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    Archive for the ‘Workers’ Compensation’ Category

    Our Lancaster Workman’s Compensation Lawyer Answers Your FAQs

    Workers’ compensation rules and regulations can be entirely too complex for the average injured worker, and your employer and their workers’ comp insurance company are of no help whatsoever since their interests directly conflict with an injured worker’s interests. 

    If you’ve been hurt at work, your very first call should be to a Lancaster workman’s compensation lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC. Most injured workers are not aware that any statements made to their employer or insurance company may jeopardize their chances of obtaining full financial compensation for their injuries.

    Below are answers to injured workers’ most common questions regarding workers’ compensation.

    What is Workers’ Comp For?

    Workers’ compensation is, in its most basic sense, a state program designed to compensate employees who are injured on the job. These injuries are commonly referred to as “work-related injuries.”

    What is a “Work-Related Injury?”

    According to the Pennsylvania Workers Comp Act (the “Act”), a work-related injury is any injury, medical condition, or disease that is caused by a person’s job. There are no examples given by the Act, but it is clear that the condition must be related to the worker’s employment. Additionally, a work-related injury includes occupational diseases and pre-existing conditions that are aggravated by one’s job.

    When Do I Have to Tell My Employer I Was Hurt on the Job?”

    Section 311 of the Act requires notice to be given within 21 days after a work-related injury is sustained. But for a variety of reasons, you should inform your employer immediately.

    Do I Have to Go to the “Company Doctor?”

    Under Section 306(f.1)(1)(i) of the Pennsylvania Workman’s Comp Act, an injured worker must be treated by a “company doctor” for 90 days from the first visit, provided that:

    • The employer provides a list of at least six health care providers, 
    • The employer provides written notification of the employee’s rights and duties to the employee, and
    • The employer obtains written acknowledgment from the employee of the notice given. 

    An injured worker can receive treatment from any doctor or health care provider upon the employer’s failure to take these steps.

    How Much Compensation Will I Receive?

    The wage loss benefits are based upon the injured worker’s “average weekly wage,” which is generally 2/3rds of the amount the worker had earned before getting hurt on the job (although there are some exceptions). 

    How Long Will My Benefits Last?

    There is no hard time limit for receiving benefits. Injured workers may receive benefits until they settle their case or are ready to return to work. Nonetheless, many employers will attempt to limit how long a worker can receive workers’ compensation benefits in any number of ways.

    Will My Medical Bills Get Paid?

    Generally speaking, yes. Healthcare providers, doctors, and hospitals are paid for their services based upon a set fee schedule. You are never required to pay fees, including co-pays, for any medical care related to your work injury. Rather, medical care providers must submit their bills to the employer’s workers’ comp insurance company for payment.

    Can I Sue My Employer?

    Generally not. Injured workers give up the right to sue their employers, even if the employer’s negligence caused the injury, in exchange for receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, you may be able to sue third parties that may have been responsible for your injuries, such as in a case where you get hit by a vendor delivery van. You may also be able to sue your employer for intentional torts at work, such as being assaulted by your boss.

    Do I Need a Lawyer to Represent Me in My Workers’ Comp Claim?

    Yes. The employer and the employer’s workers’ comp insurance company will have you at a serious disadvantage. Remember that any insurance company’s primary goal is to make money. They make money by denying or delaying your claim, or, most commonly, talking you into an undervalued settlement with the lure of quick cash.

    Workers’ comp laws in Pennsylvania are very complicated and difficult to understand, but the insurance company lawyers know them by heart. Attorneys who focus their legal practice on workers’ comp, like a Lancaster workman’s compensation lawyer at Vanasse Law, understand the law every bit as well as the insurance company. 

    Our team is prepared to level the playing field on your behalf, and often, the fact that you have retained a workers’ comp law firm is enough to force insurance companies into a favorable settlement. If not, we’ll take them to trial. A little-known fact is that insurance companies hate to go to trial, and will settle favorably if put to the test.

    Let a Lancaster Workman’s Compensation Lawyer Answer All of Your Workers’ Comp Questions

    Vanasse Law LLC is a law firm that handles only workers’ comp claims in Pennsylvania. With us, you don’t have to worry about taking a back seat to the latest big payout personal injury client. If you have been injured at work or doing any work-related tasks, it’s very important that you call us first. 

    When the insurance company contacts you after reporting your injury, or even if your employer starts asking you questions related to the injury, you simply say: “Please speak to my attorney” and give them our phone number. We will represent you to your employer and the insurance company, and we will handle your claim for you so that you can realize your best possible outcome.

    Our Lancaster workman’s compensation lawyer understands the law surrounding workers’ comp claims in Pennsylvania, and our team will be by your side through what may be a long-term serious injury issue. We’ll work hard to get you all of the financial compensation to which you’re entitled. Contact us today for a same-day response and a free consultation.

    A Lancaster Work Injury Lawyer Discusses Compartment Syndrome and Workers’ Comp

    The Mayo Clinic defines chronic exertional compartment syndrome as “a…muscle and nerve condition that causes pain, swelling and sometimes disability in the affected muscles of the legs or arms.”

    Again according to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms may include:

    • Aching, burning or cramping pain in a compartment of the affected limb
    • Tightness in the affected limb
    • Numbness or tingling in the affected limb
    • Weakness of the affected limb
    • Foot drop, in severe cases, if legs are affected
    • Occasionally, swelling or bulging as a result of a muscle hernia

    Pain caused by chronic exertional compartment syndrome typically follows this pattern:

    • Begins consistently after a certain time, distance[,] or intensity of exertion after you start exercising the affected limb
    • Progressively worsens as you exercise
    • Becomes less intense or stops completely within 15 minutes of stopping the activity
    • Over time, recovery time after exercise may increase

    Taking a complete break from exercise or performing only low-impact activity might relieve your symptoms, but relief is usually only temporary. Once you take up running again, for instance, those familiar symptoms usually come back.

    Compartment syndrome is usually associated with athletes or crush injuries, and certainly may be a type of work-related injury, qualifying you for workers’ comp benefits. If you have developed compartment syndrome through work, let a Lancaster workplace injury lawyer help with your workers’ comp claim, so that your employer or their workers’ comp insurance company doesn’t talk you into an undervalued settlement.

    The Serious Nature of Compartment Syndrome

    If you’ve ever disregarded a simple sprained ankle or stubbed toe suffered at work, but then began to feel a fairly severe and uncomfortable pressure around the area hours later, this inflammation-type pain could easily turn into compartment syndrome. This complication can be deadly.

    Generally speaking, compartment syndrome is an injury complication that causes increased pressure and bleeding within muscle tissue groups, which are surrounded by strong connective tissue called fascia. When this fascia is injured, blood and fluids rush toward the muscle tissue group, causing pressure. Any dangerously high pressure in the muscle tissue may impede the flow of blood throughout the affected tissues, and if the pressure is not released, it continues to build up and cause severe pain and muscle deterioration.

    Compartment syndrome is a common complication with crush injuries. However, compartment syndrome isn’t confined to one area but may be caused by any number of work-related injuries. 

    Our Lancaster Workplace Injury Lawyer Can Help With Workers’ Comp Claims Related to Compartment Syndrome 

    Although compartment syndrome is relatively obscure, any number of work-related injuries may lead to it. After even a seemingly minor injury at work, you should ask your doctor specifically about it during your post-injury exam. The last thing you need is the discovery of compartment syndrome after your case has been settled.

    A Lancaster workplace injury lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC understands the dangers of compartment syndrome and can help you be sure your workers’ comp claim accounts for this dangerous condition. Contact us for a same-day response and a free consultation.

    How to Prevent Deadly Scaffolding Accidents

    A large number of Pennsylvania residents work with scaffolding every day, most commonly in construction jobs or other building sites. If you are one of these workers, you know that scaffolding presents serious risks to workers. Many serious injuries and fatal accidents are caused by scaffold falls.

    If you have suffered an injury at work in Pennsylvania due to faulty scaffolding, let a Lancaster workplace injury lawyer help with your workers’ comp claim so that your employer or their workers’ comp insurance company doesn’t talk you into an undervalued settlement of your claim.

    OSHA Guidelines

    Due to the inherent dangers involved in scaffolding work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (PDF) has developed strict guidelines for the setup and use of scaffolds on job sites. Employers must follow the guidelines set out by OSHA as part of the requirement to provide all employees a safe work environment. Some of the topics covered by the OSHA guidelines include:

    • Fall protection or fall arrest systems
    • Guardrail height
    • Crossbracing
    • Midrails
    • Footings
    • Guying ties and braces
    • Capacity
    • Training
    • Inspections
    • Erecting and Dismantling

    Safety Tips for Working with Scaffolding

    The OSHA guidelines are comprehensive and detailed, but, as is the case with many government agency documents, they are formal and complex. Most construction veterans focus on common-sense safety tips, such as:

    DOs:

    • Make sure a competent person; i.e., an experienced scaffolding veteran has thoroughly inspected the scaffold before anyone climbs it
    • If you’re not sure that a scaffold is safe, ask a supervisor 
    • Use a personal fall arrest system whenever required
    • Wear sturdy shoes with nonslip soles
    • Always wear a hard hat upon or around any scaffold
    • Be aware of any co-workers sharing the scaffold as well as other workers below
    • Move around the scaffolding slowly and carefully
    • Use common sense! If it doesn’t feel safe, it probably isn’t

    DON’Ts

    • Don’t overload a scaffold
    • Don’t leave debris, tools, and other materials lying around the scaffold where someone could accidentally knock them off the platform or trip over them. Keep tools where they’re supposed to be
    • Be careful driving anything heavy, such as a forklift or refuse truck, too close to a scaffold.
    • Avoid using a scaffold entirely during windy or stormy weather, or if the scaffold is covered with ice or snow
    • Don’t take chances! It’s not worth it!

    Let a Lancaster Workplace Injury Lawyer Help You Understand Scaffolding Safety 

    Scaffolds on the worksite are among the most dangerous tools at any construction site. Many construction workers simply won’t use them. If you’re a construction worker who has been injured by a scaffolding accident, a Lancaster workplace injury lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC can help you with your workers’ comp claim. After all, workers’ comp is all we do. Contact us for a same-day response and a free consultation.

    Are Total Knee Replacements Used Too Often?

    According to the Center’s Orthopedic & Neurological Care & Research:

    • By 2030, total knee replacement surgeries are projected to grow 673% to 3.5 million procedures per year
    • About 60% of all knee replacement operations are performed on women
    • Approximately 85% of knee replacements will last for 20 years
    • Nearly half of American adults will develop knee osteoarthritis in at least one knee in their lifetime
    • 80% of osteoarthritis patients have some degree of movement limitation
    • More than 90% of people who have knee replacement surgery experience a dramatic reduction in knee pain

    If you have suffered from an injury at work in Pennsylvania that requires total knee replacement, a Lancaster job injury lawyer can help you with your workers’ comp claim so that you can recover all the financial losses related to such extensive and extended medical care. We understand the laws in Pennsylvania and have experience dealing with severe, long-lasting injuries of all types.

    About Total Knee Replacements

    Total knee replacements have become a regular culprit in Pennsylvania workers’ comp claims. They may occur when a worker has a preexisting condition, such as arthritis, which is then aggravated by a work injury, or when the work injury itself causes damage to a previously healthy knee.

    Part of the problem is unrealistic expectations. Candidates for the procedure are often told that total knee replacement is the “cure” for their chronic knee pain or that the procedure will “reduce knee pain by X%.” However, research has suggested that a significant number of total knee replacement recipients are unhappy with the results and that a substantial number of recipients weren’t even ideal candidates in the first place.

    Still, it cannot be discounted that most people do well with their total knee replacement. Nonetheless, as is the case with any type of surgery, the procedure does carry certain risks, which may include:

    • Injury to related nerves
    • Unexpected bleeding
    • Infection
    • Clots
    • Limited motion of the knee

    As discussed, all of this comes with the risk that the procedure simply won’t relieve your pain in any meaningful way.

    Minimally Invasive Total Knee Replacement

    There is a procedure called “minimally invasive total knee replacement,” during which a smaller incision is used and is often performed under general or spinal anesthesia. This procedure causes less damage and is easier to tolerate and recover from. It may not, however, provide adequate repair or relief from pain. A Lancaster Job Injury Lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC can help you discuss your options with your doctor and select the best procedure for your particular circumstances.

    Learn More About Knee Replacement Surgery From a Lancaster Job Injury Lawyer

    Whether you’re considering total knee replacement or minimally invasive total knee replacement, you need to look at all of your options and how each impacts your workers’ comp claim. A Lancaster Job Injury Lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC can help you with your claim; simply contact us for a same-day response and a free consultation.

    Employer Responsibility for Job Availability Under Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Law

    Many states have seen the gradual erosion of workers’ comp benefits in favor of employers and their workers’ comp insurance carriers. In Pennsylvania, one of the mechanisms available to employers or their insurance companies is to “modify;” in other words, reduce workers’ comp benefits through the Labor Market Survey (LMS), also known as the “Earning Power Assessment” (EPS). 

    If you have suffered from an injury at work in Pennsylvania, a Lancaster workers comp lawyer will help you recover the maximum benefits allowed by law. This is particularly important as laws change or benefits are reduced, in that understanding your rights under the law is critical in recovering all of the benefits you are entitled to.

    What is the LMS/EPS?

    An issue arises when injured workers have physical limitations that prevent a return to their previous occupation. One of the changes negatively affecting workers was the creation of the LMS or EPS. Before the change in Pennsylvania law, if an employer or their workers’ comp insurance company wanted to reduce a worker’s benefits, the insurance company was required to refer the injured worker to jobs that were open and available. 

    If the injured worker made good faith applications to these jobs and was not hired, these jobs were deemed unavailable, and the worker’s benefits would continue. Employers and their workers’ comp insurance companies determined that this process was not favorable enough for them, and subsequently lobbied for changes to the Pennsylvania workers’ comp law.

    So, in 1996, the Pennsylvania legislature passed Act 57, which allows benefits to be reduced as long as the employer or insurance company can show that suitable LMS/EPA employment is generally available to the injured worker in the worker’s usual area of employment.

    Has There Been Any Legal Reaction?

    Pennsylvania courts have litigated the LMS/EPA issue and decided that the employer or insurance company may reduce benefits and only has to address the LMS/EPA issue if an injured worker offers evidence that a suitable job is available with the employer, at which point the employer or insurance company has to show no such job exists. This ruling ignores the fact that it is far easier for an employer to show an absence of a job than it is for an injured worker to show a suitable job exists. This seemingly small change to workers’ comp law is reflective of the ways in which the law continues to slowly erode the rights of injured workers. 

    Let a Lancaster Workers’ Comp Lawyer Help Explain How Workers’ Comp Benefits May be Reduced 

    A reduction in workers’ comp benefits can have a substantial impact on the quality of life for workers who have been injured on the job. A Lancaster workers comp lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC can help you with your claim and be sure that you are receiving all of the benefits allowed by law. Contact us for a same-day response and a free consultation.

    How Can I Help Prevent Scaffolding and Ladder Accidents at Work?

    Scaffolding, also known as staging, is a temporary metal structure used to provide a platform for a work crew to perform its work at heights that are too high to work on from the floor. It can be a supporting structure made of poles, frames, or platforms that are suspended from above. Because scaffolds are high up by their very nature, they are also inherently dangerous.

    According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 2.3 million construction workers, or 65% of the U.S. construction workforce, work on scaffolds. With numbers this high, scaffold and ladder-related accidents are, for the most part, inevitable. 

    In Pennsylvania, OSHA safety regulations regarding scaffolding apply to those who work in the construction industry, but there are also additional legal options for such workers. For example, construction workers may also be protected by Pennsylvania’s product liability laws. A defective product can cause serious injury, and unfortunately, if scaffolding is defective, the end results can be deadly.

    If you have suffered from an injury at work In Pennsylvania, a Lancaster workplace accident attorney at our law firm can help. Whether it is a workers’ comp claim or a legal claim, we understand the Pennsylvania workers’ comp laws and strategy behind the burden of proof and will use these standards to help you establish your claim.

    How Can We Avoid Scaffolding and Ladder Accidents?

    Scaffold and ladder workers can maximize their safety with a few simple steps, including:

    • Always use a spotter for balancing heaving loading
    • Always use protective gear, including life jackets, and check your ladders and scaffolds
    • Organize power tools, toolboxes, and various types of clutter to keep a clean, safe workspace 
    • Clean up spills immediately to avoid slip-and-fall accidents
    • Use designated access areas to climb scaffolding and ladders, and never stand on storage trunks, old ladders, or boxes
    • Know the load capacities of the ladders and scaffolding and do not exceed them
    • Report safety violations or concerns to a supervisor
    • Use single-rail ladders
    • So not exceed the maximum intended load beyond any manufacturer’s rated capacity,
    • Secure ladder feet are on slippery surfaces
    • Use ladders with worn steps
    • Use ladders without nonconductive side rails, which increase the chances of exposure to electrical equipment

    Learn More About Workers’ Comp Claims From a Lancaster Workplace Accident Attorney

    Scaffolding and ladders have been extremely dangerous in the workplace for far too long and can be even more dangerous when they’re used together in unsafe conditions. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure you know how to use all equipment properly and in a safe manner. However, it is always best to lookout for our own protection and safety needs. That said, you are encouraged to use your own common sense based on the specific situation at your workplace and always follow any instructions or guidance provided to the letter. It’s a good idea for you to practice a bit with an experienced scaffold or ladder worker before you go up on your own.

    If you have been injured at work because of a scaffolding or ladder accident, let a Lancaster workplace accident attorney at Vanasse Law LLC help you with your claim. You can contact us for a same-day response and a free consultation.

    Trench Collapses, Excavation Accidents and How to Prevent Them

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHAs) regulations regarding trenching and excavations have made getting rid of potential and actual trench and excavation hazards on construction sites a top priority. Trench collapses and subsequent cave-ins pose a great risk to trench workers’ lives. That said, it is important for workers to know and understand their rights under the law.

    Some typical ways to prevent cave-ins include:

    • Sloping or benching trench walls
    • Shoring trench walls with supports
    • Shielding trench walls with trench boxes

    Employers should also provide safe ways to enter and exit. Additionally, all workers should be on constant lookout for hazardous materials or leaks. And if there’s ever any question or concern, NEVER enter a trench unless and until it has been properly inspected.

    There are other hazards related to trenching and excavations that workers need to know about before beginning any construction project. For instance, the atmosphere itself may be a health hazard for workers. OSHA requires testing for all excavations that are more than four feet deep, as well as in situations where oxygen levels may be low or other hazardous atmospheric conditions may exist. If this safety step is skipped, workers could be exposed to toxic chemicals or even worse — they could suffocate.

    Further, heavy machines, trucks, backhoes, etc. are typically used on excavation and trenching sites. Employers have an obligation to ensure all workers on the project know how to properly use such equipment, as improper use could result in serious and severe injuries.

    If you have been injured at work in Pennsylvania, a Lancaster workplace accident attorney can help you with your workers’ comp claims and review the circumstances surrounding the trench collapse and/or excavation accident. as well as advise on other potential legal claims you may have. We understand the laws and strategies needed for such cases and will use that to help you establish your claim.

    Is There a Way to Prevent Trench and Excavation Accidents?

    Construction site managers and workers can maximize their safety by ensuring the following has occurred:

    • Ensure proper protection is in place. To prevent workers from being injured in trenching and excavation incidents, it is imperative to have appropriate protective systems in place. As noted above, when such systems do not exist, workers are at a greater risk for injuries such as being crushed, toxic exposure and suffocation.
    • Make sure the site is prepared appropriately. Excavations areas should be inspected prior to any work being done, as well as ongoing during the project. Someone with adequate competence and training in soil analysis should be used when preparing the worksite.
    • Put equipment and work materials in their proper place. Excavation materials and work-related equipment can cause severe injuries to workers if they are put too close to the trench. That said, employers should be sure that all work materials and equipment are placed at least two feet away.
    • All access and exit areas should be made as safe as possible. Site workers typically use ramps and other equipment to access and exit trenches. When such equipment is not placed in an appropriate area or is left unmaintained, workers may fall and be subjected to all types of serious injuries.

    Learn More About Workers’ Comp Claims From a Lancaster Workplace Accident Attorney

    If you have been injured at work because of a trench or excavation accident, let a Lancaster workplace accident attorney at Vanasse Law LLC help you with your claim. You can contact us for a same-day response and a free consultation.

    How Does the Attorney-Client Relationship Affect My Claim?

    The attorney-client relationship may refer to all manner of issues involved when a client hires an attorney for legal services. However, one particular aspect, often referred to as the attorney-client privilege, refers to a specific legal privilege that keeps confidential communications between an attorney and a client private. The privilege may be asserted in response to a legal demand for information, most commonly a discovery request, for certain communications meant to be private. The privilege may even be invoked, under certain circumstances, to potential client communications.

    If you have been injured at work in Pennsylvania, let a Lancaster job injury lawyer help you with any workers’ comp claims or any other types of legal claims you may have. The attorney-client privilege allows you to speak frankly and openly with your attorney.

    How Does the Privilege Affect My Workers’ Comp Claim?

    As is the case with other types of legal litigation or quasi-litigation, communications between you and your attorney are protected by the attorney-client privilege in workers’ comp cases. Your lawyer will almost certainly take time to prepare you for your deposition and will also be at the deposition to raise objections, but be sure that you understand the privilege independently so that you know not to immediately respond to any questions that require answers that are protected by the privilege.

    For example, you do not have to disclose the legal strategy you have developed with your attorney or the content of any other conversation that you and your attorney have had that is related to your workplace injury.

    What is Not Protected by the Privilege?

    The most common situation where the privilege is lost involves sharing information with people other than your lawyer and the law firm’s staff. Other ways the privilege may be lost include:

    • Crime or Fraud. Communications from a client regarding assistance with the furtherance or concealment of fraud or a crime are not privileged. However, if a client has already completed fraud or a crime and seeks the post-act advice of an attorney, these communications are privileged.
    • Death of a Client. The privilege may be lost upon the death of a testator if litigation between parties claiming under the deceased client develops.
    • Corporate Fiduciary Duty. An exception to the privilege has been recognized when a corporation’s shareholders seek to pierce the corporation’s attorney-client privilege.
    • Common Interest. Even though attorneys are ethically bound to avoid conflicts of interest, if two parties are represented by the same lawyer regarding the same legal matter, neither client may assert the privilege against the other in any related litigation.

    It is clear that these circumstances rarely, if ever, arise during a workers’ comp claim process. To achieve the best chances for a favorable outcome, it’s best to speak very openly and honestly with your attorney. Your attorney can best handle any impediments to your claim if he or she knows ahead of time and has a chance to prepare.

    Speak to a Lancaster Job Injury Lawyer for More Information

    The attorney-client relationship is sacrosanct and includes the attorney-client privilege. This privilege is an important aspect of any legal strategy you and your attorney may develop regarding your workers’ comp claims. If you have been injured at work, let a Lancaster job injury lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC help you with your claims in a private and privileged manner. Contact us for a same-day response and a free consultation.

    What is the Burden of Proof and How Does it Affect My Workers’ Comp Claim?

    Generally speaking, the “burden of proof” actually encompasses two types of standards: (1) the burden of production, and (2) the burden of persuasion. The burden of production refers to a party’s obligation to provide sufficient evidence to support the party’s claim. Typically, the burden of production lies initially with plaintiffs; i.e., plaintiffs must prove their case with sufficient evidence. If plaintiffs meet this burden, then the burden of production typically shifts to defendants to rebut plaintiffs’ evidence with their own evidence.

    The burden of persuasion refers to how convincingly parties must be in proving their case. In civil cases, parties have the burden of establishing their claim or defense by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means there is a more than 50% likelihood that their claim is true, or, put another way, the claim is more likely than not to be true. In criminal cases, the crime must be proved by the government “beyond any reasonable doubt.”

    If you have been injured at work in Pennsylvania, let a Lancaster workers’ comp lawyer help you with any workers’ comp claims or any other types of legal claims you may have. We understand the laws and strategy behind the burden of proof and will use these standards to help you establish your claim.

    How Does the Burden of Proof Affect My Workers’ Comp Claim?

    In Pennsylvania, to successfully bring a workers’ comp claim, the injured worker has the burden of proof to establish their right to wage loss and medical benefits by a preponderance of the evidence. This applies not only to initial workers’ comp claims, but also to any claim made for reinstatement of benefits after wage loss benefits have been terminated, suspended, or modified.

    Briefly, in workers’ comp claims, workers must meet their burden of proof regarding:

    • Timely Notice. You must establish that your employer was notified in a timely manner; i.e., within 21 days of the injury. To be sure that you meet this burden, written notice is best.  
    • Course and Scope. You must establish that your injury occurred within the course and scope of your employment.
    • Causation. You must establish that your injury caused your disability and, in order to continue to receive benefits, continues to cause your disability.
    • You do not have to establish that your employer was negligent or responsible in any way for your injury. 

    Speak to a Lancaster Job Injury Lawyer for More Information

    Ultimately, workers’ comp claims are similar to other types of civil law claims in that injured workers, or plaintiffs, carry the initial burden of proof to sufficiently establish their claims. This process sounds complicated and, unfortunately, is indeed quite complex. Due to the cost of medical treatment and lost wages, a workers’ comp claim should not be handled on your own, and should not be delayed. If you have been injured at work, let a Lancaster job injury lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC help you with your claim. You can contact us for a same-day response and a free consultation.

    PA Workers’ Comp: Who is Considered an Employee for Purposes of Benefits?

    Due to the potential financial ramifications, ordinary working people in Pennsylvania often ask whether they are considered “employees” under Pennsylvania’s workers’ comp laws. This is a good and important question that our Lancaster workers’ comp lawyer will answer below. However, the answer is best given in context, and a brief overview of Pennsylvania’s workers’ comp laws can help with that.

    In any event, if you have suffered a work-related injury in Pennsylvania, let a Lancaster workers’ comp lawyer help you be sure you’re receiving maximum compensation for your work-related injuries.

    Workers’ Comp in Pennsylvania

    Workers’ comp in Pennsylvania can be described as a compromise, or trade-off, between employers and employees, designed to keep personal injury cases involving work-related injuries out of the court system.

    Under Pennsylvania law, workers’ comp pays out certain financial benefits for employees who are injured at work and their dependents, even if there is no fault by the employer. However, here comes the trade-off: workers’ comp laws also protect employers from being sued for job-related injuries or deaths, even if the employer was at fault or maintained a dangerous workplace environment. This limits the types of damages a plaintiff could recover in a personal injury claim.

    Put another way, workers’ comp benefits are the only remedy an injured worker has and the only financial compensation they can receive, even if the employer was negligent in causing the injury. This is often known as the “Sole Remedy” rule.

    Although workers’ comp was designed as a compromise, there are plenty of critics. It has been argued that the system allows employers to ignore unsafe working conditions since they know their workers’ comp insurance will pay out any damages to injured employees. Thus, there certainly is very little incentive to spend money on fixing any unsafe conditions.

    It has also been argued that the benefits paid out by workers’ comp insurance are far too little to truly compensate injured employees. Under this argument, either workers’ comp benefits should mirror personal injury benefits or allow an employee to choose whether to accept workers’ comp benefits or file a personal injury lawsuit. The difference in recoverable damages is substantial. Workers’ comp will pay:

    • Medical benefits, such as hospital costs, prescriptions, and orthopedic appliances
    • Two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage in wage loss benefits
    • If the employee earns lower wages after the injury, partial disability benefits, 
    • Vocational rehab costs
    • Death benefits if there is a work-related death

    Comparatively, personal Injury damages include:

    • Medical bills, both past and future
    • All lost wages
    • All lost future earning capacity
    • Permanent impairment benefits
    • Loss of consortium
    • Pain and suffering
    • Loss of quality of life
    • Maybe most importantly, punitive damages

    The only downside is that you have to prove fault. Nonetheless, it seems clear that workers’ comp benefits employers over employees. The best solution for employees would be a choice of either. If fault is clear, they could choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, but if fault is questionable, they could select workers’ comp benefits. All employers would have to do is purchase insurance for personal injury claims.

    Who Qualifies as an “Employee” in Pennsylvania?

    In Pennsylvania, it’s important to know if you’re considered an “employee” because if you’re not one, you can bring a personal injury claim. Under the law, an employee is “synonymous with servant, and includes–All natural persons who perform services for another for a valuable consideration, exclusive of … persons whose employment is casual in character and not in the regular course of the business of the employer, and exclusive of persons to whom articles or materials are given out to be made up, cleaned, washed, altered, ornamented, finished or repaired, or adapted for sale in the worker’s own home, or on other premises, not under the control or management of the employer.”

    Put more simply, an employee in Pennsylvania is anyone who performs services for another in exchange for something of value. However, there are exceptions, such as domestic and casual workers, and some people may elect not to be covered, such as certain types of executive officers. 

    When LLCs have no employees, in other words, when its only workers are members, which is common, it has no workers’ compensation liability. However, if a member becomes an employee, or if the LLC adds an employee, either part-time or full-time, it would be required to insure them.

    Furthermore, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against your employer under certain circumstances, including:

    • If employers do not carry adequate workers’ comp insurance, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against your employer to recover damages for your work-related injury or illness, even based on mere negligence.
    • If an employer’s intentional act injures you, you may be able to bring a claim against your employer for harm caused by the deliberate act if it was specifically intended to harm you. 
    • Under certain circumstances, you may be able to sue a third-party independent contractor who is responsible for your injury (i.e., if you are injured by an independent truck driver). 

    Let a Lancaster Workers’ Comp Lawyer Help You with Your Workers’ Comp or Personal Injury Claim

    Employers have an obligation to keep their workplaces safe and free of dangerous hazards. Unfortunately, many employers do not prioritize safety, especially knowing that workers’ comp insurance will pay for any injuries to employees on the job. Employees have the right to collect workers’ comp benefits, or, in some circumstances, personal injury damages.

    If you have been injured at work, let a Lancaster workers’ comp lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC help you with any claims you may have. Contact us for a same-day response and a free consultation.