Montgomery & Bucks County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Pedestrian Accidents and Their Causes

What are the causes of pedestrian accidents?

Pedestrian accidents appear to be becoming more and more frequent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 4,735 pedestrian fatalities (14 percent of all traffic fatalities) in 2013. In addition, 150,000 pedestrians were injured severely enough to seek medical treatment during that same year. If you or a loved is a victim of a pedestrian accident, once you are able to, you should contact a first-rate personal injury attorney to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Read more . . .

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Occupational Hearing Loss Can Also Lead to Heart Damage

Are there other health hazards associated with occupational hearing loss?

We have long been aware that exposure to loud noise, whether at the workplace or elsewhere, can lead to serious hearing loss. Occupational hearing loss results from damage to the inner ear as a result of noise or vibrations experienced by workers in certain occupations. Examples of jobs that regularly expose their workers to excessive noise are those involving: construction, farming, factory work, airline ground maintenance, and any jobs where employees are exposed to loud music, machinery, crowds or loud voices. Interestingly, teachers and nursery school workers are number 10 on the list of employees exposed to the most noise.

It is troubling enough to know that your hearing is being constantly assaulted at the workplace, but recent research demonstrates that exposure to long-term loud noise is also associated with coronary heart disease.

Read more . . .

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Perils of Office Work

What are the common injuries associated with office work?

Some workplaces in Pennsylvania are known to be risky for workers such as coal mines, construction sites, manufacturing plants, refineries and factories. Many workers in these industries suffer injuries from falls, falling objects, equipment failures, explosions and exposure to hazardous substances. When it comes to office work, however, many people think the greatest risk is aggravation from coworkers and superiors. But work related injuries also frequently occur in offices. That's the bad news.

Read more . . .

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Spousal and Family Claims in Personal Injury Cases

If you suffer a personal injury does your family member have a claim?

If you were injured in an accident of any kind, you have no doubt seen the impact it has on your daily life. While it seems natural that you life should change, many are surprised that an injury can have a major impact on the lives of their family members as well. If a family member is seriously impacted by your personal injury, he or she may have a legal claim. 

Mostly reserved for spousal and parental relationships, the State of Pennsylvania allows family members to recover losses caused by the personal injuries you sustained.  One of these claims is called loss of consortium.

Read more . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Florida Businesses Fighting Back against Recent State Supreme Court Ruling on Workers' Comp

Why are Florida businesses fighting the recent state Supreme Court ruling on workers' comp?

Florida's state Supreme Court recently upset businesses in the state by striking down caps on attorneys' fees in workers' compensation cases. The businesses are rallying their forces to fight back, saying this ruling could cost business owners hundreds of millions of dollars.

The crux of the decision is that attorneys who choose to represent employees in workers' compensation disputes are not limited in what they can charge anymore. In the case the court considered, the lawyer had been paid less than $2 an hour (!) to fight for his client.

Two Opposing Views

While insurance companies are requesting the increase from state regulators, lobbyists for business interests are loudly objecting to what they say will be a 17 percent proposed hike in workers' comp insurance premiums.
Read more . . .

Monday, June 6, 2016

Workers’ Compensation Claims v. Personal Injury Lawsuits

What are the differences between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit?

If you are injured in a work related accident it can be difficult to decide who is to blame and who should be held accountable. Although most employers carry a workers’ compensation policy by law, it might not be appropriate for you to file a claim with their carrier. Under certain circumstances, it might be necessary to file a more traditional personal injury lawsuit instead. These types of actions are very different from one another. We will discuss the differences and when each is appropriate below.

Read more . . .

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Denies Compensation for Parking Lot Injury

A recent case in Pennsylvania points out some discrepancies in workers' compensation claims and distributions of benefits. Generally speaking, injuries in an employer's parking lot are not covered by workers' compensation if they occur as the worker is coming or going from the workplace, whether or not he or she has yet clocked in. Injuries that take place when an employee is engaged in employment activities, whether in the parking lot or while driving or at a work-related venue, are covered.

Proving Liability for Workers' Comp

In order to claim workers' compensation, the injury must have:

  • Occurred on the employer's premises
  • Occurred while the employee was on said premises as a requirement of employment
  • Occurred due to the condition of the premises or by some aspect of the employer's operation

The case in question, Quality Bicycle Products, Inc. v.

Read more . . .

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Worker’s Compensation Benefits for Good Samaritans

Will you be covered by worker’s compensation if you are injured rendering aid to an injured coworker?

Injuries at work are a common occurrence. You can be injured in any number of contexts including while you are actively engaged in your duties, while you are on break and even while you are preparing to begin or end your shift. Most of the time you will be covered by your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance. But, what if you are injured while going to the aid of one of your co-workers? Will you still be entitled for worker’s compensation benefits? The answer is that at this time it is unclear.  This very issue is the subject of a Pennsylvania case.
Read more . . .

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Shopping-Related Injuries: Who Is at Fault?

When are stores responsible for patrons' personal injuries on their premises?

Thousands of personal injury claims filed in the U.S. annually are the result of injuries that have occurred during shopping expeditions. Although most of us do not view shopping as a dangerous activity, injuries that take place in stores, shopping malls and other retail establishments can be severe, life-changing, and even, on occasion, fatal.

Types of Shopping Injuries

Many shopping injuries are minor and may involve small cuts or bruises, but others are serious and need emergency attention.
Read more . . .

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pennsylvania Announces Decrease in Workers' Compensation Rates

Recently, the Pennsylvania legislature opted to offer employers a decrease in workers’ compensation policy rates, while available benefits for injured workers will remain the same. According to a recent announcement by Governor Tom Wolf’s office, workers’ compensation insurance rates will drop .90 percent for businesses statewide, creating a potential savings of nearly $20 million for area employers.

In a statement by the Governor, "maintaining fair benefits for workers injured on the job is vital for Pennsylvania families’ financial well-being and peace of mind…. Sticking to this responsibility, while still reducing rates on a key cost, helps business owners continue to create and support jobs that pay in Pennsylvania.”

However, despite ever-increasing inflation and a cost-savings for employers, the statutory benefits available to a worker injured on the job remain the same. This reduction is actually the fifth consecutive workers’ compensation cut in just five years, saving employers an aggregate of $570 million over the past half-decade.

In a statement by the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, "the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Health & Safety Division provides employers with the most up-to-date and relevant safety information and benefits possible for employees... Having a certified workplace safety committee ensures safety knowledge and practices are disseminated while providing another way for employers to save money on workers’ compensation insurance costs.”

Available benefits for injured workers vary based on the severity of the injury and the length of time the employee must miss work. Generally, injured workers are entitled to medical care expenses and payment for lost wages (if left partially or permanently disabled). Specific loss benefits may be available if the injury resulted in partial or permanent loss of sight or hearing, the permanent loss of use of all or part of the thumb, finger, hand, arm, leg, foot or toe, or in a serious and permanent disfigurement of the head, face or neck.

If you are facing a difficult Pennsylvania workers’ compensation issue, contact a Pennsylvania attorney experienced in handling workers' compensation cases to guide you through the process and ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Injured Nursing Home Workers at Risk of Losing Jobs

Are nursing home workers more likely to be fired after an injury?

A recent study revealed that nursing home workers who are injured are more likely to lose their jobs within six months. In fact, injured workers are two times more likely to lose than jobs than those reporting no injuries. Moreover, workers who have suffered multiple injuries are twice as likely to quit their jobs in the next 6 months than non-injured workers.

New Work Environments

Generally, individuals are more prone to being injured within the first few months in a new work environment. In workplaces where there has been job turnover, as in the case with injured nursing home workers, the chances for another injury to occur increase. Federal and state regulations are designed to protect workers from being fired after being injured and provide workers' comp benefits. However, it appears that these laws are not being followed.

The study focused on 30 nursing homes across New England and found that:

  • 30 percent of workers had been injured at work and about a quarter were no longer employed at that job after 18 months
  • Injured workers were 30 percent more likely to no longer be in their jobs within six months of the injury, whether voluntarily or involuntarily
  • Individuals who were injured more than once were more likely to choose to leave their jobs than people with no injuries, while people injured only once were more likely to be fired

Reasons Why Injured Workers are Fired

While the study lacked data to explain why workers are being fired, some employers may believe that injured workers will no longer be able to perform their duties or are more likely to be injured again. In cases where employers have not put in place protections to reduce the occurrence of injuries, some nursing home workers may be more inclined to leave their jobs.

However, it is a fundamental right of all employees to work in a safe environment. Workers also have a right to be covered by workers' compensation insurance, receive medical treatment and to file a workers' comp claim without fear of reprisal or harassment from an employer. If you have been injured at work in Pennsylvania, you should consult with an attorney who has expertise in workers' compensation filings and proceedings.

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