studies have shown that farmers who use paraquat may be up to 11 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s after routine exposure to the pesticide. The disease can cause a loss of motor functions, imbalance, and shaking. Syngenta has repeatedly withheld warnings about the link between its product and Parkinsons, which has resulted in multiple lawsuits being filed. 

 

Paraquat Lawsuits

For too long, Syngenta has been allowed to market a deadly product in the United States, putting farmers and their families at risk. With growing public awareness of the lengths that Syngenta has gone to to keep this product on the market, the team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is tracking this evolving story closely. As Philadelphia’s Top Toxic Chemical Exposure Lawyers, If you or someone you love was impacted by the use of paraquat, we want to hear from you. Call us today at 1-866-333-7715 for a free consultation, or fill out our form

 

What To Do After a Car Accident in Philadelphia

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ridesharing

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, whether minor or serious, you know that the aftermath can be a challenging time. The lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt have created the following list that we hope will be helpful to you in those first moments after a car accident. Feel free to bookmark this page or print it out to keep in your glove box in case of an emergency. 

1. Stay at the Scene

A hit-and-run is against the law, and you may face consequences even if the accident is minor and did not result in any injuries. Don’t run the risk of running afoul of the law; stay at the scene until you are given the all clear.

2. Check for Injuries

If occupants of either vehicle sustain any injuries in the crash, they should receive medical attention. It is a good idea to keep a first-aid kit in your vehicle at all times in case of minor injuries, but you should summon an ambulance for any severe injuries. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and call emergency services; it may save a life.

3. Call the Police

If the accident is not serious and you happen to have the non-emergency number, you can use it to summon the police, but there’s also nothing wrong with calling 911 for even a minor accident. To make an insurance claim later, you will probably need an official accident report from the police, so don’t hesitate to involve law enforcement, regardless of the severity of the accident. 

4. Make a Report

Tell the police exactly what happened to the best of your ability. Stick to the facts, and include as much detail as possible. However, be careful to avoid saying anything that could be construed as taking responsibility for the collision. Even saying “I’m sorry” could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Let the authorities and the insurance companies determine who was at fault.

5. Gather Data

This involves exchanging insurance information with the other driver, but it also includes identifying and obtaining contact information from any witnesses, noting the responding officer’s name and badge number, and documenting the scene of the accident. You should obtain the location’s address, if possible, or at least be able to name nearby cross streets. It is also a good idea to take pictures of the scene if you can do so safely.

6. Contact Your Insurance Company

You should do this as soon as possible to start the claims process. In many cases, it is also advisable to hire a Philadelphia car accident lawyer to represent your interests after a car accident. The lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can provide you with more information during your initial consultation, which is always provided free of charge.

 

What Not To Do After an Accident

There are a few important things to avoid saying or doing after being involved in a car accident. These include:

  • Not calling the police

    In some cases, people believe it is okay to just exchange information with the other driver and forgo calling the police. Not calling the police, however, means you will not receive an official accident report to provide as evidence of what happened. 

  • Avoid recorded statements:

    Insurance companies may try to reach out to you after the accident to ask for a recorded statement. We advise our clients to avoid doing that until they have obtained proper legal representation. Remember, an insurance company’s primary objective is to pay you as little as possible. As the victim, you deserve compensation that will cover your medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and property damage. 

  • Avoid waiting too long before seeking recovery on your claim

    In most states, there is a set time period for accident victims to sue for personal injuries or wrongful death cases. If the time limit is surpassed, your claim will not receive any coverage. 

The attorney’s at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can help you meet all the required deadlines, and gather the evidence you need to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 1-866-333-7715 or reach out online by filling out our form for your free consultation. 

 

Top Ten Reasons for Car Accidents in 2020 and 2021

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In order to receive compensation after a car accident, you will need to show that the person who caused your accident was negligent, and that their negligent actions led to the crash. Below, we’ve compiled the top ten reasons for a car accident in 2020 and moving into 2021, to help you gain a better understanding of why accidents happen and how to prevent them. 

 

1. COVID-19 and Car Accidents 

The global pandemic caused the number of vehicles on the road to dramatically decrease in 2020, so it’s natural to assume there would be a decrease in traffic accidents as well. But in fact, traffic-related fatalities rose by 4.6% nationwide. Philadelphia County reported 120 traffic related fatalities in 2020, up 60% from 2019. 

This rise in fatalities may be in part because the COVID-19 crisis led to increased alcohol consumption, potentially causing more drunk drivers. In addition, the decrease in vehicles caused less congestion on roadways, which allowed drivers who remained on the road to drive more recklessly.

 

2. Speeding

Speed limits are carefully determined by elected officials in conjunction with traffic engineers, and are put in place to keep people safe while driving. This is because speed is the number one factor in determining if an accident will be fatal. 

 

3. Drunk Driving

Intoxication, whether it be from alcohol or other substances, can impair an individual’s reaction time, motor functioning, and decision making. Drunk driving is another major contributing factor in determining if an accident will be fatal. 

 

4. Distracted Driving 

While drunk driving leads to a higher risk of fatalities, distracted driving is one of the top causes of accidents across the United States. 

Distracted driving can include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Putting on makeup
  • Turning to talk to other passengers
  • Adjusting the navigation system

 

5. Texting and Driving

The most common form of distracted driving is texting and driving. Texting involves a visual distraction (looking at your phone), a manual distraction (typing), and a cognitive distraction (reading the text). It may seem like only a few seconds, but even 5 seconds of looking away from the road while driving at 55mph is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. 

 

6. Drowsy Driving

Driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. In fact, in controlled studies, drunk and drowsy driving resulted in a similar number of crashes. 

 

7. Inexperienced Drivers

An experienced driver knows to keep a safe distance while following another car, as well as to check their blind spots while changing lanes. But an inexperienced driver may not remember to glance over their shoulder into the area their mirror cannot see, and may also inadvertently tailgate or fail to yield when they should. 

 

8. Aggressive Driving

Changing lanes rapidly, tailgating, or illegal passing of other cars may be the result of inexperience, but it can also be caused by an experienced, but aggressive driver. In Philadelphia, around 36% of traffic-related deaths are the result of aggressive driving.  

 

9. Road Rage

Aggressive driving may or may not be associated with road rage, which occurs when a driver gets angry at another vehicle on the road. This can result in behaviors like cutting in front of a car aggressively, using verbal insults, or threatening another driver.  

 

10. Poor Vehicle Maintenance

If a driver does not take proper care of their car, it can easily create a dangerous situation. Mechanical failures can occur that endanger the driver and other cars on the road, such as

 

What To Do if You Were Involved in a Car Accident 

Even if you take every precaution in the world, it’s impossible to prevent every car accident from occurring. If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to cover your medical bills, vehicle repairs, and collect compensation for your pain and suffering. 

The Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt understand how difficult the aftermath of a serious car accident can be, and are ready to fight for you at every step of the way. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-866-333-7715 or reach out by filling out our form.

 

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