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Archive for October, 2015

Have You Been Injured in A Ladder Accident? Get Ladder Injury Compensation with The Help of an Attorney

The old adage about something being “as easy as falling off a ladder” is more true than people realize, as falling off of a ladder is one of the country’s number one causes of unintentional injury. In fact, of falls that end in fatalities, almost half involve falling off of a ladder, and among injuries that occur in the workplace, one in five involve ladders.  Working in construction is well established as one of the most dangerous occupations, and in construction alone, over eighty percent of falls that require a trip to the emergency room have involved a ladder. If you are a worker who has been injured in a ladder accident, then you may be entitled to compensation to help you recover and rehabilitate. The Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law is dedicated to helping those who have been injured in workplace accidents, and we are here to help you through the entire process.

According to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the year 2011 alone there were over 15,000 nonfatal work-related ladder fall injuries, and those only represent those that employers reported and that involved more than a day away from work. The agency indicated that in total there were 34,000 of these injuries treated in the nation’s emergency rooms, and most of them were preventable.  The occupational groups that were most heavily represented among these were construction and mining, followed by employees involved in installation, maintenance and repair work, and the highest amount of fatalities were found among companies that had the fewest employees. Of particular concern were the ladder injuries that involved the head, which were implicated in roughly half of the ladder fall fatalities.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to ladder injury incidents, and many of them are a result of improper or insufficient training on ladder inspection and use. Many ladder accidents are a result of:

  • Ladders that are broken or defective
  • Improperly/irregularly spaced ladder steps
  • Ladders that are improperly secured
  • Ladders that are not extended to the correct height

No matter the reason behind your ladder accident injury, employees that are injured in workplace accidents are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which generally include payment of medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses for such items as crutches and medications, and approximately two thirds of wages lost during treatment and recovery. In some cases there are also specific loss benefit available due to the loss of a limb or bodily function, and if your accident is the result of negligence on the part of a third party other than your employer or a co-worker, it may also be appropriate for you to pursue a separate claim against those responsible.

At the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law, we are solely dedicated to serving the needs of injured workers, including those who suffer injuries as a result of ladder fall accidents. Call us today to set up an appointment to see how we can help you get the compensation that you deserve.

Learn more about Ladder Injury Compensation HERE.

Workplace Accident Statistics in Pennsylvania – How A Workers’ Comp Lawyer Can Help You

We spend roughly one third of our lives at our workplace, so it is important for us to feel as secure and confident in our safety and well being when we are there as we do when we are in our own homes. Unfortunately, workplace accident statistics in Pennsylvania reveal that for many of us, our employment poses serious risks. No matter whether we are working in white collar office environments or in more notoriously risky construction or manufacturing sites, accidents can happen. Though some workplace injuries may amount to nothing more than bumps and bruises from which we can quickly return to work, others require extensive medical intervention, rehabilitation, and time away from the job. Some even result in death. Nearly all workers in Pennsylvania who are injured on the job are entitled to Workers’ Compensation, an insurance program that pays for medical expenses, lost wages and other benefits, regardless of where the fault for the accident lies, but sometimes this compensation can be denied by the insurer or employer. If you have been denied or workers’ compensation does not fully cover your injuries a Workers’ Comp lawyer from Vanasse Law can help.

Pennsylvania workplace accident statistics can be eye opening, as they shine a light on the extent of injuries suffered as well as under what circumstances they occur. Though many minor injuries — including many of those that require care by a health care provider or treatment in an emergency room setting — are not included in the records collected by the state, employers are required to report injuries and illnesses that result in loss of time beyond a day or shift of occurrence, as well as those that result in death or permanent impairment. Based upon information released by the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation in 2014, workplace fatalities are on the increase, and so are work injuries reported in the state.  Here are just some of the workplace accident statistics for the state in 2014:

  • There were 177,316 work-related injuries or illnesses reported
  • The majority of injuries occurred in occupations relating to trade, transportation and utilities, with a total of 42,496 injuries reported
  • There were 10,855 injuries reported in the construction industry, with 36.8% of those injuries involving sprains or strains

In addition to information regarding types of workplace injuries and the industries in which they take place, those who are injured should understand that only about one third of workers’ compensation claims are approved, and much of this is a result of the claim being improperly prepared. Having an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney by your side and helping you through the process is the best way to maximize your chances of getting the compensation that you deserve. Call Vanasse Law to set up an appointment to discuss your situation and see how we can help.

Learn more about Workplace Accident Statistic HERE.

What Is the Purpose of OSHA? Protecting Workers in Lancaster, PA

As an employee, you have likely seen OSHA posters around your workplace, or perhaps you’ve heard coworkers or employee handbooks talk about OSHA regulations, but do you really know what OSHA is, what it does, or what its purpose is?  OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which has been federal law since it was passed into law on 1970 under the administration of President Richard M. Nixon. The law’s purpose is to make sure that employers provide their employees with a work environment that is safe. It does this by providing specific guidelines and regulations for what compliance means.

In the state of Pennsylvania, job sites are required to follow federal OSHA regulations because the state does not have its own workplace safety and health standards. The OSHA regulations protect employees at every level, from owners and officers to hourly workers. It also protects the family members of owners. If you are an employee, OSHA’s protections mean that your employer is required to keep your jobsite free of hazards, as well as to keep you safe in locations where you are required to go for your job as well.  Despite the intentions of the law, violations of OSHA laws occur frequently. If you have suffered a workplace injury involving an OSHA regulation, the attorneys at Vanasse Law can help. Contact us today to see how the existing of an OSHA violation can provide you with leverage as you seek compensation for your injuries.

Despite the fact that OSHA standards are well publicized and have been in place for years, violations and failures to maintain appropriate levels of protection occur frequently. Certain violations are more commonly seen than others, and failure to adhere to these standards can lead to serious injuries of employees in the workplace. The ten OSHA standards that employers most frequently fail to meet are:

  • Fall protection
  • Hazard communication
  • Scaffolding
  • Respiratory protection
  • Powered industrial trucks
  • Lockout/Tagout
  • Ladders
  • Electrical wiring
  • Machine guarding
  • Electrical systems design

Failure to make sure that these standards are maintained invite preventable injuries and illnesses. Though Workers’ Compensation benefits are not dependent upon negligence, exceptions are sometimes made when an OSHA violation was present, allowing an injured worker to file for additional damages under a third party claim. When it can be proven that an employer was aware of an OSHA violation and willfully chose not to address it, then those injured as a result of the violation may be able to sue for pain and suffering, and even for punitive damages.

Employers are able to mount aggressive defenses of their lack of action to address OSHA compliance issues, so it is important that if you are filing a claim in conjunction with an OSHA violation, you have an attorney that has extensive familiarity with OSHA and Workers’ Compensation laws in Lancaster. The law firm of Vanasse Law is dedicated exclusive to helping those who are injured or made ill in workplace accidents. Call us today for more information on how we can help.

Learn more about OSHA HERE.

How a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help Get You Wage Loss Benefits for Partial Disability

Work injuries can be life changing and often have a long-term impact on your ability to earn a living.  When a work-related injury results in the injured worker being unable to return to work in any capacity, or results in a complete loss of earnings, the injured worker is entitled to total temporary disability benefits (TTD).  Generally, these benefits will be two-thirds (2/3) of the injured workers’ average weekly gross earnings at the time of injury, subject to whatever State maximum compensation rate is in effect as of the date of the injury.

Separate from TTD benefits, there are scenarios in which the injured worker will be entitled to partial temporary disability (PTD) wage loss benefits.  The typical scenario occurs after the injured worker has returned to work, typically with restrictions, following an injury and is earning less than he/she was earning at the time of the injury.  Generally, the injured worker is entitled to PTD benefits at a rate of two-thirds (2/3) of whatever the difference is of the pre-injury average gross earnings and the post-return to work earnings.  A common scenario often seen involves an injured worker who was working overtime prior to an injury, and then returns to work with restrictions but is unable to perform the overtime due to the work injury restrictions.  While the injured workers’ hourly rate after returning to modified work may be the same as before the injury, there is still a loss of earnings due to the loss of the overtime.  Determining whether or not a worker is entitled to partial disability benefits and making sure that those benefits are properly calculated can be very complex and confusing.  It is essential that you consult with a certified workers’ compensation attorney to make sure that you are receiving all of the benefits that you are entitled to.

Frequently, if your employer does not have modified duty work for you to return to, the employer and/or insurance company may embark upon an effort to attempt to establish that you have an earning capacity.  This involves a vocational expert hired by the employer/insurance company preparing a Labor Market Survey and trying to establish that there are jobs in your labor market that fit within your medical restrictions.  If the employer/insurance company successfully presents this Labor Market Survey evidence to a Workers’ Compensation Judge, this can result in a Judge concluding that you have an earning capacity and reducing your benefits to partial disability.  Injured workers absolutely have a right to contest the Labor Market Survey before the Workers’ Compensation Judge.  If you have been injured and are receiving wage loss benefits and the employer/insurance company wants you to submit to a Vocational Evaluation/Labor Market Survey process you should absolutely consult with a certified workers’ compensation attorney to help you navigate that process and make sure that your rights are fully protected.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides that an employer/insurance company may obtain an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE) if you have received one hundred four (104) weeks of TTD benefits, and have reached maximum medical improvement.  The examination is performed by a physician certified by the American Medical Association (AMA).  The purpose of the examination is to assess your percentage level of impairment as a result of your work injury.  Based on the results of the Impairment Rating your benefit status could be changed from TTD to partial disability status.  It is important to be aware that you do have the right to challenge an Impairment Rating Evaluation.  If you are receiving wage loss benefits and your employer/insurance company request that you undergo an IRE you should immediately consult with a certified workers’ compensation attorney to make sure that your rights are protected.

Finally it is important to be aware that partial disability benefits (whether as a result of an actual return to work, Labor Market Survey or Impairment Rating Evaluation) have a five hundred (500) week limit for the duration of the claim.  Once the five hundred (500) weeks of partial disability have been exhausted your benefits terminate automatically by operation of law.  Furthermore, wage loss benefits can be subject to various reductions or offsets.  Again, if you have been injured at work and are receiving wage loss benefits it is essential that you consult with a certified workers’ compensation attorney to make sure that your rights are protected completely.

Learn more about Wage Loss Benefits for Partial Disability HERE.

How a Lawyer Can Help You Receive the Workers’ Compensation Medical Benefits You Deserve

Nobody goes to work anticipating being injured on the job, but accidents in the workplace are an unfortunate fact of life, no matter what industry you work in.  If you have been injured in a work place accident or have been diagnosed with an illness that was caused by your job, then your employer and/or their workers’ compensation insurance company is obligated to provide you with compensation for your loss of earnings and payment of your work-related medical expenses.  If your insurance company is refusing to pay for your work-related medical expenses you should consult with an experienced, certified workers’ compensation attorney from Vanasse Law in Lancaster County, PA.

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides that an employer/insurance company is responsible for payment of work-related medical expenses, as long as those expenses are deemed reasonable and necessary for treatment of the work-related injury.  Your employer/insurance company can be responsible for payment of the medical expenses even if you do not experience a loss of earnings as a result of your work-related injury.

Additionally, your employer/insurance company cannot unilaterally stop paying medical benefits on your behalf once a claim has been accepted.  An employer/insurance company can only stop payment of the medical expenses if you have agreed to settle your claim, a Workers’ Compensation Judge orders that they are no longer responsible or they have successfully filed a Utilization Review (UR), which determines that the treatment is no longer reasonable and necessary.  If you have an accepted claim and the employer/insurance company have been paying for your medical benefits but have now stopped then you should immediately consult with a certified workers’ compensation attorney from Vanasse Law to make sure that your rights are being protected.  If the insurance company wants to settle your workers’ compensation claim, is litigating to try and stop the claim has filed Utilization Reviews which have stopped the payment of medical expenses then you should consult with a certified workers’ compensation attorney from Vanasse Law as soon as possible to make sure that your rights are fully and completely protected.

Learn more about Workers’ Compensation Medical Benefits HERE.