Case Examples

Personal Injury

Westmoreland County, PA -- Motorcycle Accident

A 37-year‑old man from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, suffered serious lacerations of his leg and crush injuries of his left foot in a motorcycle accident on State Route 982 near Kecksburg. A truck owned by a construction company coming around the curve when an unsecured 55 gallon drum filled with liquid flew off of the back of the truck, striking our client's motorcycle and impacting his foot. The motorcyclist was thrown from his bike onto the roadway. Our client was life flighted to a Pittsburgh hospital for surgical treatment of several comminuted metatarsal fractures and metatarsophalangeal joint dislocations, also known as a Lisfranc fracture/dislocation. Part of the treatment involved K-wire fixation of the fractured bones. Our client's prognosis included arthritic changes and probable future fusion of his mid foot. A lawsuit was filed in Westmoreland County and a substantial settlement was reached before trial began.

Derry Township, Westmoreland County, PA -- Motorcycle Collision

Our client was traveling on State Route 217 near Blairsville, PA, on a motorcycle when a vehicle pulled out onto the roadway directly into his lane of travel. On impact, our client was ejected from his bike. His injuries included head, neck and back injuries, as well as a fracture of the right fibula, a displaced fracture of the left medial malleolus, a significantly comminuted fracture of his left great toe, and other multiple injuries. Repair of these injuries included percutaneous pinning and placement of hardware to aid healing. This hardware had to be surgically removed several months after the accident. The personal injury attorneys at QuatriniRafferty obtained the maximum limits of bodily injury liability insurance as well as underinsured motorists benefits.

Indiana County, PA -- Fatal Accident Caused by Drunk Driver

QuatriniRafferty represented the Estates of two young parents who were traveling on State Route 422 in Indiana County, PA, on a Sunday evening when a drunk driver traveling the opposite direction crossed the center line and collided head-on with their vehicle. The drunk driver survived, but both of his victims were pronounced dead at the scene. They left behind one son and other family members devastated by this tragic, but preventable accident. The drunk driver was sentenced to a multiple-year prison term. Our office represented the Estates of the husband and wife in a lawsuit filed in Indiana County for the benefit of their son. As a result of the civil action, we were able to reach a settlement short of trial for the policy limits available to the drunk driver as well as all underinsured motorist coverage available to the family vehicle involved in the accident. Our firm also assisted the family in applying for benefits through the Victims Compensation Assistance Program and in seeking restitution from the drunk driver through the criminal proceeding.

Westmoreland County, Washington Township, Pa -- Head-on Car Collision

Our client was a 32 year old teacher traveling to work at 7:00 a.m. on State Route 66. She was a front seat passenger car pooling with a co-worker. A vehicle coming the opposite direction struck a tractor-trailer which was on the road ahead of the vehicle our client occupied. After impacting the rear of the tractor-trailer, the oncoming car continued to cross the center line and strike our client's vehicle head-on. Our client had to be cut from the wreckage after being trapped for nearly 40 minutes. She had emergency surgery at a Pittsburgh hospital for extensive internal injuries, including lacerations of her liver and a perforated small intestine. She also sustained multiple injuries including trauma to her knee which resulted in chondromalacia. Months after her initial hospitalization, she had additional abdominal surgery to repair an umbilical hernia. She also had surgery to repair her Achilles tendon after that tendon ruptured due to the trauma of the accident which reduced the blood supply to that tendon. After months of rehabilitation, she was able to return to work. After filing a law suit, the attorneys at QuatriniRafferty fought to get her a substantial settlement prior to trial.


Social Security Disability

Westmoreland County -- Social Security Disability

QuatriniRafferty represented an individual from Westmoreland County, who applied for social security disability benefits based on a combination of lower back degenerative disc disease with spinal stenosis and a history of a laminectomy and facetectomy, lumbar radiculopathy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema, along with major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. This social security claimant was required to go to a hearing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at which time we presented our case to both the Administrative Law Judge and vocational expert. We argued that the Independent Medical Examination completed for our client's Workers' Compensation matter limited the claimant to less than a full range of sedentary work. A Fully Favorable Decision was granted, and the client received both retroactive payments and ongoing benefits following the award.

Cambria Count -- Social Security Disability

QuatriniRafferty represented an individual from Cambria County, who applied on his own for Social Security Disability/Disability Insurance benefits. After being denied at the initial level, we met with the client to file their appeal and request a hearing in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Prior to the hearing, our office updated all medical records for the Administrative Law Judge and worked with the psychiatrist to acquire a specific questionnaire outlining all limitations. On the day of the hearing, we focused testimony on the combination of physical and psychological conditions that prevented the individual - who was also a U.S. Veteran - from being able to maintain substantial gainful employment on a full-time basis without psychological or physical distractions. Ultimately, a Fully Favorable Decision was issued, and the individual received retroactive payment back to the day of their application and ongoing benefits following the Judge's award.

Social Security Disability -- Blair County

QR represented a Social Security Disability client from Hollidaysburg, PA who was younger than 50 years of age. Our client suffered from several impairments, including a right shoulder impingement with tendinitis, right ulnar neuropathy along with a herniated nucleus pulposus and degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine post fusion, cervical stenosis, brachial plexopathy with dystonia, torticollis, asthma and migraine headaches. An appeal hearing was held in Altoona, Pennsylvania, at which time we were able to convince the Social Security Judge that despite the client's ability to perform Light Duty employment, there were additional restrictions - due specifically to the client's pain - that would prohibit the client from sustaining regular attendance at work, and, would substantially affect the client's ability to maintain concentration on work tasks for the required 85% of a work day.

Social Security Disability -- Westmoreland County.

Our client from Latrobe, Pennsylvania applied for Social Security Disability and was denied on the initial application. We helped her appeal her case and attended a hearing at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We argued that the client's impairments - low back pain and limitation following surgery, transient ischemic attacks (TIA's), vertigo and resulting depression - would affect her ability to engage in sustained work activity on a regular and continuing basis for eight hours a day, five days a week. The Social Security Judge adopted our argument and issued a fully favorable decision awarding ongoing benefits, and, payment of retroactive benefits to February of 2013.

QuatriniRafferty successfully represented a 39-year-old police officer who was shot three times and paralyzed while responding to a home invasion in Allegheny County. QR initiated his Social Security Disability application while he was still receiving Heart & Lung benefits from his Employer. This was important because Heart & Lung benefits do not offset Social Security Disability benefits, unlike Workers' Compensation benefits. After working with the client to complete the application, adult disability report, medical releases, activities of daily living, and other Social Security paperwork, the case was submitted for adjudication to the Social Security office in Belle Vernon, PA. A few months after submission, the Social Security office awarded the claim without the need for a hearing.

Indiana County, Indiana, PA -- Social Security Disability (Multiple Injuries to Left Leg)

QuatriniRafferty represented a 38-year-old individual from Indiana, Pennsylvania, who applied for, and was denied, Social Security Disability benefits on his initial application. The young gentleman suffered multiple injuries related to a motorcycle accident, including an acute occlusion of the anterior and posterior tibial artery, talus fracture, and open left tibia and fibula fracture. Our staff gathered and electronically submitted all updated medical records to the Social Security Administration before the hearing with a Social Security Judge in Johnstown, PA. Additionally, our attorneys worked with the client's treating orthopedic surgeon to acquire a direct medical opinion on limitations that precluded the client's past work, and, any other work, including sedentary occupations. This medical support allowed Quatrini Rafferty to win a Fully Favorable decision under Medical Vocational rule 204.00 and under Social Security Rulings 96-8p and 96-9p. As a bonus, the fully favorable award permitted our client to access additional benefits from his disability pension through his union.

Westmoreland County, Greensburg, PA -- Social Security Disability (Multiple Impairments)

QuatriniRafferty represented a 50 year-old Social Security Disability individual from Greensburg, Pennsylvania who suffered from several impairments, including a granuloma of the lung, arthritis, fibromyalgia, hiatal hernia, ovarian mass, chronic depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, Raynaud's phenomenon, and chronic fatigue. Individual was originally denied on her initial application. QuatriniRafferty represented the individual at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The ALJ agreed with our argument that the individual' severe and non-severe impairments prohibited her from competitive, full-time work (i.e. eight hours per day and five days per week), and awarded the claimant full social security disability benefits.

Westmoreland County, Latrobe, PA -- Social Security Disability (Right Rotator Cuff)

Our social security disability client from Latrobe, Pennsylvania sustained a right rotator cuff tear at work. While representing him on the workers' compensation matter, we also applied him for social security disability benefits. Our client was awarded benefits on application. However, the social security chose an onset date approximately 9 months after the client left work and had surgery on his right shoulder. We instituted an appeal to challenge the onset date and represented our client before an Administrative Law Judge in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. We argued that our client was entitled to nine additional months of benefits because after his surgery he was only capable of sedentary work and was therefore disabled pursuant to Medical Vocational Rule 201.12 in light of his age (54) at the date of onset, education and work history. Alternatively, we argued that our client was entitled to five additional months of benefits because even where the ALJ believed our client to be capable of light work, he was within six (6) months of 55 and a finding of disabled would be compelled by Medical Vocational Rule 202.04. The ALJ agreed with our alternative argument and awarded our client five additional months of benefits.

Westmoreland County, Jeannette, PA -- Social Security Disability (Diabetes)

QuatriniRafferty represented a 37 year-old individual from Jeannette, Pennsylvania suffering from insulin dependent diabetes and depression after she was denied on an application for social security disability benefits. Our attorneys represented the individual at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. We informed the ALJ that the client suffered from repeated bouts of ketoacidosis, which required three separate hospitalizations in one year, in addition to severe fatigue, muscle weakness, rotator cuff tendonitis, skin sores, blurred vision, and episodes of anxiety and depression. We argued that due to the many exertional complications our client was unable to perform full-time substantial gainful activity in the form of either her past work or any future work, regardless of the level of such future work. The ALJ agreed with our argument and awarded our client full social security disability benefits.

Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, PA -- Social Security Disability (Right Hip, Right Knee and COPD)

Our social security disability client from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania sustained a right femoral neck injury in his right hip, which required reconstructive surgery. Due to the limp created by the right hip injury, the client also experienced right knee problems, including accelerated degenerative arthritis. Additionally, our client had trouble breathing due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). Our client was denied benefits on application. An appeal was filed and a hearing was held in Pittsburgh. We successfully argued that according to the updated medical records we obtained and submitted, our client was entitled to benefits because due to all of his medical conditions, he could not perform his past work. Additionally, we argued that our client was only capable of sedentary work and was therefore disabled pursuant to Medical Vocational Rule 201.12 in light of his age (50) at the date of onset. The ALJ issued a fully favorable decision following the hearing.


Veterans Benefits / Disability Compensation

Veterans Disability Compensation -- Allegheny County

We represented an Army veteran who applied for an increase in their service-connected disability compensation for the right and left knee. She was denied on her application for an increase and QR helped the veteran file a VA Form 9. Prior to attending a hearing, QR created a questionnaire with the rating specifics for a knee impairment straight from the Schedule for Rating Disabilities - Part 4. This questionnaire was presented to, and completed by, the veteran's treating orthopedic surgeon. QR then attended a hearing before the Board of Veterans Appeals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at which time we reviewed the medical questionnaire with the Veterans Law Judge and took testimony. Following the hearing, a decision increasing the percentage for both the left and right knee was received, with retroactive pay granted back to 2009 (date of initial application for the increase).

QR Results: Veteran Awarded Service Connection for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by Board of Veterans Appeals

QR is pleased to announce that our appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals for an Army veteran with service in Vietnam resulted in a reversal of the initial Ratings Determination by the Department of Veterans Affairs (Pittsburgh Regional Office) and a full grant of service connection for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The Veteran applied on his own and was originally denied by the Pittsburgh Regional Office. Attorney Michael Quatrini appealed the unfavorable decision and worked with the Veteran's private psychiatrist to challenge the opinion of the VA examiner, who opined that the Veteran did not suffer from PTSD.

Attorney Quatrini attended a video teleconference with the Veteran in Pittsburgh, PA and was able to convince the Veterans Law Judge to accept the following facts:

  1. the Veteran engaged in combat during his service;
  2. the Veteran had a qualifying DSM-IV diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from his private psychiatrist;
  3. the Veteran's claimed stressors were more likely than not related to his combat service.

Further, the Veterans Law Judge also accepted our argument that a grant of service connection was proper for two reasons: First, the opinion of the private psychiatrist was simply more credible, and (2) the two medical opinions - one from the VA and one from the private psychiatrist - were in "relative equipoise", meaning that the two opinions essentially tied, and compelled a victory for the Veteran.

The BVA decision will now head back to the Pittsburgh Regional Office for further adjudication, including an updated evaluation and rating for the Veteran's PTSD.

Westmoreland County, Jeannette, PA -- Veterans Disability Compensation (GERD)

Our client applied, on his own, for an increased service-connected disability percentage for his GERD diagnosis. He was denied the increase after a Board of Veterans Appeals hearing in Pittsburgh, PA. Our veterans disability attorneys were retained and appealed his case to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington, D.C., where they successful argued that the Veterans Law Judge failed to consider specific symptoms diagnosed by the client's treating physicians. The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims remanded the claim back to the Board of Veterans Appeals for another hearing and review of the medical evidence.

Westmoreland County -- Veterans Benefits / Disability Compensation (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Our client from Westmoreland County applied for, and was denied, service-connection for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He had a previous unfavorable decision. The Army veteran served a year-long tour in Vietnam. QR helped the client appeal his Ratings Determination to the Regional Office in Pittsburgh. A hearing was held with a Decision Review Officer and which point testimony was taken from the veteran regarding his experiences and his treatment. Working with the client's treating psychiatrist, QR was able to attack the thoroughness and credibility of the examinations performed by the Veterans Administration. Following the hearing and submission of evidence, a favorable Statement of the Case was issued granting full-service connection. The veteran was awarded an ongoing disability percentage, and, retroactive benefits back to the day of his application.


Worker's Compensation

Beaver County, Beaver Falls, PA -- Workers' Compensation (Shoulder Injury / Firing Without Cause)

QuatriniRafferty represented a male in his late 20's who injured his right shoulder at work. The injury occurred as he was attempting to dislodge an air bag from the steering wheel of a large truck. Although the Employer, a trucking company, acknowledged his injury, they fired our client while he was working a modified / light duty job. QuatriniRafferty filed a Reinstatement Petition and presented our argument to the Workers' Compensation Judge in Aliquippa, PA that the trucking company fired our client without cause and, therefore, should reinstate his weekly workers' compensation checks. After several hearings of testimony, including the corroborating story of our client's former boss, the Workers' Compensation Judge determined that our client was wrongfully terminated and entitled to retroactive benefits dating back to the time of the firing, and, ongoing weekly checks.