Workers' Compensation

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Long-Term Illness Due to Chemical Exposure in the Workplace

Which cancers can be caused by exposure to chemicals at the workplace?

We are all familiar with accidental workplace injuries -- falls, burns, fractures, and the like. If you are injured at your place of employment, you are entitled to workers’ compensation, and, in some particularly egregious instances of negligence, you may also be able to sue for premises liability. Less familiar personal injury cases do not revolve around momentary accidents, but develop over time due to contact with a chemical toxin.
Read more . . .

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Can My Employer Really Modify or Terminate My Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that covers injuries employees suffer while on the job. Workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania typically pays for medical expenses related to the injury. It may also cover short-term or long-term disability benefits and other injury-related costs.

Because employers pay for workers’ compensation coverage, they typically take a keen interest in how the benefits are being used and for what purpose. This includes the Read more . . .

Friday, April 21, 2017

Can I sue my employer if I slipped and fell at work?

Workers in Pennsylvania who slip and fall at work can suffer severe injuries including fractures, muscle sprains, head concussions, spinal injuries or even broken bones. These injuries can put them out of work for a while causing them to lose out on their wages.

Generally, when you are injured because of the negligence of someone, you have a cause of action against that person. You can claim full compensation for the injuries you sustained.  But does that person include your employer? Can you sue your employer for a workplace injury? The short answer is no but there are third parties you can sue and claim from.
Read more . . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

PA Supreme Court to Hear Franchisor Workers Compensation Case

Is a franchisor liable as a statutory employer for injuries sustained by a franchisee employee?

Until recently, the relationship between a franchisor and a franchisee meant that the franchisor was not a statutory employer and thus not liable for injuries sustained by a franchisee employee. Now the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is set to weigh in on the issue.

The case involves a franchisee employee who slipped and injured both his knees in a Philadelphia Saladworks restaurant and applied for Workers Compensation benefits from the franchisee. Since the franchisee did not have workers' compensation insurance, the injured worker also filed a claim against the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund (UEGF).

The fund then moved to join the franchisor as a statutory employer of the injured worker, but a Workers Compensation judge ruled that Saladworks, as a franchisor, was not the employer of the claimant.

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 . . .

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 . . .

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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