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Archive for September, 2016

Animal Attacks on the Job and Workers’ Compensation

animal attacks on the job

When people think about workers’ compensation and the types of injuries or illnesses that precede filing a claim, they generally think of slip and fall accidents, automobile or heavy equipment accidents, or exposure to toxic or dangerous materials. But employees working in all types of industries are susceptible to an almost unlimited number of injury types, and a surprising number of workers’ compensation claims are filed as a result of animal attacks on the job as well as insect bites. These injuries can be very serious: in the United States there are roughly 800,000 dog bite injuries that require medical attention, and dozens of these have resulted in death. Workers who receive these types of injuries are in the unusual position of being able to file a workers’ compensation claim as well as to file a claim against the owner of the animal in question, or the property owner where the animal or insect injury occurred. If you have been hurt in this way, the experienced Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law can help.

Animal attacks and insect bites can lead to injuries and illnesses of all types. Not only can the wounds themselves be serious and disfiguring, but they can also lead to additional complications such as infections or viruses. Workers who are bitten or scratched by a cat may come down with cat scratch fever, and bites of all types can become infected. Rabies and Rocky Mountain spotted fever is also a fear. Employees are also at risk of insect bites: being bitten by a tick can cause Lyme disease, being bitten by a mosquito can cause Zika or West Nile virus, and many insects such as bees, hornets and ants inject a toxic venom that can cause serious pain and illness in humans.

Injuries and illnesses such as those described above can happen to all types of workers. Those most at risk include:

  • Veterinary professionals – these workers come into direct contact with animals, as well as with the insects that may be afflicting them.
  • Home health care personnel – these workers often enter the homes of patients who own animals that may attack. They also can be exposed to insects in those homes
  • Delivery people – Like home health care personnel, these employees are often required to come into contact with animals in a customer’s home. They are also exposed to insects such as bees, hornets, and mosquitos.
  • Construction and maintenance workers – These workers frequently encounter insect nests and wild animals such as rats, squirrels, birds, raccoons and opossums.
  • Teachers – Classroom pets can quickly turn on teachers who are handling animals for the children they are educating. Classrooms can also be homes to stinging and biting insects, and teachers can also be stung when outside on playgrounds or on field trips.

If you suffer an animal attack injury or illness on the job, remember that your expenses can be covered by workers’ compensation. Call Vanasse Law today to learn more and get assistance in filing your claim.

Types of Partial Disabilities for Workers’ Compensation

partial disabilities

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance policy that ensures that employees who are injured or made sick on the job receive compensation for their medical care, as well as for the wages that they may lose as a result of their medical condition.  In some cases, an employee’s injury may preclude them from being able to return to their original work responsibilities, but they may be able to take on another role at the same company. When this happens and the wages for the new role are lower than what the employee was originally receiving, the employee may be eligible to receive a benefit known as “partial disability”. Partial disability is frequently part of an order by a judge or an agreement that has been reached as part of an injured worker’s agreement with their employer. For assistance with filing for partial disability or to make sure that you receive the amount that you deserve, contact the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law today.

Partial disability benefits are not offered permanently. They amount of time that an injured worker is able to receive them is limited to a maximum of 500 weeks. It is important to know that this time period does not need to be uninterrupted: the payments can go on for a period of time longer than the nearly ten years that 500 weeks would represent if they were taken consecutively. Partial disability is designed to help make up for the loss of earnings capacity caused by the injury or illness that took place on the job. It is calculated at a rate of 2/3 of the difference between the employee’s original average weekly wage and the wage that they will be paid for their new role.

In addition to those benefits, there are other specific payments that can be provided to employees based on the type of injury that they have suffered on the job. These include:

  • Disfigurement Benefits: These are provided to employees who suffer disfigurement to the face, neck or head that are considered to be permanent, unsightly and serious. There is no specific dollar amount for this benefit: instead, it is expected that an agreement will be reached between the employee and their employer or employer’s insurer. The amount is not to exceed the dollar value of 275 weeks of pay. If no agreement is reached, the case can be brought by the employee to the Worker’s Compensation Board.
  • Specific Loss Benefits: These are specific dollar amounts assigned to various losses such as the loss of hearing or vision, or the loss of limbs or parts of limbs. These benefits are provided regardless of whether the employee returns to work or how much work time they miss.
  • Death Benefits: If an employee is killed on the job or by a job-related illness, benefits can be provided to their dependents.

For assistance in applying for any of these types of workers’ compensation benefits or for help in filing a claim, contact the Pennsylvania law firm of Vanasse Law today.

Can I Treat My Workers’ Compensation Injuries Using My Own Doctor?

work place injuriesWhen you suffer any kind of injury, your natural response is to seek attention from your physician. After all, that is the professional who knows your health history, and with whom you have established a relationship over the years. But if the injury that you have suffered is a workplace injury and you plan on filing a workers’ compensation claim, then there are certain rules that you need to be aware of and to follow. Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney acting as your advocate can help you avoid making mistakes that could keep you from getting the compensation that you need. The workers’ compensation attorneys from the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law are here to keep you on the right track so you can get the reimbursement that you deserve.

Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation laws define a work injury as an injury, disease or condition caused by a person’s job, and in order to get compensation for that injury, a worker needs to inform their employer about the condition within 21 days of it having occurred, or within 120 days at the absolute latest. The sooner you report an injury the better, even if you don’t think that you’ll need medical treatment. If you do need treatment, your company is allowed to insist that you are treated by a doctor from their company approved list for the first visit and for 90 days thereafter: once those 90 days are up, you can see whatever physician you choose. It is also important to note that not every company has this requirement in place. You only need to go to a company doctor if your company has provided you with a written list that consists of at least six designated health care providers and you have signed a document indicating that you have received the list and are aware of those requirements. If the company hasn’t provided this type of list, then you are free to select whatever physician you would like.

Workers’ compensation offers a number of benefits, including compensation for medical expenses and for wages lost as a result of the injury. The amount that you can receive in lost wages is based on the amount of money that you were making before the injury, and there are maximum amounts that can be paid, but most workers receive about 2/3s of their wage. Bills from doctors and medical facilities are paid based on a fee schedule, and bill the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company directly. The employee should not have to pay any fees.

Workers’ compensation is a valuable benefit for employees, but getting the benefits that you deserve can, unfortunately, be a difficult process. The attorneys at Vanasse Law will fight for your rights and make sure that everything is being done the right way. Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your case.