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Archive for December, 2016

PTSD and Workers’ Compensation Claims for First Responders

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In 2015, Fitch & Associates’ Ambulance Service Manager Program conducted a research project aimed at determining the prevalence and severity of EMS provider stress in the workplace. A survey of more than 4,000 participants revealed that 86% of those who had responded had experienced what was defined as “stress we undergo either as a result of a single critical incident that had a significant impact… or the accumulation of stress over a period of time.” More of a concern, thirty-seven percent of those who responded indicated that they had thought about committing suicide, and 6.6 percent had actually made an attempt. Post-traumatic stress (PTSD) is a very real issue for our police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, as they all too often witness horrific events or their aftermath. If you are a first responder who is one of the many experiencing symptoms typical of PTSD, the attorneys at the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law want you know your rights regarding PTSD and workers’ compensation claims for first responders.

As a police officer, EMT or firefighter, you have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim for a physical injury, a mental condition, or both. Sometimes an accident that causes a physical injury will result in post traumatic stress, and workers’ compensation benefits will cover your expenses and lost wages that result from both.

There are a number of symptoms of PTSD, and not everybody will experience the condition in the same way. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Flashbacks of the precipitating event
  • Depression
  • Emotional detachment
  • Irritability
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • High level of anxiety or fear

You may also experience many of the physical symptoms that are often associated with stress, including headache, fatigue, high blood pressure or ulcers.  Workers’ compensation benefits cover both physical and mental conditions, but it is important that you are properly diagnosed and follow all of the correct procedures in filing your workers’ compensation claim.

First responders who believe that they may be suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome need to speak to an experienced PTSD workers’ compensation attorney. This is because in the state of Pennsylvania, the presentation of a mental injury as a compensable claim sometimes requires a greater burden of proof than is the case when a physical injury or physical stimulus is present. What the state Workers’ Compensation Board needs to see is that the working condition was objectively abnormal rather than subjective or perceived – they want to make sure that the situation isn’t simply that an employee is complaining that their boss has been consistently mean to them and claiming that it caused a mental injury. As a first responder,  you are exposed to unpredictable events on a daily basis, and if it causes you a mental injury, then you deserve workers’ compensation benefits. he best way to ensure that your claim properly communicates this is with the help of a knowledgeable lawyer from Vanasse Law.

Work Injuries That Fall Outside the Scope of Workers’ Compensation

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Getting seriously hurt on the job is a nightmare scenario for most American workers. Nobody wants to face the repercussions of an injury that could conceivably keep them off of the job, whether temporarily or over a long period of time. Neither do they want to go through the hassle of filing a claim for workers’ compensation for their medical expenses or lost wages. But accidents or injuries happen, and it is important that those who are entitled to workers’ compensation not only know the rights and benefits that workers’ compensation provides, but also what additional benefits may be available that fall outside of the scope of workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a form of no fault insurance that provides injured workers with the ability to file a claim for compensation from their employers and their employers’ insurers to pay for their medical expenses, some of their lost wages and other expenses, all without having to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. But for those work injuries that fall outside the scope of workers’ compensation, an experienced attorney will be your most valuable resource for making sure that you get all of the reimbursement and compensation to which you are entitled. If you’ve been injured on the job, call the workers’ compensation attorneys at Vanasse Law today.

There are specific injuries and acts of negligence that provide injured workers with additional opportunities for seeking compensation beyond workers’ compensation benefits. These include:

  • Illnesses or injuries caused by exposure to toxic substances on the job. These can include materials like asbestos, harmful chemicals, radioactive materials and other items. Rather than falling under the umbrella of workers’ compensation, these types of injuries would fall into the category of toxic torts.
  • Injuries caused by failures or defects caused by products that have been designed or manufactured in a faulty way, without the manufacturer having provided warnings against the dangers posed by using the equipment.
  • Injuries that are a result of intentional acts on the part of the employer. If the injuries result from intentional acts of fellow workers or third parties that are present on the worksite, those individuals or the companies for whom they work may be held liable.
  • Injuries that are a result of negligence on the part of a third party. This may include contractors or their employees who are working onsite, equipment manufacturers, those responsible for providing maintenance for equipment that is used on the job site, and others.

If you have been injured on the job and your injury requires medical attention, time away from the job, rehabilitation, or long-term or permanent disability, then you need to protect your rights to file for workers’ compensation as well as any compensation that you may be entitled to beyond what is provided by workers’ compensation. For experienced legal counsel, contact the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law to learn more about your rights.

Construction Accidents and Workers’ Compensation

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No matter what occupation or industry you work in, there is always the risk of being injured on the job – that’s why workers’ compensation is such an important safety net for American workers, and especially for those who work in construction. Of all of the environments where accidents can take place, construction sites are among the most dangerous, and workers risk serious injury and even death each and every day. If you were injured in a construction accident, workers’ compensation can provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses required for your treatment, as well as any rehabilitation you may need and compensation for a portion of the wages that you lose as a result of treatment or recovery. In cases of long term disability, workers’ compensation can also provide for your needs. The Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law is dedicated to ensuring that those who have been injured in construction accidents are able to navigate the challenges of Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation process with a minimum of difficulty. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Workers’ compensation is a benefit that allows injured workers to receive compensation for their injuries. The process is designed to be no-fault, with employers getting the benefit of not being subject to personal injury claims and in exchange providing payment for their employees’ needs. Unfortunately, the process can quickly become adversarial if the employer or their insurance company makes the decision to deny a claim submitted by their worker. That is just one reason why you need the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Beyond providing you with knowledgeable assistance with the documentation and presentation of your claim, a workers’ compensation lawyer will also be able to carefully review the circumstances of your construction accident to determine whether others may be held liable for your injury. This can include third parties such as contractors, construction site owners, coworkers and equipment manufacturers whose negligence or defective products may have contributed to or caused your accident. If the attorneys at Vanasse Law believe that there are others who played a significant role in your injury and who should be held liable, we will help you pursue compensation from them in court to ensure that you get the justice that you deserve.

When an employee is injured in a construction accident, the impact can be devastating for them and for their family. Not only are their medical issues and expenses that need to be dealt with, but also the impact of losing time and wages at work. Workers’ compensation is there to provide you with the assistance that you need, but when your employer or their insurance company doesn’t cooperate with or agree to the validity of your claim, you need an experienced and knowledgeable advocate. Contact the attorneys at Vanasse Law today to learn more about how we can provide you with legal counsel that makes a difference.

 

Are Workers’ Compensation Settlements Given Lump-Sum or in Installments?

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When you have been injured at work and file a workers’ compensation claim, there are a few possible resolutions of your case. Your employer may agree to pay the claim without any type of litigation or appeals process, for as long as the need exists. Alternatively, your employer or their insurance company may deny your claim, and this can lead to you filing an appeal. The process of arguing for the validity of your claim and the benefits that you are entitled to can be long and involved, and can end in either a decision made by the workers’ compensation board or in a settlement offer from your employer’s insurance company.  Workers’ compensation settlements are usually paid out in a lump sum to the person who has been injured, and because lump sums are generally large amounts, it can be tempting to agree to an offer. It is important that you work with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney who can advise you about whether the offer that you have received is reasonable and fair, or whether you should continue to fight for the rights to which you are entitled. At Vanasse Law, we are experienced workers’ compensation attorneys who are dedicated to ensuring that you get the benefits that you deserve.

There are a number of different factors that can impact the amount of a settlement offer made by your employer or their insurer, but the most important factor is the validity and strength of the case that you have filed on your own behalf. The more straightforward your evidence proving that you have suffered an injury in the workplace, the more likely it is that your claim would win within the system, and the more likely it is that the insurer will offer to settle. The insurance companies do a calculation that is based upon what will cost them the least amount of money – arguing against you in court or offering you a settlement that will fall under the amount that the amount that the workers’ compensation board is likely to agree that you deserve. One way or another the insurer is going to try to get out of the situation with the lowest possible payout, and that is why it is so important for you to have an experienced advocate working on your behalf and providing you with sound legal advice.

Workers who have been injured on the job in the state of Pennsylvania have the right to settle their workers’ compensation claim rather than receiving weekly or biweekly benefits through the system, and though your employer’s insurance company is always likely to offer a settlement with a lump payment instead of working through the claims process, it is important to remember that in doing so they will offer an amount that is lower than what you would likely be awarded in court.  Contact the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys from Vanasse Law to ensure that you are well represented and get the benefits that you deserve.