Practice Areas

At Zola Law Offices, Inc., we represent clients only in practice areas where we have the skills and knowledge to succeed. To meet that obligation, we have assembled a team of attorneys and staff, who, although they share the common traits of extensive trial and appellate practice, have experience in a variety of substantive practice areas. The members of the team that represent each client are selected for their relevant experience and knowledge.

Birth Injuries
Brain and Spinal Injuries
Newborn Metabolic Disorders
Construction Accidents
Employment Law
Medical Malpractice
Premises Liability
Product Liability
Sexual Abuse
Truck Accidents
Aviation Disasters

Birth Injuries

For parents and children, birth injuries can be especially devastating. These injuries can result in lifelong cognitive, psychological, and physical problems. If your infant suffered from birth injuries because of negligence, you should talk to the birth injury lawyers at Zola Law Offices, Inc.. We have offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Marlton, New Jersey and co-counsel with attorneys throughout the country to help children who have suffered birth injuries. We offer free consultations.

Healthcare professionals must exercise a duty of care to ensure the safety of mothers and infants during pregnancy, labor and birth. The fetal heart rate must be carefully monitored, the birthing tools must be used properly and the delivery techniques must be performed correctly. Doctors should also be competent and know when a cesarean section should be ordered. Making a medical mistake at any point in the pregnancy, labor and delivery process can result in birth injuries.
Common Types Of Birth Injuries

There are many different types of birth injuries. Some are immediately evident, while others might take a long time to show symptoms. Some of the most common types of birth injuries include:

    Cerebral palsy
    Brain injuries
    Bleeding under the scalp or skull
    Paralysis
    Forceps injuries
    Brachial plexus injuries
    Clavicle fractures
    Trauma to the cranial nerves
    Kernicterus
    Spasticity
    Hypoxia
    Infections
    Meconium aspiration
    Infant death

Compensation For Birth Injuries

The amount of compensation that may be available will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case and the extent and severity of the birth injuries. Our attorneys can evaluate your potential claim and provide you with an honest assessment of its merits (winnability) and value. If our lawyers agree to represent you, we will review the medical records, consult with expert doctors and work hard to prove how you or your infant suffered physical, emotional and financial harm as a result of medical negligence. In many cases, the cost of future medical treatment for the injured baby may be high. We work closely with rehabilitation nurses and doctors to determine a lifecare plan for injured infants and to value the future medical care costs.


Time Limits For Filing Birth Injury Claims

Every state has a statute of limitations for medical malpractice and personal injury claims. The statute of limitations sets a deadline by which you must file a claim. If you fail to file a claim on time, you will not be able to recover compensation for your losses. Fortunately, most states have an exception to the general statute of limitations for birth injuries. For instance, under Pennsylvania law, the general personal injury statute of limitation requires a lawsuit to be filed within two years of the negligence. However, in Pennsylvania, there is an exception for minors (children) who are injured before they turn age 18. A claim for damages related to an injury to a child can be filed in Pennsylvania any time before the child reaches the age of 20.

Again, each state will have its own statute of limitations rules. It is important, and in the best interest of you and your child, to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you suspect that you or your child was injured because of a medical error instead of waiting until the deadline draws near. The complexity of medical malpractice cases, especially birth injury cases, requires an in-depth investigation to uncover all of the evidence and to identify the liable parties. By getting help quickly, you may provide your lawyer with more time to conduct a thorough investigation and to preserve the crucial evidence to support your claim. If you are unsure whether you may have missed the deadline for filing a claim, you should talk to an experienced lawyer immediately to find out about your options.


Birth Injury Malpractice

While all birth injuries can be devastating, not all are caused by medical malpractice. However, there are some cases in which the negligence of a healthcare professional is the primary cause of a birth injury. In these situations, the parents have the right to file medical malpractice claims against the responsible parties. Whenever a physician, hospital or medical team member fails to exercise reasonable care that causes an unfortunate outcome, they may be liable to pay damages.

Infants and mothers may both suffer injuries during the labor and delivery process. These can include many different injuries to the infant and internal injuries or excessive blood loss for the mother. Some injuries are caused by negligence while performing the delivery itself, or in not properly handling birthing tools such as vacuum extractors or forceps. In other cases, a doctor’s failure to react to an emergency or his or her incompetence can result in birth injuries. Many other types of negligence can cause injuries to infants and mothers, as well. Complications during labor can lead to a lack of blood or oxygen supply and cause developmental delays and brain damage. This type of brain injury may cause problems with physical functions and cognitive abilities.

Spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis and bowel and bladder dysfunction. Brachial plexus injuries can result in paralysis in the arm or shoulder because of improper delivery of a shoulder dystocia. Doctors must respond quickly and properly in emergencies to prevent this type of damage.

In some cases, mothers could have infections that can injure their unborn children. Doctors must treat infections that could cause harm to the baby. Some infections that can pass from a mother to a fetus include meningitis and strep. Doctors should also recommend appropriate supplements to prevent spina bifida, folic acid deficiency, and anemia.


Ongoing Impacts Of Birth Trauma

Infants who have suffered birth trauma or other injuries can have psychological, cognitive and physical disabilities that will last a lifetime as a result.


Liability For Birth Injuries

Determining liability for birth injuries can be complicated. Many people are involved in prenatal care, labor, and delivery of infants. The hospital or facility may hold liability, and the equipment or product manufacturers may also be partially at fault. Attorneys investigate birth injuries to identify all of the potential defendants.
Many Parties May Be Liable For Birth Injuries, Including:

    OB/GYN doctors
    Anesthesiologists
    Nurses
    Medical staff
    Hospitals
    Midwives
    Birthing centers
    Defective product or equipment manufacturers

If a doctor or nurse’s negligence caused the birth injury, an attorney would investigate to find out whether he or she is an employee of the hospital or birthing center, or if he or she is an independent contractor. If the doctor is an employee, both the doctor and the hospital may be liable. A hospital may be vicariously liable for the negligence of its employees or directly liable because of negligent hiring, supervision, training, and retention.


Proving Negligence

Plaintiffs must prove several elements when they claim that a doctor’s negligence caused birth injuries. You must be able to prove all of the following elements to prevail on your claim:

    There was a doctor-patient relationship.
    The doctor owed a duty of care and breached the duty.
    The breach of the duty of care resulted in birth injuries.
    The plaintiff suffered specific damages.

If you are unable to prove each of the elements, you will not prevail on your claim. In most cases, it will be necessary to call experts to prove the breach and that the breach caused the damages.

Experts usually are practicing physicians with experience in the field and who have a similar specialty as the defendant doctor. Experts can help to demonstrate that the defendant breached his or her duty of care and that the breach was causally connected to the plaintiff’s injuries.
Find Birth Injury Lawyers Near Me

At Zola Law Offices, Inc., we understand the devastation that can be caused because of birth injuries. We work hard to recover compensation for our clients and to hold the defendants accountable for their negligence.

For the general public:  This Blog/Website is made available by the law firm publisher, Zola Law Offices, Inc., for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

For attorneys:  This Blog/Website is informational in nature and is not a substitute for legal research or a consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients.  Due to the dynamic nature of legal doctrines, what might be accurate one day may be inaccurate the next. As such, the contents of this blog must not be relied upon as a basis for arguments to a court or for your advice to clients without, again, further research or a consultation with our professionals.

Brain and Spinal Injuries

Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries can alter your life and impact your family. Both can have long-lasting repercussions on the victim in the form of medical bills, physical pain, and emotional distress. Zola Law Offices, Inc. represents those with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries by helping them to recover damages from negligent individuals or companies.


Different Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, “A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a blow to the head or a head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” Every year in the United States, there are two million people who will suffer traumatic brain injuries that require emergency care. While 75 percent of the injuries are mild, some will have debilitating effects. As a result, traumatic brain injuries are one of the leading causes of disability and death in the country. In short, a traumatic brain injury can be life-changing for the victim and their family.

There are several types of traumatic brain injuries, including:

    Cerebral contusion: Swelling in the brain caused by internal bleeding.
    Concussion: This brain injury often occurs in contact sports. However, these injuries can be present when you suffer a blow to the head.
    Coup-contrecoup injury: When an object impacts that head, there will be bruising on the brain. The site of impact will sustain a coup injury, and the opposite side will have a contrecoup injury.
    Diffuse axonal injury: Lesions in a person’s brain can cause them to fall into a coma.
    Hypoxia: When the brain loses the oxygen supply, the brain cells will start to die.
    Intraventricular hemorrhage: Premature infants will experience bleeding into the brain’s ventricular system.
    Subdural hematoma: A tear in the arteries or veins can cause blood to collect on the surface of the brain, and it can lead to a blood clot.
    Severe Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The most severe brain injuries can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. These injuries can impair emotional responses, cognitive abilities, and physical functioning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 52,000 people will die from these injuries.

Wrongful death is the most severe consequence of a brain injury, but it is not the only one. Lethargy, headaches, loss of consciousness, blurred vision, and personality changes are some of the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can bring out other adverse impacts, such as permanent disability. Along with these issues, hospital bills, long-term medical care, and physical therapy will create a financial burden.

When someone suffers a traumatic brain injury, there will be long-lasting consequences for the individual and their family. For those who experienced a brain injury as a result of intentional actions or neglect, then the victim and their family should receive compensation for these injuries and financial losses.

Traumatic brain injuries can occur in several ways, including:

    Slip-and-fall accidents
    Motor vehicle accidents
    Workplace accidents
    Sports Injuries
    Medical errors
    Diseases
    Product defects

The Consequences of a Spinal Injury

Like a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries can also have devastating effects on a person’s life. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), over 12,000 Americans will suffer from spinal cord injuries per year. These injuries are caused by a severe impact on the spinal area. In some situations, the damage will not be apparent for several days until the swelling and bleeding start to affect the spinal cord. The spinal cord delivers signals from the brain to the rest of the body. With a severe injury to the spinal cord, there will be catastrophic consequences to the victim’s brain functionality as their ability to communicate to the brain is limited.

With a spinal cord injury, there might be partial or full loss of motor control or sensation in the body. Some injuries are so severe that they can result in paralysis of the legs or all of the limbs. The spinal cord sends signals throughout the body to control many bodily functions. When the spinal cord is injured, there may be severe health and quality of life issues.

Since many spinal cord injuries are not present immediately, you do need to be aware of the common symptoms, including:

    Pain in the neck, head, or back areas
    Numbness in the fingers, hands, feet, or toes
    Difficulty walking or maintaining balance
    Difficulty breathing
    Loss of movement in parts of the body
    Loss of sensation
    Loss of bladder or bowel control
    Muscle spasms

Several Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury is often the outcome of a traumatic injury or severe blow to the spinal area. Spinal cord injuries can also be the result of a disease or medical issue. However, there are other causes of spinal cord injuries, including:

    Falls
    Medical malpractice
    Vehicle accidents
    Recreational activities
    Surgical errors
    Violence

Negligence Can Lead to These Injuries

With both traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries, there is a possibility that negligence caused these issues. The plaintiff must prove all the elements of negligence with these claims. If you were injured in a car accident, the other driver might be responsible for your injuries. Hospitals can be negligent in many ways, including failing to supervise patients that resulted in a slip and fall. Inadequate care or medical malpractice can lead to permanent spinal cord injuries in a patient. Product distributors might also be at fault for injuries if their products were unsafe and caused damage to a person.

When negligence is the cause of your brain or spinal injury, you will need help to recover damages in your situation. Zola Law Offices, Inc. understands the importance of investigating your situation to recover a settlement for bodily injury and damages. Life-changing injuries due to someone’s negligence can be prevented, and these actions should be held to the highest standard of the law. We will work with you to build a strong claim and help to recover damages for you and your family in this challenging situation.

If you would like to learn more about the legal services at Zola Law Offices, Inc., please take a few minutes to fill out the contact form.

For the general public:  This Blog/Website is made available by the law firm publisher, Zola Law Offices, Inc., for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

For attorneys:  This Blog/Website is informational in nature and is not a substitute for legal research or a consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients.  Due to the dynamic nature of legal doctrines, what might be accurate one day may be inaccurate the next. As such, the contents of this blog must not be relied upon as a basis for arguments to a court or for your advice to clients without, again, further research or a consultation with our professionals.

Newborn Metabolic Disorders

Babies with metabolic disorders, also called “inborn errors of metabolism,” can suffer devastating injuries when their metabolic condition is not diagnosed and treated promptly. Hospitals and doctors can identify newborns with metabolic disorders using a simple blood test – known as “newborn metabolic screening” – shortly after birth. When these disorders are identified early, babies will receive proper treatment that usually allows them to escape injury and live productive lives. However, if these diseases are not caught in time, they likely will cause lifelong disabilities.

Senior partner Chuck leads the Zola Law Offices, Inc. team devoted to advocating for children with metabolic disorders. has represented families across the country whose infants with metabolic disorders either were not correctly diagnosed in time to prevent damage or received improper medical care after the correct diagnosis was made. He has vastly improved the quality of care provided to these children, literally changing the standard of care. On behalf of his clients, he has worked closely with the world’s leading doctors in this field.

If your child suffered a serious injury because his or her metabolic disorder was not correctly diagnosed shortly after birth – or even if your child was mistreated after diagnosis – they may have a claim for damages which can provide lifetime financial support. They may be able to secure substantial compensation for their losses and for the cost of their ongoing care. Contact Chuck today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about the rights that you and your child have.
Failures To Diagnose Newborn Metabolic Disorders At Birth

Metabolic disorders may not be identified at birth because the lab that performs the test or the infant’s doctor makes a medical error. In some cases, the blood sample for the test may not be collected at the right time. If these disorders are not diagnosed early, infants may develop permanent disabilities. If your baby’s newborn metabolic disorder was not diagnosed soon enough, they may have legal rights to pursue damages from the parties that are responsible for the medical negligence.


Common Symptoms Of Metabolic Disorders

Infants and toddlers must eat a nutritious diet to develop and to maintain optimal health. When they have a metabolic disorder, this is much more difficult. Metabolic disorders prevent babies from being able to properly break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. This means that they may be unable to get the proper nutrition that their bodies require. More importantly, a metabolic disorder creates a block in the breakdown pathway of these substances, causing a buildup of toxic intermediate metabolites, which if not corrected promptly, can cause brain and other organ damage and ultimately death.

If you think that your baby might have a metabolic disorder, take him or her to a pediatrician for medical testing and diagnosis. The symptoms may show up as soon as a few days after birth and may be aggravated by minor illnesses, consuming certain foods, dehydration, or certain medications. Screening for metabolic disorders at birth allows infants to receive immediate treatment so that they can enjoy healthy and long lives.

Some common symptoms of newborn metabolic disorders include:

    Vomiting
    Lethargy
    Abdominal pain
    Seizures
    Developmental delay
    Failure to thrive
    Poor appetite
    Coma
    Acidosis in the blood
    High ammonia in the blood
    Large amounts of Ketones in the urine

Usually, the symptoms of newborn metabolic disorders show up a few days after the infant’s birth. Metabolic disorders that are inherited are present when the infant is born. Today, routine screening of newborns allows most cases of newborn metabolic disorders to be diagnosed and promptly treated, which helps the babies to enjoy healthy development and long lives.

Hospitals should have policies in place for the routine blood screening of newborns for metabolic disorders. These tests should be performed around 24 hours after the babies are born and are typically done in the hospital instead of the pediatrician’s office. Routine screening can detect a broad variety of metabolic disorders.


Types Of Newborn Metabolic Disorders

There are many different newborn metabolic disorders. Newborn screening will identify the disorder. Some of the most common types of infant metabolic disorders include:

    Galactosemia
    Lysosomal storage disorders
    Maple syrup urine disease
    Metal metabolism disorders, such as Wilson’s disease
    Phenylketonuria
    GA1
    MCADD

Galactosemia is a metabolic disorder in which the baby is unable to process milk. This disorder can cause liver damage and death from sepsis. Lysosomal storage disorders are conditions that cause toxins to build inside the lysosomes. This buildup can cause damage to the heart or liver and lead to stroke or nerve damage. There are multiple lysosomal storage disorders, including:

    Fabry disease – Pain in the extremities
    Gaucher disease – Pain
    Krabbe disease – Progressive damage to the nerves
    Hurler syndrome – Causes abnormal bone structure
    Tay-Sachs disease – Causes progressive muscle weakness
    Niemann-Pick disease – Causes enlargement of the liver

Maple syrup urine disease is a condition in which the baby’s urine smells similar to maple syrup. In this disease, the infant has an enzyme deficiency that causes the buildup of amino acids, particulalry leucine. The buildup of amino acids can cause damage to the brain

Metal metabolism disorders result in excessive amounts of metals building in the body. Hemochromatosis is a metal metabolism disorder in which the infant has too much iron in his or her body, causing liver damage. Infants with Wilson’s disease build toxic levels of copper in the body, which can cause damage to their brains and livers.

Phenylketonuria or PKU is another type of infant metabolism disorder. In infants with PKU, an enzyme deficiency can cause cognitive impairments or mental retardation.


Potential Damages In A Lawsuit

By filing a claim against the doctors and other health care professionals who failed to diagnose your infant’s newborn metabolic disorder in time, you may be able to recover monetary damages for their and your losses. Some of the types of damages that may be recovered include:

    Past and future medical expenses for your child’s care
    Rehabilitation and therapy costs
    Out-of-pocket expenses related to your child’s condition
    Your child’s pain and suffering
    Disability damages
    Other damages

Construction Accidents

Construction accidents often occur when workers on construction sites are faced with dangerous conditions. Although federal and state regulations are designed to keep workers safe, accidents and injuries can still happen on a regular basis, especially when foremen and/or property owners disregard those regulations or act negligently.

These preventable accidents can often have catastrophic results. While workers’ compensation benefits are available for injured workers, those benefits are not always enough to cover the wide range of expenses following such serious and life-changing accidents.

Construction workers face a much higher risk of suffering workplace injuries than workers employed in most other industries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), one out of every five worker fatalities in 2017 occurred in the construction industry. During that year, 971 construction workers were killed, and many others suffered severe injuries. At Zola Law Offices, Inc., our attorneys have represented workers of all trades in all construction settings.

If you are injured in a construction site accident, you may have a legal claim in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits. If someone other than your immediate employer contributed to your accident at a construction site – such as an equipment supplier, a construction manager, safety consultants or an employee of another sub-contractor — then you may be able to a lawsuit. Because you are suing someone not your employer, these types of lawsuits are called “third party” cases.

Our attorneys represent injured workers and families of those killed to recover compensation for their economic and noneconomic losses. Injuries at construction sites can occur from a number of different causes including, but not limited to: unsafe work practices, defective or unsafe equipment, falling objects, and falls from elevation.

If you suffered an injury in an accident at a construction site, contact our construction site accident lawyers to schedule a free case evaluation. We can provide you with a fair and honest assessment of the merits of your claim. If we represent you, we will do everything necessary to build a strong case to recover the compensation to which you should be entitled.

We have recovered seven and eight figure recoveries for our clients who include:

    A young engineer who was rendered quadriplegic when a hydraulic excavator was unintentionally moved when the operator’s clothing caught on the controls;
    A young man setting a modular home who fell 40 feet and was paralyzed because the modular home manufacturer did not hire a competent project manager;
    A bricklayer working on a mast-climbing work platform who was killed because the manufacturer did not design proper fall protection on the platform;
    An ironworker who was rendered quadriplegic due to a general contractor’s failure to enforce fall protection;
    A laborer who was paralyzed in a fall from a scaffold due to improper use of an extension ladder to gain access to an elevated work platform;
    A roofer suffered partial paralysis when he was forced to work on a flat roof without fall protection; and
    An electrical worker who suffered severe electrical burns while working in a medium voltage switchgear that was supposed to be de-energized but was “back-fed” electricity into fuses.

How Construction Accident Attorneys Can Help

After a construction accident, injured workers and the families of workers who are killed are often overwhelmed by their losses. Many find the claims process to be confusing and difficult to manage while they are trying to recover and are dealing with financial and other stresses. Working with an attorney at Zola Law Offices, Inc. can allow you to focus on your recovery. A lawyer can help to guide you through the legal claims process and keep you informed about the progress of your claim at all times. A Zola Law Offices, Inc. lawyer can explain the various legal theories that apply to a third-party construction lawsuit and assist you with your workers’ compensation claim. Construction accident lawyers work to recover damages for their clients to compensate them for the losses that have resulted from the accident. When you hire an attorney, it can help to improve your chances of securing maximum compensation for your losses.

Construction injury attorneys may help you to recover damages for the losses that you have incurred because of your accident including your past and future medical costs and your income losses. If a third party was partially to blame, a lawyer may file an injury lawsuit against the third party to recover damages for your noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering and the loss of life’s pleasures in addition to your economic losses. If you lost your loved one in a construction site accident, an attorney may file a wrongful death claim on your behalf. Our team of dedicated attorneys will get to work quickly on your claim.
Conduct A Thorough Investigation As Soon As Possible To Gather Strong Evidence

Building a strong claim begins with a thorough and in-depth investigation. Our lawyers, investigators, and experts understand how to investigate construction accidents to uncover vital evidence to support your claim. We work quickly so that the evidence will be preserved. It is very important for you to retain a construction injury lawyer as soon as possible following an accident so that critical evidence can be identified and preserved.


Gather Medical Records That Document Your Injuries

In personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims, medical records are crucial for demonstrating the link between your injuries and your accident and for showing the extensiveness and severity of your injuries. We will work with you to gather your medical records, medical bills, and other relevant documents to show the extent of your injuries and how you could be affected by them in the future.

Some things our team may be able to do for you are:


Consult With Experts

Complex injury claims often require input from a variety of different experts. In construction accidents, our clients sometimes need the expert opinions of doctors, government safety specialists, engineers, and economists. Expert opinions help to strengthen your case and help us to present your case compellingly and persuasively when we are negotiating with insurance companies or litigating your case before a jury at a trial.
Advocate For You Through Negotiations With Insurance Companies

When you hire our lawyers to represent you, we will handle the negotiations with the insurance companies while you concentrate on recovering. We will accurately value your claim and send demands for full and fair compensation to the insurance companies once we have determined the full extent of your injury. We will aggressively negotiate on your behalf and communicate about any settlement offers that might be extended to you.


Deal With Bills And Liens From Your Medical Providers

Most people seriously injured in construction accidents will face staggering medical bills and medical liens. We can help you to manage these issues while you wait for the resolution of your claim.


Keep Your Best Interests At The Forefront

We always keep the best interests of our clients at the forefront of everything that we do. If we are unable to reach a fair settlement agreement for you, our trial lawyers will fight for your rights to compensation through alternative dispute resolution procedures or a jury trial.


Potential Compensation

The compensation that you may receive will depend on many different factors, including the type of case, your injuries, your income losses, and your medical bills. Many other factors may also come into play. In a construction site accident claim there are two distinct forms of potential compensation and possible claims.


Workers’ Compensation

In a workers’ compensation claim, you may receive benefits to pay for your current and future medical bills, rehabilitation costs, the costs of prosthetics, and other related medical expenses. If your accident has left you with disabilities that prevent you from returning to your job for a time or permanently, you may also recover disability payments benefits to replace a percentage of your income. Family members of workers who are killed may recover death benefits for the loss of their loved ones.


Third Party Claims

If a third party was responsible for causing your construction accident and injuries, such as a Construction Manager, General Contractor or a manufacturer of construction equipment, you may file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the negligent third party(s). The third party construction sites commonly have multiple subcontractors working. If you were working for your employer at such a construction site and suffered an injury due to an accident caused by another subcontractor company, you may have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer and a civil lawsuit against the subcontractor company for the negligence of its employee. Through a civil suit, you may be entitled to recover the following types of damages:

    Past and future medical costs
    Past and future income losses
    Disfigurement
    Disability
    Physical pain and suffering
    Emotional anguish
    Loss of consortium for spouses
    Other damages

When you have been seriously injured in a construction accident, the insurance company may contact you and try to convince you to accept a quick settlement. You should not accept an initial settlement offer without talking to an attorney. These types of offers are often unreasonably low and insufficient to cover the losses of injured victims and their families.


Statute Of Limitations

State laws have statutes of limitations for personal injury claims. These statutes place a limitation time period settings deadline for filing claims. Therefore, it is important that you speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Most states have an exception to their general statute of limitations which provides a longer time period for children to file a claim for injury. The statute of limitations and exceptions to it vary from state to state. Again, that is why it is important to discuss your injury with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions About Construction Accidents

At Zola Law Offices, Inc., we often receive questions from people who have been injured in construction site accidents. Here are some of the most common questions that we receive. We hope that they provide you with a better understanding of these types of claims.


1. What Is A Claim For A Construction Accident?

Construction sites are fluid work environments that can pose substantial risks to safety. An injury can happen suddenly. Workers, innocent bystanders or someone who is merely driving or walking by the site can be severely injured by debris, accidents with construction vehicles, a crane collapse, or by falling objects.

Workers’ compensation benefits may pay for injuries caused to employees in construction accidents. However, workers’ compensation may not be the only option that injury victims have and, in some cases, it may not be available. A personal injury attorney can help you to understand your options after you are injured at a construction site.


2. Why Can’t People File Lawsuits Against Their Employers?

Workers’ compensation laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey protect employers from being sued for workplace accidents. Under these laws, you are not allowed to file a lawsuit against your employer for your workplace injuries. Instead, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if multiple contractors or subcontractors are working at the site, there may be other responsible parties that you can hold liable for paying damages for your losses. This is important because some types of damages are not covered by workers’ compensation benefits but are available through personal injury lawsuits.


3. When May A Third-Party Contractor Be Liable?

Third-party contractors at construction sites may be liable if the contractors have failed to adhere to the safety regulations that are enforced by OSHA. They may also be vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees that were the proximate or direct cause of your injuries. Our attorneys can review the facts of your case to identify any third parties that may be named in a personal injury lawsuit. Many construction accidents happen because of factors such as distractions, inadequate training, or inattentiveness. In some cases, accidents are caused by drugs or alcohol use. There are legal defenses that a third party such as a General Contractor or a Construction Manager may be entitled to raise and each case is very fact specific as to whether the legal defenses could result in denying you your day in court. The construction accident lawyers at Zola Law Offices, Inc. will carefully review, analyze and prepare your case to take all measures possible to defeat any and all legal defenses that could preclude your recovery.


4. What Should I Do After Being Injured At A Construction Site?

Following a construction accident in which you have been injured, you should take the following steps to protect your rights:

    Immediately report your injuries to your employer.
    Collect the names and contact information for the people who witnessed the accident.
    If you can, take photographs of the accident scene, or ask another person to photograph it for you.
    Seek immediate medical attention.
    Follow all of the recommendations that your doctor gives you.
     Contact a construction accident lawyer.

5. What Can You Do If Your Workplace Is Unsafe?

If your workplace is not safe, you should alert your supervisor to the hazards that you identify. You should follow up with your employer in writing. If the hazardous conditions are not corrected, you have the right to file a complaint with OSHA. OSHA is responsible for enforcing workplace safety regulations together with its corresponding state agencies.


6. Can Your Employer Retaliate Against You For Filing An OSHA Complaint?

It is against the law for employers to retaliate against workers because they file complaints with OSHA. You are protected from retaliation in all aspects of your job, including raises, hours, pay, bonuses, transfers, and terminations. If your employer retaliates against you, the retaliation is grounds for a wrongful termination claim. We have an employment law division within our firm, which may help you if you have been retaliated against for filing an OSHA complaint. If your employer has retaliated against you, you must also file a complaint of retaliation with OSHA no later than 30 days after the retaliation occurred.

Employment Law

Harold I.  Goodman leads the employment law practice at Zola Law Offices, Inc..  Best Lawyers recently recognized Mr.  Goodman as Philadelphia’s Employment Lawyer of the Year, and he is renowned for his work representing victims of employment discrimination.  Under his leadership, the firm has achieved precedent-setting successes on behalf of our clients in cases of wrongful discharge and discrimination because of sex, race, age, or disability status.  Mr.  Goodman has successfully represented his clients four times before the United States Supreme Court and won all four times.  He has prevailed for his clients ten times in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and more than 40 times in the United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit.

Mr.  Goodman starts by guiding his clients through the maze of state and federal employment law that governs workers’ rights.  If those rights have been violated, Mr.  Goodman is ready to take their cases to court where he has earned the respect of the bench and opposing bar.

Zola Law Offices, Inc. has been recognized as a 2018 Best Law Firm by U.S.  News and World Report and has achieved a Philadelphia Metropolitan Tier 1 Ranking in the practice area of employment law.


What is Employment Law?

Employment law covers the laws and regulations that govern employer-employee interactions and relationships.  This area of law is comprised of both state and federal laws, which dictate the rights and responsibilities of each party.  For employees, these laws serve to:

    Promote safe and healthy working conditions
    Prevent Discrimination
    Prevent workplace disruption caused by disputes between employees and employers
    Establish standards which govern compensation, benefits, and contractual obligations

If you are dealing with difficult circumstances related to any of the above at your place of employment, you may have legal remedies available to you.  When our employment lawyers represent our clients for employment law issues, they focus on helping our clients to secure favorable resolutions and damages.

Below is some information about some of the types of areas of employment law in which we help clients.  Each section contains information about different situations that employees may face at their jobs that may form the basis of liability.

Nothing that is included here is intended to supplant the need to consult with an experienced employment lawyer.  If one of the following sections describes the situation that you are facing at your job, contact us today to schedule a case evaluation to learn about the options that might be available to you.
Types of Employment Issues Where We Have Helped Clients

Here are some of the areas of the law where we have assisted clients.  Click on the links below to find out more about each of the following:

    Discrimination
    Qui Tam/ Whistleblower
    Wage and Hour
    Wrongful Termination
    Sexual Harassment
    Hostile Work Environment
    Retaliation
    Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
    Pregnancy Discrimination
    Negligent or Fraudulent Misrepresentations
    Defamation

Discrimination

Workplace discrimination based on a worker’s protected characteristics is prohibited under state and federal laws.  Despite the law, many employers continue to engage in discriminatory conduct contrary to their workers’ protected status.  The anti-discrimination laws extend to all aspects of employment, including applications, interviews, hiring decisions, bonuses, pay, advancement, layoffs, discipline, and firing.  Many employment law cases involve discrimination claims.

Some states have broader anti-discrimination laws that protect additional statuses that are not protected under federal laws.  The major federal laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Genetic Information Discrimination Act.  Under these laws and others, the following statuses are protected:

    Race
    Color
    Religion
    National origin
    Gender
    Pregnancy & Child Birth
    Disability
    Genetic information
    Age for workers who are 40 or older
    Citizenship status

State and local anti-discrimination laws may also protect against discrimination for additional statuses, including the following:

    Sexual orientation
    Gender identity
    Having a GED instead of a diploma

While many states do not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, some of the most populous cities in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, have their own laws that prohibit it.

Discrimination in the workplace can occur in many ways that may surprise some people.  For example, men can be victims of sex discrimination by women or by other men.  Women can likewise be victims of sex discrimination by female supervisors.  Workers may have the basis for filing discrimination claims when their employers simply believe that they are members of a protected group even though they are not.  For example, if an employer believes that someone is Hispanic and discriminates against him or her on that basis, the employer may still be liable for unlawful race discrimination even if the employee is not Hispanic.

Because of the many nuances that are possible in discrimination cases, it is always a good idea for people to contact experienced employment law attorneys to determine whether their situations qualify as illegal employment discrimination.  To learn more about employment discrimination, review the information on our main employment discrimination page.


Qui Tam/ Whistleblower – Protections for Whistleblowers

The state and federal governments rely on people who are willing to step forward and report illegal conduct by their employers when the government would be unlikely to discover the activities on its own.  Federal and state whistleblower protection statutes are meant to encourage whistleblowing by providing financial incentives for certain whistleblowers when the government can recover money from the employers that have violated the law.  Whistleblower laws also protect workers who have provided reports from being fired by their employers for filing whistleblower reports.

Whistleblower protections are available when workers report their employers for engaging in activities such as fraudulently billing Medicaid or Medicare, defrauding the government in contracts, violating safety regulations, and others.

Federal whistleblower statutes exist for people who have inside knowledge of fraud against the federal government.  State statutes also exist for people who report inside knowledge of fraud against the state government.  Whistleblower cases are highly complex and require whistleblowers to adhere to strict guidelines.  Some types of whistleblower claims require the complainants to be represented by attorneys.  Even if your issue does not require that you hire an attorney, the complexity of whistleblower cases might make it necessary.  If you have inside information that your employer is engaged in a massive fraud against the government or have been retaliated against after engaging in protected activities, contact us today to learn more about your potential claim.


Wage and Hour cases

Unfortunate as it may be, employers continue to violate the wage and hour laws under both state and federal laws.  Some employers violate these laws by engaging in the following activities:

    Failing to pay the minimum wage
    Failing to pay overtime to statutory workers
    Not providing rest or meal breaks
    Misclassifying workers
    Deducting money from workers’ paychecks for disallowed expenses
    Paystub violations
    Failing to pay for all hours worked after termination

The attorneys at Zola Law Offices, Inc. represent employees who have wage and hour claims.  We also undertake class action cases on behalf of groups of workers for failures to pay overtime, the minimum wage, and others.  To learn more about wage and hour claims, review the information on our wage and hours page.


Wrongful termination

When a person is demoted or fired for illegal reasons, he or she may have grounds to file a wrongful termination claim.  Some of the unlawful reasons can include such things as age discrimination, race or color discrimination, refusing to provide sexual favors, age discrimination, disability discrimination, religious discrimination, and others.  Some employers commit wrongful terminations when they retaliate against workers for participating in protected activities.

In many wrongful termination cases, employers will argue that they fired their workers for legitimate reasons instead of for the prohibited reasons.  The reasons that may be proffered by employers may be pretextual.  If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, read more on our wrongful termination page or call us today.


Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment continues to be a problem in workplaces across the United States, including in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Employers are prohibited from harassing employees based on protected statuses, including sex.  This prohibition includes sexual harassment, which can take the following forms:

    Unwanted sexual advances
    Quid pro quo sexual harassment
    Unwanted touching
    Leering and lewd gestures
    Sexually abusive language
    Sending obscene emails or text messages
    Posting obscene materials in the workplace

While most people picture a male supervisor harassing a female worker, sexual harassment can happen in many different ways.  Coworkers of the same sex can sexually harass victims, female supervisors can harass male employees, and clients can sexually harass workers.  To learn more about sexual harassment, review the information on our sexual harassment page.


Hostile work environment

Harassment based on a protected status, including sex and the other protected categories, is unlawful when it is severe or pervasive enough to make the work environment hostile.  In addition to sexual harassment, unlawful harassment includes harassment that is based on sexual orientation, disability, religion, race, age, national origin, and others.

When the harassment is severe enough that it interferes with your ability to perform the tasks of your job, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer and the harasser.  This can help to prevent the person and your employer from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
Retaliation

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against workers for engaging in protected activities such as filing whistleblower complaints, filing a discrimination or sexual harassment complaint, performing jury duty, engaging in military service, and others.  Retaliation includes adverse job actions such as demotions, denials of promotions, harassment, and terminations.  To be considered to be unlawful retaliation, the action must have been in response to the worker’s lawful activities.  For example, if an employer fires someone because he or she reported safety violations to OSHA, the termination may qualify as retaliation.  To learn more, read the information on our retaliation page.


Discrimination based on disability

Disability discrimination is prohibited under federal and state laws.  These laws protect people with many different types of mental and physical disabilities from discrimination in their jobs.  Employers must offer reasonable accommodations to disabled workers when the workers request them as long as the accommodations will not place an undue financial or other burden on the employers.  They must also not discriminate against the workers based on their disability statuses.  To learn more about disability discrimination and your rights, read our disability page, or contact our office.


FMLA – Taking a leave of absence

There are many laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that protect workers and their jobs when they need to take time off from work for personal medical or family medical reasons.  The federal law is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Some states, including New Jersey, have their own distinct leave laws.  However, Pennsylvanians must rely on the FMLA.  Under the FMLA, employees may take up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave to deal with the following situations:

    Their own serious medical conditions
    To care for their loved ones’ serious medical conditions
    Birth or adoption of a child
    Jury duty
    Military service
    Providing testimony as a witness
    Voting

The FMLA only covers employers that have 50 or more employees working within a 75-mile radius of each other.  Eligible employees are those who have worked for their employers for at least one year and who have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during that time.  If your company denied your request for protected leave, or you were fired because you took time off from work for one of the above-listed reasons from your covered employer, you may have legal options to remedy your injuries.  Contact Zola Law Offices, Inc. for more information.


Pregnancy discrimination

Discrimination based on the pregnancy status of workers has been a significant issue in workplaces for decades.  Employers may fire pregnant workers because of their impending maternity leave or refuse to hire qualified workers based on their pregnancy statuses.  Employers also sometimes fire pregnant workers who ask for reasonable accommodations during their pregnancies.  If you believe that your employer discriminated against you because of your pregnancy, review the information on our pregnancy discrimination page to learn more.
Negligent or Fraudulent Misrepresentations

When an employer lies or makes false promises to a job applicant or an employee that lead to a lost job or other loss, he or she may have grounds to sue the employer based on its broken promise.


Defamation

Under most States’ laws, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a communication whether in writing or verbal, that harms a person’s reputation, professionally or personally, and deters third parties from associating or dealing with him or her, are actionable.  In the employment context, we represent public figures and professional employees in defamation cases when they are defamed in the press or other media, and suffer significant harm to their reputations.

Premises Liability

Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their property is safe for the public. For instance, property owners cannot leave ice that has built up on a sidewalk, keep leaky equipment in use as water puddles on the floor, or fail to repair broken parking lot pavements. When someone is injured because a commercial or private property owner has not fulfilled their important responsibility, the attorneys of Zola Law Offices, Inc. are here to help.

Many people are injured each year while they are visiting the property of others. Each state has its own laws and regulations which determine a property owner’s liability. Pennsylvania, like most states, requires businesses and private property owners to maintain their properties in relatively hazard-free and safe conditions. When they fail to do so, they may be liable under a legal theory called premises liability. Premises liability lawsuits are pursued in cases in which an injury is directly or proximately caused by a defective or unsafe condition on the property of
someone else.

For over 50 years our firm has represented individuals who have suffered severe injuries from an owner’s failure to keep his or her property safe. Depending upon the case, we call upon experts in accident reconstruction, biomechanics, zoning and building codes, metallurgy, and building maintenance and design to illustrate how a property owner failed to keep their property safe.


Types Of Cases Involving Premises Liability

There are several types of premises liability claims, including the following:

    Slip and fall accidents
    Inadequate maintenance of a property
    Inadequate security that leads to assaults or injuries
    Defective conditions that cause injuries
    Escalator and elevator accidents
    Bicycle accidents
    Fires
    Dog bites
    Amusement park accidents
    Swimming pool accidents
    Toxic chemicals and fumes
    Flooding and leaks

While premises liability covers each of these scenarios, there is a commonality: an unsafe or dangerous condition on the property of someone else that is the direct or proximate cause of the victim’s injuries and accident.
What Is The Duty Of Care Of The Property Owner?

Pennsylvania law defines the duty that property owners owe to individuals on their premises by the status of the visitor.  There are three different types of visitors recognized under Pennsylvania law: (1) trespassers; (2) licensees; and (3) invitees.

Trespassers are persons entering the property of another without an invitation, permission of the owner, or a legal privilege to use the land.  Because their presence on the property of another is unlawful, trespassers are owed the most minimal duty of care.  In general, property owners do not owe trespassers a duty of care.  Nonetheless, property owners cannot intentionally set traps to injure trespassers.  Children who trespass are owed a higher duty of care even though they are unlawfully on a property.  Thus, property owners must take steps to prevent children from being injured by conditions on their properties that could attract children.  A common example is placing fencing around a swimming pool.

Licensees are visitors who enter a property with the permission of the landowner.  These are individuals who visit a property for their own benefit (as opposed to the benefit of the landowner).  Generally, guests of a property owner are considered licensees as are people who come to a property for their own business purposes, such as salespeople, utility workers, and others.  Property owners owe licensees a duty of care to warn about dangerous conditions that they know about or should reasonably know about.  This includes conditions that are not reasonably likely to be discovered by visitors.

The highest duty of care for property owners is owed to invitees.  Invitees are people who are invited onto the premises by the property owner for the owner’s benefit.  Some examples of invitees include customers and individuals who visit a property for a reason related to the business, such as delivery personnel.  The business’s owner or operator must maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for invitees.


Premises Liability Case Examples

Slip and fall accidents happen when individuals slip and fall while they are on the property of someone else.  These accidents can be caused by the following types of conditions on the property:

    Slippery floors
    Spills
    Dark stairwells
    Broken handrails or steps on staircases
    Accumulated snow or ice in parking lots
    Unsecured carpets or rugs
    Hidden extension cords
    Broken or loose floors or sidewalks

Cases involving inadequate security typically arise in offices, apartment buildings, or hotels.  The building owners must reasonably secure access to them, which is why large buildings usually have security guards and doormen.  Small apartment buildings typically require the tenants to keep the doors to the building locked.  If someone enters into a building by walking in through an unlocked door and injures someone inside, the victim may be able to file a premises liability claim against the building’s owner if the owner did not take adequate steps to ensure that the building was secured.

Most swimming pool accident claims involve children who are injured or drown after entering an unsecured or unsupervised pool.  Because many children are attracted to pools, most cities and states require property owners who have swimming pools to install fences with locking gates around their pools.  City ordinances and state laws may specify the height of the fences and other features that should be included around the swimming pool.  If a person or business leaves a pool unsupervised and unsecured, the person or business may be liable to pay damages in a premises liability claim.

Product Liability

In Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and much of the nation, every manufacturer and its distributor has the responsibility to sell only safe products. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers take that responsibility seriously, resulting in needless injuries or even deaths. When consumers are injured, they may feel like David taking on Goliath; however, we at Zola Law Offices, Inc. are here to stand by them in the fight.

We have successfully taken on some of the biggest companies in the world. We conduct extensive technical research and work with the leading experts in each field of industry. To prove our case, we reenact accidents, develop computer models, and build prototypes of safer designs. We amass volumes of documents, sharing resources with other leading plaintiffs’ firms around the country, and then computer index the documents.

In every case, in addition to seeking to ensure the financial security of our clients, we work to change the industry – to get unsafe products off the market, to improve product design, and to change work practices

Zola Law Offices, Inc. has been recognized as a 2018 Best Law Firm by U.S. News and World Report and has achieved a Philadelphia Metropolitan Tier 1 Ranking in the practice area of product liability litigation.
Responsible Manufacturing

Those who manufacture products for consumer use have a responsibility to ensure that their product is safe to use and free from defects. Each year, however, thousands of consumers are seriously injured due to defective products that are placed on the market.

All too often, manufacturers put their interests in maximizing profitability over consumer safety. Even so, whether the manufacturer exercised great care in delivering the final product or not, if a defective product caused harm or injury, the party at fault could be held liable.

If you’ve been seriously injured due to a product that malfunctioned or is otherwise defective, a product liability claim may be the answer. The attorneys at Zola Law Offices, Inc. have successfully represented clients in product liability claims and may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.
What is Product Liability?

Product liability determines what party is responsible for a defective, or otherwise dangerous product where a consumer sustained injuries. By law, a product must meet the reasonable expectations of consumers. When the product doesn’t meet those expectations and results in harm, it is unacceptable, and someone should be held accountable.


Types of Product Liability Lawsuits

In a product liability lawsuit, the consumer may have the burden of proof to prove the defective product was a direct result of the injury. The consumer may also have to prove that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous. Proving these two elements are critical to a successful product liability lawsuit.

Because the product manufacturing industry is so vast and diverse, there are various types of claims that may be pursued. One thing they all have in common, however, is injury by a defective product.

Three product defects that can result in a product liability claim:

    Design defects – occurs when the design of a product is deemed unsafe, even before manufacturing.
    Manufacturing defects – occurs when a defective product occurs during the manufacturing or assembling of the product.
    Warning defects – occurs when there is a lack of instructions or safety warnings to warn consumers of latent dangers in the product.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Defective Product Injury?

Anybody involved in the chain of manufacturing may potentially be liable for a defective product. This may include, but is not limited to, the following:

    The manufacturer of the product itself
    The manufacturer of the parts
    The party that assembles or packages the product
    The party that installs the product
    The wholesaler of the product
    The retailer who sells the product to the consumer

When determining product liability for a defective product injury, liability will be dependent upon the jurisdiction in which the case was filed. Product liability is often governed by state law, and there are several factors to take into consideration when determining liability.

Additionally, the Uniform Commercial Code contains statutes that contain warranty rules that play a part in product liability claims.


What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Product Liability Lawsuit?

If a defective product has injured you, it can affect you both physically and financially. Bringing a product liability lawsuit against those who are responsible gives you the potential to recover the following damages:

    Compensatory Damages – these damages cover medical bills, lost time off of work, as well as any property damage that may have been a result of the product defect.
    Punitive Damages – these damages are usually granted when the conduct of the party that was held liable was so reprehensible that the courts want to be sure that they never do it again. These damages are usually limited or capped off, depending on the jurisdiction.
    Pain and Suffering – these damages compensate you for the pain and suffering that you went through as a result of your injury.
    Loss of Consortium – these damages award you compensation for the effect on your relationship with your spouse. Your spouse may be able to recover these damages, even though the product did not physically injure him or her.

The Attorneys at Zola Law Offices, Inc. have recovered substantial amounts of money in verdicts and settlements for victims of product defects and were ready to do the same for you.


Are There Statutes of Limitations for Product Liability Lawsuits?

Each state has a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time you can file a case.  In some states, there is a delayed discovery rule. This rule starts the clock for the statute of limitations from the date a person first discovers the injury. The delayed discovery rule is especially important for cases where the injury isn’t immediately prevalent. For example, this rule would be important for a person who develops cancer years after exposure to hazardous material. The statute of limitations makes it essential to bring your case as soon as possible.


Why You Need to Hire a Product Liability Attorney

Defective product injuries can be severe, leaving you with expensive medical bills and causing you to be off work for an extended period of time. Many times insurance companies offer a settlement, and people accept them right away, but this is not always the best alternative. Insurance companies are often looking out for their own financial interests, so the amount they offer may not be close to what you may be entitled. This is why it is a good idea to acquire the help of an experienced product liability attorney to negotiate on your behalf.

Zola Law Offices, Inc. has a history of successfully receiving compensation for our clients that have been victims of a defective product. We understand what it takes to deal with large corporations and insurance companies, and we will fight to protect your rights as a consumer. Contact us today.

For the general public:  This Blog/Website is made available by the law firm publisher, Zola Law Offices, Inc., for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

Truck Accidents

Every year there are almost a half million large truck accidents in the United States. Truck driver error causes the vast majority, and many of those errors are related to falling asleep at the wheel. In 2014, there were 846 fatalities recorded in NHTSA’s database that were drowsy-driving-related. See https://one.nhtsa.gov/Driving-Safety/Drowsy-Driving/scope–of–the–problem. That number has not improved year after year.

Trucks are 20-30 times heavier than a typical car. They should be operated with the utmost care. When a truck or tractor-trailer kills or injures someone you love, you want and deserve answers. The truck owner will not provide them. Companies routinely try to hide an accident’s true cause and blame you, the victim.

Tractor-trailer catastrophes are far more complicated than car accidents. To uncover what happened, it is critical that you promptly retain attorneys who have already represented other victims of trucking accidents. The accident scene, the truck itself, video, key records and witnesses all can change, be altered or disappear quickly. Truckers and their insurers will quickly send agents to the scene who represent their interests – and you should too.

Our investigators will immediately photograph the accident scene, secure physical evidence and obtain witness statements to protect you. We will send preservation of evidence letters to the motor carrier and the truck driver. We will be sure that the carrier maintains the tractor’s engine control module and other in-cab electronics, including data on the tractor’s speed, the governor, lights, video, and GPS tracking.

Zola Law Offices, Inc. tractor-trailer attorneys know what to do and look for at the beginning of the investigation — when it matters most.

Ultimately, our accident reconstruction expert will take the facts and materials we gather and work with an animator to create a video simulation of exactly what happened so those responsible can be held liable and you and your family can obtain justice.


What To Do First

At the scene of a wreck, first, be sure that everyone is safe, meaning that 911 is called, all persons are out of the way of traffic and anyone needing medical attention has it.

Second, write down the names, phone numbers, and addresses of the parties and all witnesses.

Third, if you can do so safely, photograph or video everything. Pictures taken immediately after the accident typically are the most accurate and valuable; that means photographing or shooting video of all vehicles (from every side), the scene, sight lines, signage, the weather and lighting, and any injuries you sustained.

Do not admit fault and do not make a statement to anyone other than a police officer.

It is not unusual for an agent from the trucker’s insurance company to call or even visit you after the accident. They do not represent your interests. Do not agree to make a video statement, and do not sign anything the insurance company presents. Call an attorney immediately.
The Anatomy of a Truck Disaster

When investigating the cause of a trucking accident, here are some of the things that we look for:

Commercial Driver Hiring Practices: Was the driver qualified at the time of hiring to be driving the truck and fit to be on the road? We scrutinize the truck driver’s personnel file, criminal record and employment/driving history. This includes drug screens and evaluations from the driver’s probationary period with the current company.

Carrier Safety Policies: Truckers must comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and state CDL requirements. One key component of Federal law governs how many hours an operator may drive.

Drivers of so-called “longer combination vehicles” (typically two or even three trailers) must receive extra training.

Carriers also should conduct ongoing operator training and be able to provide evidence of completion for all drivers, including nighttime safety programs (midnight to 6:00 a.m. is known as the “danger zone” in the trucking safety world).

Drowsy Driving/Hours of Service Violations: This is probably the number one cause of trucking accidents in the United States. Every investigation must include a careful look at the operator’s log, diary and other evidence of how long the trucker went without sleep before the incident. It is also important to see if the trucking company required dispatcher clearance of the driver’s recent activities to assure that all drivers are rested and fit to drive.

It is an open question whether courts can now hold truck manufacturers liable for not installing collision avoidance systems in newer trucks, when this technology is found in almost all new cars.

Here is a video showing how effective and potentially life-saving truck collision avoidance technology is:

Tragically, companies like Volvo and Daimler provide collision avoidance in new trucks sold in Europe, but they do not in the U.S. because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not require it.

Load Balance, Securement and Overload: There are clear standards how loads are to be placed on tractor-trailers. Violations of these standards due to laziness, inexperience or rushing cause tragedy on highways every day.

Shoulder Parking and U-Turns: These are generally prohibited for large tractor trailers since they are very dangerous. This is particularly true at night.

Failure to install side guards, rear guards and reflective tape on tractor-trailers: The trucking industry has known for many years about the danger of “side underride,” which occurs when a car is jammed under a tractor-trailer. These are gruesome with car occupants typically suffering severe head injuries.

Trailer side guards are very effective at preventing this type of tragedy but are too seldom used.

Reflective tape is now mandatory on tractor-trailers to avoid cars failing to see a turning trailer at night and during periods of poor visibility.

Tire Failure and Negligent Maintenance: It is very common for trucking companies to fail to properly inspect and maintain tires and brakes. The reason is cost. Repairs cost money. Taking a truck out of service also costs money. When this kind of inexcusable behavior devastates a family, however, the trucking company must be held accountable.

Learn the many options available to you or a loved one following a truck accident by contacting the national truck accident lawyers at Zola Law Offices, Inc.. You will receive a no-cost evaluation to see if our team can help. Remember, we never charge a fee unless we collect for you. Also don’t forget that all states impose statutes of limitations which set a deadline for when a claim may be filed. It is important to contact a truck lawyer as soon as possible to avoid forfeiting your valuable claim.

Aviation Disasters

Aviation disasters are among the most horrifying accidents that can happen. When a plane crash occurs, the attorneys at Zola Law Offices, Inc. will conduct a prompt in-depth investigation to assure that our clients obtain the maximum compensation for their losses. We represent victims in all types of aviation accidents, including those involving commercial airliners, private aircraft, helicopters, jets, turboprop aircraft, seaplanes, ultralights, experimental aircraft and others. Our team of aviation lawyers is led by Chuck, who is a licensed pilot.

Multiple parties may be liable in aviation disasters, including the airplane manufacturer and the maker of any defective parts, flight schools, air traffic controllers, and engine manufacturers. Our attorneys understand how to investigate an aviation accident to uncover the true cause.


Aviation Accidents And Their Causes

Aviation accidents usually occur because of multiple factors. Experts call it a “cascade of events.” Uncovering all the causes that contribute to an airplane crash takes thorough investigative work. Some of the most common causes of airplane crashes include the following:

    Pilot error
    Poor training
    Mechanical failure
    Air traffic control error
    Inadequate aircraft maintenance

Pilot error causes many aviation accidents. For example, a pilot might misread or misunderstand the instruments, fail to complete safety checks or follow checklists, fail to recognize or properly correct a mechanical failure, or attempt to navigate through adverse weather conditions instead of flying around them – or not flying at all. When pilot errors happen, everyone on board may suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries.

Poor training is a common and underappreciated problem. A government mandate about recurrent training imposes legal a minimum; complying with the FAA rules does not mean a pilot is safe in all circumstances, however. Pilots must undergo much more than minimum training if they wish to fly in instrument weather conditions, at night, over dangerous terrain, at higher altitudes, near mountains, etc. Failure to secure the proper training is negligence. It also is important to scrutinize pilot logs to be sure that a pilot involved in an incident has sufficient experience in the type of aircraft he/she is flying and was not fatigued or impaired at the time of the accident.

In some cases, a pilot’s “error” may be the result of the defective design of an aircraft, including a guidance system or a crucial component of flight control. Airplane manufacturers will typically blame accidents on pilot error, despite knowing that many pilots are uninsured or underinsured thereby depriving the victims of fair compensation. It is therefore critically important to perform an investigation independent of the manufacturer and even the National Transportation Safety Board, to be sure that the appropriate parties are held accountable.

Mechanical failures are another common cause of aviation accidents. Mechanical problems occur in many forms. For example, there may be engine issues that were ignored or defects in a part that were not corrected. A critical pin might be made out of the wrong material. There may be a design defect. Today, software and autopilot problems occur and can be devastating. Almost all pilots use commercially available GPS software to navigate. Tragedies occur when the software is not updated either by the vendor or the operator of the plane. Like pilot error, mechanical errors can result in serious injuries to everyone on board.

Air traffic controllers are responsible for directing planes as they take off and land to make sure that the paths of the aircraft are free and clear. When air traffic controllers make mistakes, aviation accidents can happen. The plane might collide with another aircraft on a runway or in the air or with an obstacle like a mountain or a tower.

Planes must also be adequately maintained. Airline and aircraft mechanics are supposed to check the systems to make sure that they are functioning correctly. The baggage handlers must properly load the plane, ensuring that it is not over-weight or out of balance. And, the plane should be fueled so that it can reach its destination with a safe margin for error.

Some other common causes of airplane crashes include the following:

    Defects in the landing gear
    Design defects
    Fuel mismanagement
    Improper inspections
    Inadequate security
    Inadequate training
    Inclement weather
    Instrument failures
    Medical emergencies
    Metal failures
    Mid-air collisions
    Poor fuels
    Tire failures

Most aircraft accidents happen in small planes and helicopters. Medivac and sightseeing helicopters are increasingly involved in aviation accidents. An experienced team of aviation accident lawyers can evaluate your potential claim and provide you with an honest assessment.


Aviation Accident Liability

The determination of liability is essential in legal cases in which victims are seriously injured or killed. In aviation accidents, multiple parties may be liable for the accident’s causes. You should work with an attorney who understands how to investigate an aviation accident to identify all parties that contributed to its cause. Identifying all liable parties is essential to assure that the victims and the families of people who are killed to recover compensation to pay for their losses.

The plaintiffs must be able to prove that the defendants owed a duty of care to the victims to protect them from harm. In aircraft accidents, the plaintiffs must prove that the company or individual owed the pilot/passengers a duty of care to ensure their safety when the accident occurred, whether it was before the flight, during take-off, during the flight or during the landing. If the plaintiff is unable to show that a defendant owed a duty of care, the plaintiff will not be able to prove that the defendant was negligent or is responsible for damages.

After a plaintiff proves that a defendant owed a duty of care, the plaintiff must next prove that the defendant breached or violated that duty. For example, if an airline mechanic had a duty of care to inspect the landing gear before take-off but failed to do so, the plaintiff can show that the mechanic breached his or her duty of care.

The next element that must be proven by a plaintiff to establish the defendant’s liability is that the defendant’s breach caused the accident. It is insufficient to simply show that a defendant owed a duty that he or she breached. The plaintiff must also show that the breach was a direct or proximate cause of an accident. For example, if the mechanic in the previous example failed to check the landing gear, but the landing gear had nothing to do with the airplane crash, the mechanic would not be liable for the accident.

Finally, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the accident injured him or her. If a plaintiff can prove all these elements of negligence, he or she can hold the defendant liable to pay damages for the plaintiff’s economic and non-economic losses.


What Compensation Can You Recover?

The compensation that might be available following an aviation accident will depend on the facts and circumstances, with the amount of compensation varying from case to case.

How damages are calculated varies tremendously based on which state’s or country’s law applies. This legal issue can sometimes be the most important factor in determining how much compensation a crash victim receives. The lawyers at Zola Law Offices, Inc. have represented the plaintiffs in some of the leading legal cases establishing how the courts decide which law will apply. This legal issue can sometimes determine whether the victims receive thousands of dollars or millions of dollars.

We can divide compensation that might be recoverable in an aviation accident that resulted from negligence into two primary categories, including special damages and general damages.

Special damages include the economic or financial losses that you suffered because of your injuries or the loss of your loved ones. These consist of the following categories of damages:

    Your past and future medical expenses
    The cost of your loved one’s medical care from the time of the accident until he or she succumbed to his or her injuries in wrongful death cases
    Your past and future income losses
    The loss of your loved one’s future anticipated earnings in a wrongful death case
    Property losses
    The cost of rehabilitation
    Funeral and burial expenses for your loved one in a wrongful death case

General damages are your non-economic losses and may be more challenging to value. Some of these categories of damages include the following:

    Your past and future physical pain and suffering
    The pain and suffering that your loved one suffered from the time of the accident until he or she died
    Emotional trauma
    Loss of consortium for spouses
    Scarring and disfigurement
    Loss of the ability to enjoy life

In some cases, punitive damages might be available. These are damages that are not designed to compensate the victims but are instead intended to punish the defendants. These types of damages are reserved for situations in which the actions of the defendants were particularly outrageous.

Work Accidents

Third-Party Lawsuits

The law guarantees every American worker the right to work in a safe and healthy environment. Tragically, that promise is broken every day in workplaces all across our country. For decades, workers and their families have turned to Zola Law Offices, Inc. to investigate whether a lawsuit can and should be filed after serious or fatal accidents that took place on the job.

Workers’ compensation – “no-fault” benefits paid by the injured worker’s employer – do not cover all of the losses and consequences caused by work injuries. Workers’ compensation does not acknowledge at all the pain, the disruption in one’s home life, the worry, nor the loss of life’s pleasures caused by an injury on the job. Under workers’ compensation, wages are only partially replaced. Family members and dependents receive little or no benefits. In some situations, however, lawsuits can be filed to be compensated for these losses. The amount of damages awarded in a lawsuit can be several times more than the workers’ compensation benefits.

In almost every state, its Workers’ Compensation Act provides immunity to employers and to co-workers from negligence lawsuits filed by injured workers or their families. The protection from a lawsuit, however, does not extend to anyone beyond your employer and co-workers. Lawsuits can be brought against any company or person, other than your employer, who caused or contributed to your accident or to the worsening of your injuries. You can continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits while investigating and pursuing a lawsuit.

Lawsuits can also prompt equipment manufacturers, chemical suppliers, safety “consultants” and property owners to provide safer products and a safer workplace. Because, in an industrial accident, we think of the worker and the company as the two principal parties involved, lawsuits against outsiders are called “third-party lawsuits.”

The attorneys at Zola Law Offices, Inc. have secured seven- and eight-figure recoveries for clients in third-party lawsuits who were injured at work because:

    A manufacturer of “flame resistant” uniforms used the wrong fabric to make clothing to be used in a foundry; the fabric was easily combustible causing severe burn injuries;
    A boiler inspection company failed to notice and correct the lack of a safety relief valve on a high-pressure boiler, which exploded;
    The manufacturer of a stand-up forklift failed to provide a protective structure around the operator compartment, so that the operator was fatally crushed when the forklift under-rode a warehouse shelf bracket;
    A commercial laundry sold an old steam ironer with the guards removed from the ingoing nip point of the heated rollers;
    A utility company did not maintain adequate clearance for its energized power lines as required by the National Electrical Safety Code, leaving the uninsulated lines too close to a building that was being painted;
    A chemical manufacturer packaged its sulfuric acid in five-gallon glass bottles that were not covered by a protective safety coating despite knowing the bottle was going to be used in a busy factory;
    The manufacturer of the dust collection system for very small combustible dusts did not properly ground the equipment allowing a static electric charge to build up and ignite a dust explosion; and
    A nursing home failed to alert a visiting nurse, who was employed by an outside contractor, that the patient from whom she was drawing blood was combative and had hepatitis.

Injured workers often decide to not investigate a third-party lawsuit because they think the accident was their own fault or another worker’s fault and therefore they cannot file a claim. But just because you are accused of committing an “unsafe act” does not mean that you have no case. For more than a century, a fundamental principle of industrial safety has been: “To err is human, to forgive: design.” Responsible equipment designers have to anticipate in the design of their products that people make mistakes.

Under most states’ workers’ compensation laws, the workers’ compensation carrier has “subrogation” rights against any third-party lawsuit, which means that, from the injured worker’s financial recovery, the carrier will be paid back all of the benefits it paid to the injured worker. Because of this, an injured worker’s employer should support the worker in investigating and pursuing a third-party lawsuit.
Benefits Of Hiring A Work Injury Attorney

It is important to preserve all evidence from a work-related accident and, if possible, document the accident scene with photos. Since many types of injuries occur and the proof required to establish who was negligent or otherwise at fault for a workplace injury is complex, a workplace injury attorney familiar with this area of law – as well as workplace safety issues — may be able to help you bring forth a successful claim.

The attorneys at Zola Law Offices, Inc. are committed to fighting for the financial security so needed by the injured worker and their family. We also work to ensure that in the future more workers aren’t hurt in the same way.

We strive in every one of our client’s cases to promote safer work practices, to redesign products, and to revamp training.

Our lawyers have written manuals and articles on safety in the workplace. Attorney Martin Brigham was lead author of the book Injured on the Job, published by the Philadelphia Area Project of Occupational Safety and Health (PhilaPOSH). PhilaPOSH has recognized Mr. Brigham for his lifetime commitment to promoting workplace safety.


Common Types Of Workplace Injuries

There are many types of workplace injuries. In terms of the most common types that occur in workplace injury lawsuits, some of the more severe workplace injuries include:

    Falls from loading docks, roofs, scaffolds or work platforms causing paralysis or death
    Amputations caused by unguarded machinery
    Burns caused by fires, chemicals or explosions
    Construction worksite accidents
    Car or truck accidents while driving for work
    Injuries caused by explosions from propane leaks, combustible dust clouds or pressurized vessels
    Contact with an energized piece of electrical equipment or power line
    Pieces of equipment or materials falling from a height and striking a worker
    Accidents from power tools, such as planers, saws, band-saws, and lathes
    Traumatic injuries caused by presses and rolling mills
    Injuries caused by a conveyor, hoist or crane
    Injuries caused by inadvertent or un-intended activation of controls on a piece of equipment
    Harm caused by defective equipment or unguarded machinery
    Exposure to toxic chemicals
    Injuries due to forklifts, sideloaders, pallet jacks, order pickers or high-reaches
    Nail gun workplace injuries
    Punch press and sheet metal fabrication machine injuries
    Injuries sustained by Railroad Workers

Many of these types of injuries are caused by the improper design of equipment. Without proper safety features in place, dangerous equipment used in many manufacturing, heavy equipment jobs, factory workplaces, and industrial workplaces can cause workplace injuries.
What Compensation Can Be Recovered?

When a workplace injury is due to the negligent or wrongful actions of a third party, the injured employee may be entitled to additional damages beyond workers’ compensation. Awards may be made to compensate for:

? lost future employment opportunities due to the severity of the harm caused;
? pain and suffering;
? resulting spousal harm;
? loss of life compensation, which can include the loss of enjoyment of life directly caused by the injury; and
? the cost of continued care if necessitated due to the severity of the workplace injury.

This is not an exhaustive list of the compensations to which you may be entitled for a workplace injury. In some cases, the conduct of the third party is so egregious that it may be also assessed punitive damages.

Since a workplace injury can result in severe damage, physically, emotionally, and to the enjoyment of life, it is vital to find out the types of compensation you may be able to recover. Some workplace injuries will severely impact an employee’s general ability to perform everyday life activities. The emotional toll and physical impact are also often significant. By learning what compensation you may be entitled to if you had a workplace injury, you may be able to receive an award to help make up for the damages you sustained.

Civil Rights

At Zola Law Offices, Inc. we pride ourselves on our commitment to preserving civil rights by fighting discrimination and racism by private companies and the government. The Firm’s civil rights practice is led by Harold Goodman, who is widely recognized for his skill in the courtroom and on appeals. Mr. Goodman has successfully tried complex discrimination cases to verdict. He has succeeded in every client’s case he has argued before the United States Supreme Court.

Our firm and attorneys are dedicated to aggressively fighting for the rights of our clients. Through our clients’ civil rights cases, we strive to hold the parties that violated their civil rights accountable and to positively change the legal and justice systems. If we accept your case, we will conduct an in-depth investigation and advocate on your behalf to try to secure the maximum compensation for what you’ve had to endure.

Civil rights lawsuits are among the most legally challenging and complicated cases. The U.S. Supreme Court has severely limited the rights that people have when prosecutors or police officers mistreat them. Across the U.S., because of the Supreme Court opinions, the courts have dismissed hundreds of civil rights without ever being heard by juries. If your civil rights have been violated, your potential claim must be handled with the utmost care. The civil rights attorneys at Zola Law Offices, Inc. have extensive experience and the necessary skills to handle civil rights lawsuits properly.


What Are Civil Rights?

You need to know what your civil rights are in order to protect them. Civil rights in the U.S. are vital because they protect people from being mistreated. They are the rights of people to be free from discrimination and unfair treatment and to be treated equally in multiple settings, including employment, education, housing, interactions with law enforcement, public accommodations, and others.

The Civil Rights Movement has historically referred to the efforts of African Americans to achieve equality in all aspects of society. Today, civil rights also refer to the efforts of all people to achieve equality regardless of their protected characteristics, including sex, race, disability, age, pregnancy, religion, national origin, genetic information, and others.


Where Civil Rights Originate

Multiple federal laws protect civil rights. Most states also have state civil rights laws. Some examples of federal civil rights laws include:

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
    Age Discrimination Act of 1975
    Americans with Disabilities Act
    Fair Housing Act
    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
    Voting Rights Act

Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as the result of the Civil Rights Movement. Title VII of the act prohibits discrimination against workers based on their protected characteristics. Prohibited workplace discrimination extends to all aspects of employment, from hiring to termination. The Civil Rights Act also prohibits discrimination against people based on their protected characteristics in public accommodations, education, and voting.

The Age Discrimination Act prohibits age discrimination in programs that receive federal funding, including housing, health care, education, rehabilitation, welfare, and food stamps. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits age discrimination against workers and applicants who are 40 or older.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits disability discrimination in a variety of settings. Prohibited discrimination includes actions based on real or perceived disabilities in employment, public accommodations, state and local governments, transportation, commercial facilities, and telecommunications.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on protected characteristics, including disability, family status, sex, religion, and race. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in programs that receive federal funding.

The Voting Rights Act passed because of Jim Crow Laws and other barriers that minorities faced when they tried to vote in specific states in the south. In 2013, the Supreme Court removed several essential provisions of the law.

Some civil rights have originated from landmark decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, including Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, Loving v. Virginia, and others.

Most states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, have passed civil rights laws. The state laws sometimes offer more protections than the federal laws. Cities such as Philadelphia have also passed civil rights laws and ordinances.
Civil Rights vs. Civil Liberties

Civil rights are not the same as civil liberties. The concept of civil rights has traditionally dealt with the right to be free from unfair and unequal treatment based on protected characteristics. Civil liberties are broader and are guaranteed by the Constitution or by other federal laws. These include the rights to free speech, privacy, and to vote.


Examples Of Civil Rights Cases For Our Clients

Our attorneys have represented clients for the following violations of their civil rights:

    Hate crimes
    Police misconduct
    Police brutality
    Discrimination
    Racial profiling
    Unlawful arrests
    Wrongful convictions

Regardless of the complexity of your claim, the attorneys at our law firm can address the problems to try to recover compensation for you. Our attorneys have an excellent reputation for the thoroughness of their work and understand how to investigate civil rights claims.


Examples Of Civil Rights Cases

HATE CRIMES: Hate crimes involve using threats of force or physical force when the perpetrators were motivated by hate and intolerance based on the victim’s characteristics. These crimes are oftentimes violent and are intended to intimidate and hurt someone because of the person’s ethnicity, race, religion, nation orientation, disability, or sexual orientation.

You can think of hate crimes as being terroristic actions taken against an individual or community to express hatred based on protected characteristics. The victims of hate crimes may have valid grounds to file civil rights lawsuits in addition to any criminal cases that might be pending against the perpetrators.

POLICE MISCONDUCT: Incidents of police misconduct, police brutality, and unlawful arrests are far too common. Some examples of these types of incidents include the following:

    Police brutality
    Excessive force
    Sexual assault
    Planting evidence
    Torture to coerce confessions
    Unlawful arrests and detentions

Some of these types of incidents have been nationally reported and have led to significant unrest. For example, the cases of Eric Garnier, Rodney King, Sean Bell, and others shocked the conscience of the public and led to massive protests and demonstrations.