Schemery Zicolello

Pennsylvania worker entitled to workers' compensation

Almost everyone does some personal business while at work -- they take a personal phone call, read an email or check social media. While there is often no harm done in these personal distractions, sometimes there can be.

In one Pennsylvania case, a man worked in the tool and die department of a machine shop. The shop had a long standing policy that workers could use the machines for their own personal use if this personal use didn't interfere with their job. One day, this man used one of the machines for a personal reason. During this personal use, a cloth got caught in the machine which sucked his thumb into the machine. It was severely injured in the workplace accident.

The man applied for workers' compensation but was denied. According to his employer, he was not eligible for workers' compensation because he was doing personal business at the time of the accident. Therefore, the man sued. Recently, the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board and a workers' compensation judge both ruled that the man was entitled to benefits.

According to the board, the employee's quick personal business was not enough of a departure from his everyday work to disqualify him for workers' compensation. In addition, since personal business was frequently allowed, this accident wasn't outside the scoop of his employment.

This case is important for Pennsylvania workers because it shows that workers are entitled to workers' compensation even when they are doing something a little bit outside the norm for their job. When a workplace accident occurs, employees should fight for their rights to be compensated. This compensation can help cover expenses including lost wages and medical bills.

Source: Risk & Insurance, "Comp covers worker's injuries while using machine for personal project," June 10, 2013

Commonwealth v. Candice Steinbacher – Motion for Judgement Acquittal Granted

Motion for Judgment of Acquittal for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) prosecution was granted by Lycoming County President Judge Nancy L. Butts, after Attorney Kyle Rude argues that the Commonwealth could not prove Ms. Steinbacher was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. Ms. Steinbacher was arrested after Williamsport City Police believed she switched seats with her boyfriend in order to avoid an arrest for DUI.

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