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    Archive for the ‘Workplace Injuries’ Category

    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.

    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.

    Work-Related Injuries: Exercises for Back Pain Relief

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of more than 1 million workers, back injuries account for nearly 20 percent of all injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Only the common cold accounts for more lost days of work. The leading causes of work-related back injuries include exerting too much force on your back, repetition of certain movements, especially those that involve twisting or rotating your spine, and inactivity. 

    Safe lifting and load-carrying techniques are essential to preventing back injuries in the workplace. Unfortunately, most workers do not consistently use these back safety techniques, placing themselves at significant risk. Back injuries are actually easily preventable with care and exercise. The most common types of job-related back injuries are:

    • Lower back strains and sprains
    • Bulging or slipped discs
    • Pinched nerves
    • Fractured vertebrae
    • Degenerative disc disease
    • Strains
    • Sprains
    • Herniated discs

    Still, if you have suffered a work-related back injury in Pennsylvania, let the Lancaster hurt at work attorneys at Vanasse Law LLC help you recover the just compensation to which you’re entitled.

    Back Pain Exercises

    There are a variety of exercises you can perform to strengthen your back and prevent work-related back injuries. Some of these include:

    • Lying Lateral Leg Lifts. Lying lateral leg lifts helps work your hip abductor muscles, which support the pelvis and help reduce strain on the back. Keeping these muscles strong helps you maintain your balance and allow more mobility.
    • Seated Lower Back Rotational Stretches. These exercises help relieve pain, work the core muscles, and strengthen the lower back.
    • Lower Back Rotational Stretches. A lower back rotational stretch can help you relieve tension in your lower back and your trunk. It gently works the core to improve stability.
    • Bridges. Bridges strengthen the gluteus maximus, which is the large buttocks muscle. You engage this muscle when you move your hips, especially when you bend into a squat. The gluteus maximus is among the most important muscles in your body, and keeping it strong can help you support your lower back.
    • Draw-In Exercises. The draw-in maneuver works the transversus abdominis, which is the broad paired muscular sheet found on the lateral sides of the abdominal wall. This muscle is on the front and side of the abdomen, stabilizing the spine and lower back region.
    • Knee-to-Chest Stretches. Knee-to-chest stretch helps elongate the lower back, relieving tension and pain.
    • Pelvic Tilts. Pelvic tilt exercises help release tight back muscles and keep them flexible.

    Contact the Lancaster Hurt at Work Lawyers for More information on Back Injuries

    Back injuries are far too common in the workplace, even though they’re generally preventable with proper safety measures and exercise. Nonetheless, when they do happen, they can result in significant pain with far-reaching consequences. If you’ve suffered from a back injury as a result of a work-related accident, contact the Lancaster hurt at work lawyers at Vanasse Law LLC for a same-day response and a free consultation.

    Tips for Preventing Workplace Injuries

    Workplace injuries are far too common, considering how preventable most of them are. Throughout the day, some workers think about things that have nothing to do with work, such as what they’re doing after work, how many hours they have left to work that day, their weekend plans, or, quite commonly, how they’re not getting paid enough in this economy. But that’s just human nature.

    If you have been injured or suffered illness on the job in Pennsylvania, let the Lancaster hurt at work lawyers at Vanasse Law LLC help you recover what you’re entitled to under Pennsylvania workers’ comp laws.

    Common Workplace Injuries

    Both employers and employees have a vested interest in preventing workplace injuries. To accomplish this, it’s good to know what to look out for. Some of the most common workplace injuries/illnesses include:

    • Slips, trips, and falls
    • Falling objects 
    • Repetitive strain injuries from repetitive motions 
    • Crashes and collisions 
    • Cuts and lacerations
    • Strained muscles
    • Mental trauma like anxiety or depression

    How to Avoid Common Workplace Injuries

    The best way to avoid the costs and resources necessary to deal with workplace injuries is to avoid them altogether. Some simple steps you can take to prevent workplace injuries include:

    • Remain Alert. Stay alert while you’re performing your job duties so that you can increase your productivity and avoid being hurt or causing harm to others.
    • Be an Active Listener. Listen and participate in emergency drills so that you’ll instinctively know how to act in the event of an actual emergency.
    • Follow the Safety Program. Safety programs at your workplace are implemented for a reason, and that is to keep you and your co-workers safe. Adherence to safety programs is almost always mandatory.
    • Be Aware. Be aware of possible causes of accidents so that management can address these issues and prevent injuries before they have a chance of actually happening.
    • Communicate. Actively communicate with your supervisor about the possible risks inherent in certain tasks if you feel they may be dangerous.
    • Know Your Limitations. You may enjoy the challenge of a particular job that you’re unfamiliar with, but taking a high-risk position that you haven’t been trained for is quite dangerous to yourself and others.
    • Observe the Post Signs. Safety awareness signs are often posted in the workplace to help prevent injuries. Don’t simply ignore them.
    • Be Safe Rather Than Sorry. Don’t do anything that puts your safety and the safety of others at risk, even if others may scoff. It’s better to appear timid and safe than reckless and injured.
    • Adhere to the Dress Code. Dress codes in the workplace are often as much about safety as they are about professional appearance. Always wear the appropriate safety uniform and other required protective equipment when you’re working for your own safety as much as anything.
    • Ask Questions. When you are unsure about how to proceed concerning some task, ask questions until you understand.

    Contact the Lancaster Hurt at Work Lawyers for More Information About Avoiding Workplace Injuries

    Injuries at work are, to a certain extent, unavoidable. However, they can be drastically reduced in terms of numbers and seriousness by following the workplace safety tips described above. If you’ve been injured at work, contact the Lancaster hurt at work lawyers at Vanasse Law LLC for a same-day response.

    About Workplace-Related Mental Injuries

    Although the Workers’ Compensation Act language indicates that psychological or mental work injuries are compensable, different states interpret the language differently — some more strictly than others. In the strict interpretation states, mental injuries like stress and anxiety are not compensated for. However, Pennsylvania is more progressive than many other states regarding mental injury claims. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry describes when and what type of mental injuries are compensable under Pennsylvania’s workers’ comp laws.

    If you have suffered a mental injury on the job in Pennsylvania, let a Lancaster work injury lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC help you recover your rightful financial compensation.

    Mental Injury Claims in Pennsylvania

    If you have suffered a work-related mental injury in Pennsylvania, your claim will likely be categorized as follows: 

    • Physical-Mental Injury: A mental injury that is a result of a physical event is known as a physical-mental injury. For example, if you have suffered a work-related injury caused by using a particular piece of machinery, using that machinery again may create anxiety or fear to the extent that you cannot effectively do your job.
    • Mental-Physical Injury: Mental distress or anxiety can also result in physical injuries. For example, If there is an aspect of your job that is so important that failure to perform it would result in termination, the resulting anxiety and stress may affect you physically in the form of, for example, severe or migraine headaches, ulcers, or even heart attacks.
    • Mental-Mental Injury: Pennsylvania is one of the more progressive states that recognizes mental-mental injuries for worker’s compensation purposes. A mental-mental injury is an injury that develops due to some psychological trauma experienced in the workplace. For example, say the market where you work was robbed or there was a shooting incident or an explosion that occurred at your workplace. These types of incidents can cause serious anxiety or depression, especially if you feel that your life has been endangered.

    Who Can Claim Mental Injury in Pennsylvania?

    In Pennsylvania, any individual or business employing more than one person is required to participate in the Pennsylvania workers’ comp system. So, most workers are eligible for mental injury claims.

    However, unless there is a physical injury that directly causes a mental injury, injured workers may be required to prove that the mental injury resulted from an “abnormal” working condition. This may be difficult to prove, and you’ll need the help of a Lancaster work injury lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC to maximize your chances of recovering compensation in these types of difficult situations. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other symptoms of mental illnesses may be hard to detect, but their effect on workers can be just as serious as physical injuries.

    Let a Lancaster Work Injury Lawyer Help With Your Mental Injury Claim in Pennsylvania

    Mental injuries can be every bit as serious as physical injuries. Nonetheless, they can be problematic if workers’ comp claims for these injuries are challenged. If you’ve suffered any type of mental injury at work, contact a Lancaster work injury lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC for a same-day response.

    About Work-Related Illnesses

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “an ‘occupational disease’ is any disease contracted primarily as a result of…exposure to risk factors arising from work activity. ‘Work-related diseases’ have multiple causes, where factors in the work environment may play a role, together with other risk factors, in the development of such diseases.”

    Discussion of workers’ comp issues revolves around work-related injuries, but work-related illnesses can be just as dangerous and arguably more damaging in the long run. Furthermore, work-related illnesses can be harder to prove than a bodily injury claim. This is why it is a good idea to contact a Lancaster workers’ comp attorney for a free case evaluation. If you have what you suspect may be a work-related illness, Vanasse Law LLC can help.

    What Are Some Common Work-Related Illnesses?

    Some common work-related illnesses include:

    • Respiratory illness
    • Black lung disease
    • Rotator cuff syndrome
    • Carpal tunnel
    • Bursitis
    • Tendinitis
    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Rotator cuff injuries
    • Stress-related mental health disorders
    • Various types of cancer, such as mesothelioma or asbestosis.

    How Do I Prove a Work-Related Illness?

    The main obstacle facing work-related illnesses is that for any particular illness or condition, you have to show it is indeed “work-related.” In other words, you have to show a link between the illness or your job. For example, black lung disease is caused by inhaling coal dust over a long period of time. 

    If you are a miner working for decades in a coal mine, there is little doubt that your work caused black lung disease. However, if you work in an office building a block or so down the road, showing the link can start to become more difficult.

    Furthermore, unlike an injury, there is typically not a single “triggering event” that leads to a work-related illness. The illness may not develop into noticeable symptoms for months, years, or even decades after exposure to an illness-causing toxin.  This makes it even more difficult to show a clear link between the job and the illness.

    This difficult situation becomes even more difficult if exposure to some toxin at work merely exacerbated a pre-existing illness, as it is not only difficult to establish the link between work and the illness, but you also have to be able to show how much of the illness was pre-existing, and how much was compounded by your exposure at work.

    Contact a Lancaster Job Injury Lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC for Help With Your Job-Related Illness

    Despite these challenges, there is good news. The Lancaster job injury attorneys Vanasse Law LLC are experienced in this area. If you have suffered a work-related illness, let us help. Handling workers’ comp claims is all we do. Our experienced workers’ comp attorneys will help you examine your legal options, which may include third-party claims, and guide you through the claims process.

    Let us help. Contact us online. You will receive 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.