Montgomery & Bucks County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Friday, June 6, 2014

PA court rules in favor of deceased worker's claim

Employers are not always cooperative with workers' compensation claims and sometimes try to create barriers for an injured employee seeking recovery. One way of doing this is to claim that the employee's injury is not work-related. In cases where the injury clearly took place while the employee was on the job, the argument may be that the employee was not technically acting as an employee at the time of the injury.

This was the argument made by a Pittsburgh gas station when a workers' compensation claim was filed on behalf of a manager who was injured back in 2009 by a robber. According to sources, the manager tried to stop a robber who attempted to steal money from the cash register. In the process of doing so, he ended up with a traumatic brain injury which left him in a coma for a number of months before he died in April of 2010. 

Prior to the man's death, he was awarded workers' compensation benefits, but that decision was appealed by the employer, who argued that he was not acting within the "scope of employment" at the time of his injury. That argument was adopted on appeal, but later reversed by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, which ruled that the man should have been awarded benefits prior to his death since it wouldn't make sense to say that a gas station manager has abandoned his job duties in pursuing an individual who attempted to steal from his store. Unfortunately, the employee is not alive to celebrate the victory.

This is a good reminder of the need for injured employees to be aware of the possibility of resistance from an employer regarding a workers' compensation claim. When this happens, working with an experienced attorney can help ensure their rights are protected. 

Source: Business Insurance, "Gas station manager hurt during robbery due workers comp benefits: Court," May 29, 2014.


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