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    Archive for February, 2022

    How Do Prior Injuries Affect Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

    What is a prior injury?

    A prior, or pre-existing, injury is one that already existed before the new, current injury occurred. It typically refers to an injury to the same body part or area. 

    What is “aggravation of a pre-existing condition?”

    It is often the case that a prior injury is aggravated at work. This is known as aggravation of a pre-existing condition. For example, if an employee already has a herniated disc, lifting and moving large boxes at work will likely aggravate that pre-existing condition. 

    Is coverage available if there was a prior injury?

    Under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws, it is possible for an employee to obtain coverage for aggravation of a pre-existing condition. The aggravation itself is viewed as a new injury. The key to obtaining coverage for the aggravation of a prior injury is the ability to show that the aggravation occurred in relation to the employee’s course of employment. A Lancaster workers comp lawyer can assist injured employees in proving this connection.

    Another critical factor to note is that it is not required that the prior injury has been caused in the course of employment. For example, if an employee suffers a back injury in a car accident while off-duty, and that injury is later aggravated by their employment, they may be eligible for benefits under workers’ compensation insurance.

    How do employers try to avoid paying for aggravated prior injuries?

    One common argument among insurance companies and employers to avoid having to provide coverage to a newly aggravated pre-existing condition is that they were never made aware of the prior injury. However, Pennsylvania law does not require that the employer have been made aware of the pre-existing injury for the employee to receive the workers’ compensation benefits. When an employer or insurance company denies your claim for this or any other reason, you need to consult with a Lancaster workers comp lawyer.

    What are some examples of prior injuries that can be aggravated, causing a new injury?

    Some pre-existing injuries tend to be more easily aggravated than others. This includes injuries sustained to the legs, back, shoulders, and hands. While these injuries can occur in many different occupations, they occur more often in the service industry, production industry, and transportation and material moving industry. 

    Who do I contact about obtaining coverage for an aggravated prior injury?

    When you have been denied coverage for an injury that is an aggravation of a pre-existing injury, it is important to have a Lancaster workers comp lawyer on your side. At Vanasse Law, LLC, we are a firm that advocates for our clients so they can receive the compensation they are owed. We understand the arguments insurance carriers use to deny coverage, and we will help you overcome them. You may contact us by calling 717-397-1010 or via our contact page.

    Answering Your Pandemic-Related Questions: Are Remote Workers Covered by Workers’ Comp?

    The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across the world, and Pennsylvania was no exception. Fear of the virus spreading resulted in many workers no longer commuting to the office or other worksite. Instead, working remotely from home became the norm for many. Now, two years later, many workers are still working remotely, and the role workers’ compensation plays for them has become a hot topic. A Lancaster workers compensation attorney explains how coverage in these situations is determined.  

    How Coverage is Determined

    It is possible for workers to have injuries they sustained while working remotely covered under their workers’ compensation policy. However, this depends on several important factors. 

    • Is the injured party an employee, and 
    • Did the accident occur during the course of employment?

    If your answer to both of these questions is “yes,” then you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. 

    The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act

    The Pennsylvania Workmen’s Compensation Act (Act) has been around since 1915, although there have been various amendments since that time. Pennsylvania law requires that most employers provide this coverage to employees, and coverage is for the entire period of employment. 

    Section 301(C)(1) of the Act states that an injury shall be considered “arising in the course of employment”  if “the employee is engaged in the furtherance of the business or affairs of the employer, whether upon the employer’s premises or elsewhere.” This is how many remote workers are able to have injuries sustained while working remotely from home or elsewhere covered by their workers’ compensation insurance. 

    Challenges to Coverage

    The biggest hurdle an injured party will have to clear in order to have an injury sustained while working remotely covered is proof. They must be able to prove that their injury was actually sustained while they were acting in their role as an employee and while they were furthering the business of their employer. In other words, if an employee falls while walking outside to smoke a cigarette, it is likely their injury will not be covered. A Lanacaster workers’ compensation attorney will help you determine whether or not your injuries are covered.

    Example of a Covered Remote Injury

    In the case of the City of Harrisburg vs. WCAB (Gebhart) 616 A.2d 1369 (Pa. 1992), it was held that an off-duty police officer who accidentally shot himself in the leg while removing his revolver from its holster when he arrived home was eligible for benefits. It was determined that there was no place at his job site to properly store the weapon, and securing it was a necessary part of his employment. 

    A Lancaster Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Remote Workers

    If you are a remote worker and you’ve been injured, or if you just have questions about your workers’ compensation benefits as a remote worker, contact a premier Lancaster workers’ compensation attorney at Vanasse Law, LLC by calling 717-397-1010 or via our contact page.