This past week in Western Pennsylvania has been a harrowing one.
The terrible events that took place at Franklin Regional High School on Wednesday morning, March 9 2014, will reverberate for months if not years to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people and families who were effected and we praise those for their courage and acts of heroism. As I write this more questions exist than answers. Why? Of course is the one everyone is asking.
As a lawyer practicing injury law we frequently see horrific and catastrophic injuries that effect people and their families lives forever. We are not doctors. We cannot get people back to health. Believe me we would if we could. But we can't We cannot 'fix' people. What we can do is try to get injured people (and sometimes their families) help in terms of financial compensation, medical benefits, prescriptions and or payment for medical bills and treatment, and in 3rd party civil negligence cases money for pain and suffering. Often times people tell me it's not even about the money. They just want their bills paid, or they don't want this to happen again to someone else...among some examples. And those are important concerns that we lawyers take into account and do what we can. However, in the vast majority of cases the law deals in money. We can't fix you, but we may be able to get you money. The American legal system deals with money.
For the security guard stabbed at the high school, under Pennsylvania Workers Compensation, he should receive all his medical bills paid by his employers Workers' Compensation Insurance Carrier. If he is off of work more than 7 days he should also receive Workmans Compensation loss wage benefits. If he has permanent scarring on his head, face or neck he may also recieve Workmens Comp specific loss benefits for permanent and unsightly disfigurement. If he has restrictions from his injuries then a question would remain as to whether his employer can accomodate his restrictions or not. If his employer cannot accomodate then how long he remains on workers compensation benefits may depend on the extent of his injuries and if later at some time the Workers' Compensation Insurance Carrier chooses to have him undergo a Labor Market Survey/Earning Power Assessment or job development.
Often overlooked in these awful situations but none the less important is trauma from first responders. Often times psychological. Sometimes physical. Picking up an injury victim, placing them on beds and/or transporting can be heavy physical activity. Recently I had a case with an EMT who was responding to an emergency, running down a gravel driveway fracturing her ankle. Eight (8) surgeries later she is confined to a wheelchair probably for the rest of her life and she hasn't reached the age of 35.
We pray for the families effected by the events at Franklin Regional High School and they are in our thoughts. We praise those who acted courageously. We are thankful to the heroes and first responders.