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Archive for the ‘Workers’ Compensation’ Category

Do I Lose My Workers’ Comp If I’m Laid Off?

If you’re on workers’ comp, you’re already feeling the stress of providing for your family, are likely in some amount of pain, and possibly having trouble merely making it to all of your medical appointments. On top of this, you may be concerned about your company, as thousands of businesses are cutting back or simply going under. What happens to your workers’ comp if your business files for bankruptcy or simply shuts its doors?

If you have been injured on the job in Pennsylvania, and you fear for your company’s long-term viability, let a Lancaster workers comp lawyer help you through this difficult time.

Workers’ Comp After a Layoff

In some cases, your company may seek to cut costs by laying off employees. If you are not working because of a workplace injury, you are not immune from layoffs, but your benefits should not change. Even if you have returned to work on restrictions, your benefits should remain the same. If you continue to receive workers’ comp benefits after you have returned to work, the workers’ comp company must continue to pay reasonable and necessary medical expenses after a layoff.

Workers’ Comp and Bankruptcy

Your workers’ comp benefits will not necessarily end if your company files for bankruptcy. In many cases, companies enter into what is known as Chapter 11 bankruptcy, during which their debts are reorganized, but the company can remain operational. 

Even if the company files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, during which all assets are liquidated and the company effectively closes, your worker’s comp benefits may not be affected. Workers’ comp payments are generally paid by an insurance company, so as long as your employer stayed current on their payments, you will continue to receive benefits.

Workers’ Comp if You’re Fired

In Pennsylvania, it is unlawful for an employer to fire you in response to a workers’ comp claim. However, an employer can fire you if you have a disability that will keep you out of work for an extended period or, having reached MMI, you will never be able to return to your current position, and they do not have another job for you. Even if you are fired for cause, such as repeated tardiness or other policy violations, it is still possible you will be able to collect workers’ comp for your injury.

Contact a Lancaster Workers’ Comp Lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC for More Information

The rules surrounding workers’ comp in Pennsylvania can be complicated, especially when the company is making significant changes such as bankruptcy. A Lancaster workers comp lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC understands workers’ comp law in Pennsylvania and can help you examine your options and file any workers’ comp or legal claims on your behalf. 

Contact us online for a same-day response.

Filing a Lawsuit Instead of a Workers’ Comp Claim

Every state provides for “workers’ compensation,” otherwise known as “worker’s comp” or, perhaps most accurately, “workers’ comp insurance” for workers who are injured on the job.

How Workers’ Comp Works

Workers’ comp insurance is designed to work like this: workers who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses receive workers’ comp benefits for things like medical expenses and lost wages. 

The good news for workers is that they are not required to show that their employer was at fault for their injuries; if they are hurt at work, they receive the benefits. The bad news for workers is that these workers’ comp benefits are their only remedy; in other words, they are not allowed to sue their employer for the injuries, even if the employer was indeed at fault. 

In some cases, this means they cannot collect money for damages like “punitive damages,” which could potentially add up to millions of dollars. In this way, workers’ comp insurance protects employers as well as employees. Nonetheless, this seemingly simple arrangement can be more complicated than it appears to be.

If you have been injured on the job in Pennsylvania, let Lancaster hurt on the job lawyers help you with this important decision process.

When You Can Sue Your Employer

There are some limited circumstances under which you are allowed to bring a lawsuit against your employer for job-related injuries:

  • Intentional Employer Acts. You may be able to sue your employer for harm caused by their intentional acts if they have acted with the specific intent of harming you. For example, if your supervisor walks up behind you and pushes you down the stairs, this would likely be considered an intentional act meant to harm you. However, remember that showing mere negligence is not sufficient. The act must be deliberate. 
  • Your Employer Has No or Insufficient Workers’ Comp Insurance. Employers in almost all states are required to carry adequate workers’ comp insurance. If they do not,  you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer to recover damages for your work-related injury or disease, even based on mere negligence.
  • Lawsuits Against Third Parties. In some cases, you may also be able to sue a third party other than your employer who is partially responsible for your injury. For example, suppose you suffer an injury at work caused by using a defective product. In that case, you might be able to sue the manufacturer of that product in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim. This may entitle you to more significant recovery amounts, including punitive damages.

Contact the Lancaster Hurt on the Job Lawyers at Vanasse Law LLC If You Have Been Hurt at Work

If you have been hurt at work, the Lancaster hurt on the job lawyers at Vanasse Law LLC will help you understand the current state of Pennsylvania law regarding workers’ comp, help you understand your options, and file any workers’ comp or legal claims on your behalf. 

Contact us online for a same-day response.

Choosing a Doctor for Worker’s Comp Claims

Workers’ compensation is designed to cover all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for work-related injuries and/or illnesses, including doctors’ appointments, medications, surgeries, physical therapy, etc. 

Your treating doctor is a key player in your workers’ comp treatment, from your actual treatment to overseeing all of your medical care to giving opinions that will affect what treatments to which you are entitled. Therefore, it’s important to find a treating doctor you can trust. However, that search may be complicated by your particular state’s limits on doctor selection.

If you have been injured on the job in Pennsylvania, let a Lancaster workman’s compensation lawyer help you with this important decision.

Selecting Your Treating Doctor

You should be careful when selecting the best treating doctor for you, even if you’re limited to a network or a list of physicians. To the extent you are allowed to choose your own doctor, consider:

  • The doctor’s willingness to work within the workers’ comp medical fee schedule
  • The doctor’s knowledge of the workers’ compensation claim process
  • The doctor’s willingness to support your workers’ comp claim with detailed reports
  • The doctor’s experience and understanding of your particular medical condition
  • The doctor’s availability for medical appointments
  • How comfortable you are with the doctor

Doctor Selection Rules in Pennsylvania

Typically, in Pennsylvania, you must see an approved doctor for the first 90 days of your treatment. Nonetheless, you are still allowed input on this decision. Employers generally have a panel of doctors posted at your worksite. If the posted panel has six or more doctors listed, you must see a doctor from that list for those initial 90 days after your injury.

The employer doctors must be qualified professionals licensed to practice medicine and provide reasonably competent treatment. If your employer does not have a panel of doctors posted anywhere at your job site, you can choose your own doctor from the beginning.

After the initial 90 days, you can choose your own doctor as long as you provide notice to the workers’ compensation insurer within five days of changing physicians. Keep in mind that there is some value in the continuity of your treatment, so, from a practical standpoint, you should only change doctors if you feel strongly that the change will benefit you.

Contact a Lancaster Workman’s Compensation Lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC for More Information

The workers’ comp process is complex, and selecting your treating doctor is a small but relatively important part of that process. 

A Lancaster workman’s compensation lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC will not only help you select your treating doctor but will also help you understand the current state of Pennsylvania law regarding workers’ comp. We will also help you explore your options, protect your rights and file any necessary claims on your behalf. Additionally, even if your injuries do not qualify for workers’ compensation, you may have other legal options.

If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, contact us online for a same-day response.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Workers’ Comp Claims

If you’ve been injured on the job, you’ll probably learn more about workers’ compensation, or “workers’ comp,” than you ever wanted to know. Nonetheless, it’s important to understand enough to protect your rights because if you can’t work due to a job-related injury, your income and medical bills are at stake.

If you have been injured on the job in Pennsylvania, your best bet is to let a Lancaster job accident lawyer help you understand your options, including your workers’ comp claim. 

The Do’s of Workers’ Comp Claims

  • Regarding the following steps, remember that you and your attorney are the only ones looking after your best interests. Your employer, the employer’s doctor, and any staff you may encounter are not primarily concerned with what is best for you. Instead, they are looking after their interests.
  • Your first concern after an accident at work is to remain still if you are hurt. Call for assistance, and insist on an ambulance and immediate medical care if you are in serious pain or the injury appears significant.
  • Identify any witnesses, and obtain written statements from them regarding what they saw if you are able. Even if you are seriously hurt and unable to get written witness statements, these statements can be taken later from the witnesses you immediately identified.
  • Alert your manager or supervisor as soon as possible, and resist the urge to “be tough” and “shake it off.” Each aspect of the injury and all the pain you feel should be reported. Your employer would rather know immediately exactly what your injuries are instead of hearing about them later in bits and pieces.
  •  Seek medical attention if you haven’t already done so. Be as thorough regarding your injuries and pain as you were with your employer.
  • Be sure that someone has filed an accident report, and make sure it is accurate and complete. Don’t hesitate to demand changes if necessary, and refer to your witnesses if necessary.
  • Gather any information you may need for your claim, including witnesses’ names, addresses, and phone numbers, photographs of the accident scene and your injuries if possible, as well as any other information that you think may be helpful for your claim.
  • Keep a thorough and organized record of all your medical receipts, doctor visits, hospital visits, prescription and medication expenses, treatment expenses, written statements, medical reports, and any written correspondence with your insurance company.
  • If you haven’t already done so, you should contact a Lancaster job accident lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC. The claims process is complex, there may be time limits on some claims aspects, and even simple mistakes can have serious consequences. Vanasse Law LLC can help you make sure you receive everything to which you are entitled.
  • Tell your attorney of any past injuries and any past medical problems that may impact your workers’ compensation claim. Include the dates and details of these injuries and/or medical issues, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
  • Be sure to do everything your lawyer tells you to do; don’t skimp, skip, or put off any instruction. The workers’ comp system is designed to place a significant burden on you and includes certain time limits.

The Don’ts of Workers’ Comp Claims

  • Don’t try to navigate the workers’ comp process on your own. Contact a Lancaster job accident lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC. You’ll need help getting through the complicated workers’ comp process.
  • Don’t hesitate to seek medical treatment. If you are injured at work, you are entitled to this. Any delays may work against you.
  • Don’t hesitate to file your workers’ comp claim. There are time limits associated with the workers’ comp process.
  • Don’t let anyone talk you out of reporting the incident. Your employer and even fellow employees may try to persuade you that your injuries are not as bad as they seem. Your employer may even offer you money “under the table” in exchange for not reporting the incident. Resist these advances and report them to your attorney.
  • Don’t talk to anyone about the incident or your claims. The only people you should speak with are your doctor, your spouse, and your attorney. Your fellow employees may be eager to hear all of the gory details, but it’s none of their business. Furthermore, be sure to consult with your lawyer before speaking with the doctor.
  • Don’t sign any type of release, including a medical release. In fact, don’t sign anything, including any checks, without consulting with your lawyer.
  • Don’t settle your case without consulting with your lawyer. Typically, a case may be settled when you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). Your insurance company may try to rush you through the process and convince you to sign off on a sub-par settlement so they can close your file. However, once you settle, your case is closed, and you will not be able to obtain any additional treatment, and you will not receive any more benefits.

Contact a Lancaster Job Accident Lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC to Assist You With Your Workers’ Comp Claim

The workers’ comp process is complicated and time-consuming. Further complicating your claim is the possibility that your employer and/or the insurance company may try to convince you to sign off on your claim and settle quickly for an amount that is less than ideal. They will likely sound reasonable, friendly, and convincing. 

However, remember that your employer and the insurance company do not have your best interests in mind. Their primary concern is to settle your claim for as little as possible. Don’t try to handle your workers’ comp claim on your own. 

A Lancaster work injury lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC will help you understand Pennsylvania law’s current state regarding workers’ comp, explore your options, protect your rights, and file any necessary claims on your behalf. Additionally, even if your injuries do not qualify for workers’ compensation, you may have other legal options.

If you have suffered injuries that you even suspect may be work-related, contact us online for a same-day response.

A Brief Look at Pennsylvania’s Heart and Lung Act

As people all across the world are staying at home to try and slow down the spread of COVID-19, first responders and other essential workers who are manning the frontlines do not have that option. They risk exposure to COVID-19 every day as they provide essential services for their communities.

If you or a loved one have contracted the virus through their essential work, let a Lancaster workers comp lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC help you explore your possible options, including workers’ comp and Pennsylvania’s Heart and Lung Act. 

Pennsylvania’s Heart and Lung Act

Pennsylvania’s Heart and Lung Act (HLA) protects various types of employees in Pennsylvania if they become sick or injured at work. This protection supplements Workers’ Compensation insurance, providing additional financial support for employees diagnosed with COVID-19 and other temporarily debilitating conditions.

The HLA provides a full tax-free weekly salary without overtime for certain types of employees in Pennsylvania. The HLA also covers medical expenses related to any work-related injury or occupational illness suffered while performing official employment duties.

Who is Covered by the HLA?

The HLA covers municipal employees in law enforcement and firefighting. This includes the following types of job classifications:

  • State, County, Township, and City Police Officers and Firemen
  • Drug Enforcement Agents
  • Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs
  • Liquor Control Board Enforcement Officers and Investigators
  • Correctional Employees with Principal Duties of Care, Custody, and Control of Inmates
  • Psychiatric Security Aides Employed by the Department of Public Welfare
  • Psychiatric Security Aides Employed by the Department of Corrections
  • Members of Delaware River Port Authority Police
  • Special Agents of the Office of Attorney General

What Types of Illnesses are Covered by the HLA?

The title “Heart and Lung Act” is not entirely accurate, as the HLA covers many types of illnesses and injuries. In fact, the HLA covers any injuries and illnesses that occur “within the course and scope of employment” for all qualified Pennsylvania employees. 

Furthermore, certain groups of employees in Pennsylvania may be granted a presumption that COVID-19 is an “occupational disease” for their profession under certain provisions of the workers’ comp law. Nonetheless, while the HLA covers temporary illnesses or injuries, including COVID-19, permanent disabilities are not covered.

Contact a Lancaster Workers’ Comp Lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC for a Same-Day Response

Both the workers’ comp laws and the HLA are complicated pieces of legislation. If you are working during the pandemic and may be exposed to COVID-19, it is important that you understand your rights under workers’ compensation law and potentially the HLA. 

A Lancaster workers’ comp attorney at Vanasse Law LLC will help you understand the current state of the law regarding workers’ comp and the HLA, explore your options, protect your rights, and file any necessary claims on your behalf. If you need our help, please contact us online for a same-day response.

Will Workers’ Compensation Cover COVID-19? A Lancaster Job Accident Lawyer Can Help With Your Claim

Workers’ compensation law is designed to compensate employees who have been hurt at work. But what if you contract COVID-19 at work? Can you file a workers’ compensation claim? This issue is complex and rapidly evolving.

If you have contracted or fear you may contract COVID-19 from work, let a Lancaster job accident lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC help you explore your possible options. 

COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Issues

Although many workers’ compensation issues are the same, the rules can vary from state to state. Aside from protecting employees, workers’ compensation insurance is also designed to benefit employers by providing coverage with predictable payments and reduced legal costs.

Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous challenges for state legislatures across the country. One of the most challenging questions is: Does workers’ compensation insurance cover employees who have contracted the disease?

Naturally, the answer is complicated. Generally, workers’ compensation insurance does not cover routine community-spread illnesses, such as a cold or the flu. This is because they usually cannot be directly tied to the workplace. Some states have made exceptions for employees who have developed chronic illnesses, such as cancer, resulting from repeated exposure to toxic or carcinogenic materials.

However, it is unclear if COVID-19 illnesses fall into the former or the latter category. The unique issue presented by COVID-19 is that it presents a circumstance in which many jobs that have not historically been considered hazardous have suddenly become very dangerous for employees. Essential business employees, such as transit operators, health care workers, and grocery store workers are at a high risk of exposure to the virus while at work. But the more hazardous working conditions do not guarantee that a COVID-19 infection would be covered under workers’ compensation in most states.

Pennsylvania’s Response

Expanding workers’ compensation benefits appears to be high on the agenda in several states, usually specifically for first responders. An approach adopted by many states is to amend state policy so that COVID-19 infections in certain types of employees are presumed to be work-related and covered under workers’ compensation, thereby placing the burden to establish that the infection was not work-related on the employer and insurer. This burden-shifting technique makes it much easier for those employees to file successful claims.

A bill in Pennsylvania seeks to create a grant program for fire companies and emergency medical services companies to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact a Lancaster Job Accident Lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC for a Same-Day Response

Do not hesitate. If you are working during the pandemic and may be exposed to COVID-19, it is critical for you to understand your rights under workers’ compensation law. Workers’ compensation law can be complicated and difficult to navigate, especially when it comes to unsettled issues like COVID-19 coverage. 

A Lancaster job accident attorney at Vanasse Law LLC will help you understand the current state of the law, examine your options, protect your rights, and file any necessary claims on your behalf. If you need our help, please contact us online for a same-day response.

Dealing With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim During the Pandemic

Many workers throughout Pennsylvania and elsewhere have been affected in some way by COVID-19. For those who are out of work, the concern likely centers around how they will be able to meet their financial obligations. For those who are still working, the concern likely relates to the possibility of catching the virus while continuing to perform their job duties.

Our Lancaster workers’ comp lawyer has heard from both unemployed and currently employed workers who have active workers’ compensation claims during this time, so we would like to take a moment to address some of the commonly-asked questions you may have as we all continue to navigate through these unprecedented times. For the most up-to-date information, we are still available to speak with you even though our physical offices are closed.

I’m still working during the pandemic. If I get COVID-19 while at work, will that be considered a work-related disease or injury?

The PA Workers’ Compensation Act identifies occupational diseases and discusses the diseases that routinely happen when working in specific types of industries or jobs. Generally, illnesses that were caused by work-based exposures can be deemed an occupational disease and/or injury. That said, if you were exposed to COVID-19 such that it resulted in the illness you’re suffering from currently, it could be considered an injury or it may even be considered an occupational disease, depending on the work or industry itself.

If I make a Pennsylvania workers’ comp claim, will I be paid from the first day that I’m unable to report to work?

Pennsylvania has a waiting period which is currently seven days. Accordingly, employees seeking workers’ compensation must have missed work for at least 14 days in order to be compensated for their first seven days of disability.

What are my options if my claim is denied?

Once a worker files a claim, the petition will be assigned to a workers’ comp judge in the county where the worker lives. In general, workers have up to three years from the date the injury occurred to file their petition to seek coverage for their injuries under workers’ compensation. Once the petition gets assigned to a judge, all relevant parties will be advised of the place, date and time of the hearing.

Once my claim gets assigned to a judge, what happens next?

When you seek legal guidance from our Lancaster workers’ comp lawyer, we will advise you of the next steps in your case. The Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication (WCOA) handles the litigation of all workers’ comp cases. Information can also be obtained directly from the WCOA.

I had already filed a case prior to the pandemic. Will the processing of my claim be affected by COVID-19?

Governor Tom Wolf ordered all state offices to be closed back in mid-March. That order was effective for a period of 14 days. Currently, staffing needs have been adjusted and staggered work schedules have been implemented. Those with claims and questions will still be able to contact the office and get the claims processed. A temporary phone hearing protocol was set up in an effort to lessen the amount of person-to-person contact. Our Lancaster workers’ comp lawyer will be notified directly about your hearing the procedures to be followed. What’s important to note is that, while there may be some delays in hearing times, your claim will not be dismissed.

What if I need to file or answer a petition? Will I be able to do so during the pandemic?

You absolutely will! The WCOA is working to ensure that all petitions are filed in a timely manner and handled during COVID-19. As mentioned above, hearings will be adjusted and modified accordingly until the health crisis has been subsided.

I did not have a Lancaster workers’ comp lawyer when I filed, but my case has been assigned to a judge already. How will I know what the status of my claim and/or hearing is and what will occur next?

Once you seek our legal services, we will work with the WCOA directly to find out all relevant information about your case. Additionally, you should also continue to get notices in the mail. If you have online capabilities, the WCOA keeps updated information on the WCAIS, which is their online filing service. If you register online, you will be able to check the site for any changes, office closures, early closures and/or delayed openings.

If I was injured or obtained an illness while at work, will workers’ compensation allow me to use telemedicine services at this time?

The Pennsylvania Department of State’s (DOS) Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) issued guidance back in March that discussed this very issue and noted that health care professionals who have been licensed under a BPOA licensing board can offer their services to patients by telemedicine during the pandemic.

Accordingly, visits that are held via telemedicine can be used for either ongoing treatment of workplace injuries or new injuries. Stated clearly, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Office of Workers’ Compensation, in recognition of the CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines regarding social distancing, wants all workers, employers and healthcare providers to keep in mind that telemedicine and virtual care is a viable option for those who sustain injuries and illnesses in the workplace.

Let Our Lancaster Workers’ Comp Lawyer Work for You — We Are Here to Help

Whether you have already submitted a workers’ compensation claim prior to the pandemic or you are still working and need to submit a claim due to a recent injury or illness that happened on your job, we are here to help. Contact our Lancaster workers’ comp lawyer today for immediate assistance.

Five Workers’ Compensation Issues That Benefit From Legal Representation

Not all workplace injuries are life-changing events. Even those that require medical attention are often minor enough to require minimal doctor visits and maybe a few days away from work.  While simple injuries do not typically require legal support, more serious injuries can add complexities to a claim.

To help ensure that injured workers or their families obtain the benefits due to them, it is important to recognize situations that commonly signal the need for representation by a Lancaster workers’ compensation attorney.

Learn to Recognize the First Signs That Claims May Go Wrong

No one suffering from injury or illness should have to face additional stress caused by claim issues. The following are common indicators legal help may be advisable:

  • Unfair denial or reduction of claims: Short of injuries that are caused by employee intoxication or certain willful acts, PA workers’ compensation should pay for expenses related to workplace injuries. Claims denied based on the circumstances behind the injuries often merit further appeal. All too often, employers and insurers attempt to deny or reduce valid claims in the hopes that injured employees will take an unfair “no” for an answer. Knowledgeable legal representation can help level the playing field.
  • Delays in receipt of benefits: Pennsylvania law contains specific rules pertaining to the timing of benefit payments — and it also frowns on undue delays in the review of a claim that might prevent an injured worker from receiving timely benefits. Any type of payment or processing delay generally signals issues that can benefit from quick legal representation.
  • The employer expects a return to work too soon: As a general rule, employers should not expect injured employees to return to work until their conditions allow them to perform all duties. While employers might offer light or part-time duty jobs prior to full recovery, they can only do so only when those duties do not exceed employees’ capacity to perform them. When workers believe they’re not ready to return, they should seek legal advice from a knowledgeable Lancaster workers’ compensation attorney.
  • Signs of employer retaliation: A seemingly-undeserved demotion, pay cut, termination or other discriminatory acts after filing a workers’ compensation claim may signal employer retaliation and require immediate examination by an experienced attorney.
  • The potential for third-party claims: Sometimes injured workers may have the right to pursue compensation from an outside third party. This might be the case, for example, when a worker sustains injury from an exposed live wire due to mishandling by an outside electrician. Most workers’ compensation attorneys can help injured employees pursue these outside claims while helping ensure that they also receive all workers’ compensation benefits allowed by law.

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Claims are not Always Straightforward – Contact a Lancaster Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

Even when minor cuts and contusions sustained on the job require a trip to the doctor, filing workers’ compensation claims is a relatively minor effort. That said, many issues can come up that make the process seem as complex as the field of medicine itself.

Victims of workplace injuries have the right to expect timely medical treatment and payment of all valid expenses without incurring out-of-pocket costs. However, they might need to enlist advice and support from an experienced Lancaster workers’ compensation attorney to protect those rights. Since it costs nothing to seek an initial consultation, injured workers can afford to err on the side of caution and contact a lawyer at the first sign of concerns about a claim.

Get Answers to Your Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Frequently Asked Questions

If you have sustained injuries while performing your job duties, you may have many questions about what to do next and your legal rights in general. Our Lancaster job accident lawyer provides answers to some of the most common questions about the workers’ compensation process in Pennsylvania to help you understand your rights and options. These questions and answers are meant to assist with your research and do not replace speaking directly to an attorney about the specifics of your situation.

Workers’ Comp Coverage: Which Illnesses and/or Injuries Are Covered in Pennsylvania?

Regardless of fault, a great majority of illnesses and injuries that are caused by a work-related incident are covered by workers’ compensation. There are, however, a number of situations that may not be covered, such as injuries and/or illnesses caused by:

  • Illegal acts
  • Your own drug and/or alcohol intoxication
  • Co-worker physical attacks for personal reasons
  • Suicide or intentionally self-inflicted harm
  • Individuals outside of the workplace
  • Your commute to/from work

It is best to speak to an attorney to discuss whether your injury or illness will qualify for compensation.

Can I Get Compensation for Repetitive Motion Injuries?

Yes, as long as you can demonstrate that your injury is related to your job. This can include compensation for carpal tunnel, trigger finger, ganglion cysts, bursitis and other repetitive motion disorders.

Am I Entitled to Workers’ Comp if I’m a Part-Time Worker in Pennsylvania?

Both part-time and full-time workers in the Commonwealth are covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The only instances where coverage may not be applied is if your employer unlawfully decides not to provide workers’ compensation coverage or if you are self-employed. Even if you are the employer’s only employee, you should be covered.

If a Co-Worker or My Employer Caused My Illness or Injury, Can I Sue Them?

The general answer to this common question is no, you cannot sue anyone for a work-related illness or injury (but there are a few exceptions). You are typically only permitted to file for workers’ comp to cover your lost wages and related medical costs. Unfortunately, pain and suffering will not be compensated.

However, if your illness or injury was caused by a defective product, you may be entitled to sue the manufacturer for your personal injuries. Likewise, if your injuries were caused by the physical assault of a co-worker as part of a personal issue, you may be able to pursue a criminal or civil lawsuit against that individual.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for Workers’ Compensation?

First, it is important to note that you are required to report all injuries related to your job to your supervisor or employer immediately. Pennsylvania allows 120 days for you to inform your employer of the work-related injury or illness, but reporting it right away is always best and preferred. Doing so will give you a stronger case overall. If you fail to advise the employer within 120 days of your injury, you may lose your right to receive compensation. As for how long you have to file the actual claim, you will have three years from the date of your injury to do so.

What if I Live in Pennsylvania But Work in a Different State?

You are encouraged to speak to a Lancaster job accident lawyer first to determine whether you can file for compensation in Pennsylvania because we typically have a higher payment than many other states. All claims are different, but it is certainly worth checking with your attorney, as you may still be permitted to file if you live, work or were hired by a company located in Pennsylvania.

Are There Documents That I Must Sign? How Do I Know Which Ones to Avoid?

We certainly understand that you may be confused about which documents are okay to sign and which ones should be avoided. The key is to always read each document carefully and ensure that you understand them, as Pennsylvania courts will assume that you read and completely understood what you’ve signed.

You may be provided numerous forms, such as an Authorization for Medical Records, an Employee Verification Form, a Supplemental Agreement and a Final Receipt. It is generally fine to sign the authorization and verification forms, as these forms release your medical documentation to the insurer in order to review and process the claim, as well as verifies your employment in order for you to receive benefits, respectively.

The agreement and final receipt documents can be tricky. Be very careful about signing an agreement, as some of them not only say that you can return to work even though your claim is still active, but it may include a clause stating that your benefits are being terminated. If you have not fully recovered from your illness or injury, do not sign that agreement! The same goes for a final receipt — if you are still in recovery, do not sign that document and speak with your attorney immediately if you are being pressured to do so.

What if I’m Being Pressured to Go Back to Work Even Though I’m Not Ready?

Employers should not try to force or pressure an employee to return to work if the company-provided doctor has not cleared your return. However, we encourage everyone to visit their own doctor as well, as using the company-provided one is not your only option. If the medical professional provided by the company says you can return to your job, but your personal doctor disagrees, you can refuse to go back to work. Ultimately, a judge will look at your case and any petitions to modify, suspend or terminate benefits to make an appropriate decision.

What if My Claim is Denied?

Claims can be denied for several reasons. However, if you believe your workers’ compensation claim was wrongfully denied, speak to a Lancaster job accident lawyer right away. Your attorney will be able to review your situation and address it properly.

Let a Lancaster Job Accident Lawyer Help You Pursue Your Rights Under the Law

If you still have questions or concerns about your entitlement to workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania, contact a Lancaster job accident lawyer today. We are here to help.

Four Avenues for Recovery in a Construction Site Accident Lawsuit

If you’ve been injured in a construction site accident, then you may be entitled to damages and/or benefits as compensation for your losses.  Recovery is not always straightforward, however, particularly as construction lawsuits may require a comprehensive evaluation and the subsequent pursuit of multiple different pathways for compensation.

As it’s not always possible for inexperienced accident victims to accurately determine whether they have an actionable claim under the law, we encourage potential claimants to work with a skilled Lancaster workplace injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about their legal rights and options under the law.

Let’s explore the different avenues for recovery.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation laws in Pennsylvania entitle construction workers who are actually in employer-employee relationships (not independent contractor relationships) to file a claim for benefits and receive compensation for their injuries.  It’s worth noting that these benefits do not cover non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering.  As such, the compensation tends to be substantially lower than what would be available through a traditional lawsuit.

Suing the Employer

Though workers’ compensation regulations prevent injured workers from bringing a lawsuit against their employer for injuries caused by mere negligence, reckless and intentional misconduct can give rise to an actionable claim (thus overcoming the workers’ compensation barrier to a lawsuit).  Whether you can sue the employer directly therefore depends quite a bit on the circumstances of your case.  If you can show that the employer was grossly negligent or intentionally caused you to suffer injuries (perhaps they intentionally cut corners on the maintenance of equipment in order to save some extra money, violating construction industry regulations), then you will be able to sue and recover against the employer.

Suing a Manufacturer

Many construction site accidents occur due to product defects — design, manufacturing, or a failure to warn of inherent dangers.  If, say, a ladder collapses due to a design defect, then you may be entitled to directly sue and recover damages from the ladder manufacturer, giving you an avenue for compensation that might not have existed otherwise.

Suing a Third-Party Individual or Company

On any given construction site, there are often other workers who are not employees of the same company — third-party subcontractors, delivery workers, etc.  If these third-parties played a role in causing your injuries, then you may have an actionable lawsuit against said defendants entitling you to damages in proportion to their contribution of fault.

For example, if a third-party delivery driver accidentally hits and injures you while turning into the construction site, then you might have an actionable claim against that driver and their employer.

Let a Lancaster Workplace Injury Lawyer Help You Today

Contact a knowledgeable Lancaster workplace injury lawyer today to discuss your legal rights and options.