Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Community Leader: David S. DeRose, Esq.

Great to see QR attorney David S. DeRose featured in the Fall 2013 edition of the The Pittsburgh Foundation's FORUM newsletter.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Nursing Home Concerns

Americans are living longer than ever. One result is that there are now nearly 1.6 million nursing home residents in the United States. In Pennsylvania alone, there are approximately 80,000 people living in nursing homes.

If your loved one is admitted to a nursing home, personal care home or assisted living facility and you have concerns about their care, the following can be signs of neglect:

  • the development of bedsores
  • broken bones 
  • unexplained injuries
  • malnutrition or dehydration
  • unexpected or unexplained death

There are many resources available to assist you with questions. Concerns can be voiced to these entities:

  • local office of the Area Agency on Aging at, or by calling 800-989-8137 for information and other resources.
  • local office of the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Ombudsman at, or by calling 717-783-8975 for information and other resources.
  • A complaint can also be made to the PA Department of Health at, or by calling 877-724-3258.

Finally, concerned family and friends can join the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, a national group dedicated to improving nursing home care,

In Pennsylvania, the courts recognize nursing home neglect and permit the filing of a lawsuit. If you have a question about this type of legal action, call our office and we can refer you to someone who can help.

Greensburg      Pittsburgh      Latrobe


Monday, April 1, 2013

Unemployment Compensation Basics

The unemployment compensation (UC) system is designed to provide a short-term "safety net" of benefits which provide income when you lose your job through no fault of your own. 

Generally speaking, to be eligible for UC benefits, you must be able and available to work. The determination of whether you are eligible for benefits is a three step process.

The first step is to determine whether you are financially eligible for benefits. This step generally involves two questions. The first question is whether you earned enough wages to qualify. Your earnings are reviewed using your "base year". The base year is generally the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the date you applied for benefits. The base year is different for individuals who separated from their employment due to a compensable work-related injury. The amount of benefits you are entitled to will be based on the highest of the four quarterly wages. 

The second question is whether you have 16 or more "credit weeks." Credit weeks are defined as weeks in your base year in which you earned $50 or more. If you have less than 16 credit weeks, you are not eligible for benefits. The UC office will perform these calculations and issue a financial determination.  The second step is to determine whether you are eligible to receive benefits based on the circumstances of your job loss. There are primarily two reasons for losing a job: either you quit or you are fired. Some people have the misconception that if they quit their job they are not entitled to benefits. This is simply untrue. 

Under certain circumstances, you are able to quit your job and subsequently receive benefits. For example, you are eligible for benefits if you quit due to a health problem which affects your ability to perform your job, as long as you have given your employer an opportunity to offer you suitable work. This involves a discussion between you and your employer prior to quitting. If your employer has no accommodations or other suitable work, you may quit and be eligible for benefits.

On the other hand, if you were fired from your job, you still may be entitled to benefits. I have represented people who have been fired for many different reasons, such as violating an employment rule or policy, unsatisfactory work performance, or committing too many mistakes at work. Just because you were fired from your job doesn't mean that you are not entitled to benefits. In this type of situation, an employer has to prove that you committed "willful misconduct." This can only be determined on a case-by-case basis depending upon your circumstances. You may have particular reasons to justify your conduct. For example, if you are fired from your job as a delivery person for having too many vehicle accidents, you may still be entitled to benefits. You might be able to prove that the accidents were truly accidents, and not intentional nor deliberate.

The third step involves maintaining your eligibility for benefits after you begin to receive them. If you are both financially eligible and eligible based on the circumstances surrounding your loss of employment, you will begin to receive benefits one week after you apply for benefits. Upon receiving benefits, you must continue to be able and available to work. You are not entitled to benefits if you are not physically able to work at any job due to medical reasons. You must also be available to work and, for example, not be on vacation or in jail. In addition, you must report your current employment status to the UC office every other week.

If the UC office determines that you are not eligible for benefits, you have a limited time to appeal that decision. On appeal, a referee will hold a hearing to review the circumstances of your claim based upon testimony from both you and your employer. Each party has the right to be represented by an attorney. After the hearing, the referee will issue a new determination regarding your eligibility for benefits.

If you are contemplating quitting your employment, call me at 724-552-2745 before you quit to discuss your circumstances and how to preserve your right to benefits. If you have already been denied benefits, I can help you appeal your claim and represent you at your hearing.

Attorney James A. Horchak represents people who have been denied unemployment compensation benefits. If you find yourself out of work, you may be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. In order to receive benefits, you must apply either online at or call the Unemployment Compensation Service Center at 1-888-313-7284.


2013 Notice of Rate Adjustment for Record Reproduction

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Making Sense of Your Auto Policy

By Joyce Novotny-Prettiman, Esq.

We have heard clients comment that they never really read their auto insurance information prior to their motor vehicle collision. Unfortunately, after you are in an accident, it is too late to make sure you have the coverage you need. Take just a little bit of time to do some "preventive maintenance." Here is our advice about the coverage you should have in place to protect you and your family.


This is the most important choice when selecting your coverage. Always choose the full tort option which provides the most complete protection. If you do not choose full tort, you give up important legal rights. This holds true even if an accident is not your fault.

The person who makes the tort selection binds the entire household and everyone covered under the policy. Selecting full tort is "easy." There are no forms to sign to select it. You actually have to sign a form to opt out of your rights under full tort.


Though you must purchase at least $5,000 of medical coverage, we recommend at least double that amount for medical coverage, or "first party coverage" as it is called in Pennsylvania. If you do not have health insurance, you may want to purchase even more coverage which will pay medical bills if you or a family member are hurt in a collision.


If you are hurt in an accident and not able to work, wage loss coverage will keep money coming in to pay your bills while you are off work. If you do not have this coverage, you must wait to get your wage loss covered by the person at fault for the collision. This process can take a long time because the wage loss payment is part of a one-time, lump-sum payment. Though Pennsylvania does not require that you carry this coverage, most people who become involved in an accident are thankful they purchased it.


Just like wage loss coverage, this coverage is not required under Pennsylvania law - BUT you do not want to go without it. This important coverage protects you and your family if you are hurt by a person who has little or no insurance. To make this coverage even more valuable, you want to "stack" uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If you have several cars in your household, you can collect this type of coverage from another car in your household. This coverage may also provide protection even if you would be involved in an accident that does not involve your auto.

Full Tort + Wage Loss Coverage + stacked UM/UIM coverage = the best protection for you and your family.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Military Service Records: How Can I Get a Copy?

Many veterans, as they left the service, never received a copy of their military service records, including treatment records.  These documents are very important as they can reveal medical treatment for in-service conditions or disabilities.  They often times serve as the smoking gun for winning a service-connected benefit.

Most veterans can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and other military and medical records by requesting them online at the website of the U.S. National Archives.
Go to and click on "Veterans' Service Records", and follow the instructions.
OR GO DIRECTLY TO the Military Service Records page of the National Archives at:

Serving veterans in Pennsylvania, and surrounding states, from our offices in Greensburg, Pittsburgh, and atrobe

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Estate Planning in a Technological Age

When we sit down to discuss who will benefit from what we have accumulated during our lifetime, we start with creating an accurate summary of our assets and our debts. We talk about houses, vehicles, bank accounts, pension and retire- ment accounts, life insurance, investments and other things of value that belong to us. 

We also discuss our mortgages, car payments, personal loan payments, Visa and Mastercard bills and other similar debts. But what we sometimes forget to address are things that might not have a piece of paper that evidences their existence.

What kind of things do I mean? For instance, many people have bank accounts, savings accounts or certificates of deposit in financial institutions that are not "brick and mortar" facilities. We typically think of visiting our local bank branch but don’t consider online banks. As with so many things we find online, these banks require account numbers, PIN numbers and access codes. In a complete estate plan, it would be imperative for the representative of the estate to know that an account exists and other identifying information about the account. Without that information, access will be denied and it will then take additional time and effort to gain access.

There should also be some instruction left as to what to do with things like email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other similar online social networking accounts. These accounts certainly contain a great deal of personal information and need to be appropriately terminated at the time someone dies. Your spouse, child or other trusted family member who is going to represent your estate at the time of your death should have access to online information. This information would allow them to terminate a Facebook account, resolve any issues that might exist with purchasing or selling items through eBay, transfer online photos, records and files and finalize other similar activities.

Our firm has attorneys that understand the technological issues that face us in this digital asset age. We welcome the opportunity to help you make sure that you have properly and completely addressed all of the matters that will exist at the time of your death. We take many of these conveniences for granted in our day-to-day existence; however, the conveniences and the benefits that technology created for us may also create difficulties and problems for those we leave behind.

David S. DeRose is an associate at the firm and concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning and administration, family law, real estate and zoning.  David is also the current President of the Westmoreland County Bar Association.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Quatrini Rafferty Debuts Latrobe Office

QuatriniRafferty is pleased to announce the opening of our Latrobe office at 816 Ligonier Street in downtown Latrobe, which is at the corner of Main and Ligonier Streets. The new office is situated on the ground floor of the former Mellon Bank building, which is across the street from the Latrobe Art Center. Many of the architectural features of the space have been restored. One of the most interesting features of the restoration is the original bank vault that has been cleaned and preserved. Appointments can be made at the Latrobe office by calling either 724-837-0080 or 724-539-2841.  We look forward to using this additional office to accommodate our clients in Westmoreland, Indiana, Cambria, Somerset, Blair, and other counties east of Greensburg.

 Want to see additional photos?  Check out our Newsletter:   Quatrini Rafferty Latrobe Office