Thousands of people throughout Pennsylvania and Philadelphia are injured or killed at work. If you, your husband or wife, or one of your family members was injured at work in Philadelphia, or if a loved one was killed in a fatal job-related accident, financial compensation may be available under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. While workers’ compensation can provide financial security for you and your family, it’s often difficult for injury victims to get benefits – even when they are qualified. Workers’ compensation laws are very complex, and unfortunately, it is not uncommon for injured workers to face obstacles like improper claim denials, inaccurate medical diagnoses, employer retaliation, and delays in receiving benefits.
The Reiff Law Firm can make sure that your claim is filed properly, that your employer does not violate your legal rights, and that you receive robust representation at any workers’ compensation hearing you are required to attend. Our Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys handle workers’ compensation claims on behalf of injured workers throughout Philadelphia, including South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, Center City, and Philadelphia’s suburbs. For a free consultation about how we can help with your claim, please contact our office at (215) 709-6940.
What Types of Job Accidents Covered by “Workman’s Comp”?
It’s a common misconception that only certain types of injuries or accidents will entitle an employee to workers’ compensation. In reality, a wide array of accidents and injuries are covered under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, which applies to virtually all Philadelphia-based employers with a few narrow exceptions. Generally speaking, a work-related injury is covered as long as the following facts are true:
- The injury occurred while the employee was working, whether on-site or off-site
- The injury was not intentionally self-inflicted
- The injury did not result from the worker’s own intoxication
- The worker is covered by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, which is true of most employees in Pennsylvania
- The worker promptly reported the injury to his or her employer (failure to report an injury to the employer may result in the denial of the workers’ compensation claim)
Otherwise, it generally does not matter exactly how an injury occurred or who is at fault for the injury. However, it must be an injury that occurred at work or was caused by the conditions experienced at work. Common workplace accidents that may be covered under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation laws include:
- Accidents at Work Functions and Events
- Airport Accidents
- Building Collapse Accidents
- Chemical Exposure Accidents
- Company Car Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Factory Accidents
- Falls from Heights
- Fires and Explosions
- Industrial Spill Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Warehouse and Manufacturing Accidents
- Workplace Assault and Violence
Types of Injuries Covered Under Workers’ Compensation in Philadelphia
These and other work-related accidents can produce hundreds of different injuries or result in the death of the victim. Examples of workplace injuries that may entitle the victim to benefits include:
- Amputation Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Bone Fractures
- Burn Injuries
- Cancer and Other Occupational Diseases
- Chemical Exposure Injuries
- Cuts and Lacerations
- Dislocated Joints
- Elbow Injuries
- Electrical Shocks
- Foot and Ankle Injuries
- Hand and Wrist Injuries
- Hearing Loss (Deafness)
- Heart Attack
- Hip Injuries
- Knee Injuries
- Nerve Damage
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Shoulder Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Torn Ligaments
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Vision Loss (Blindness)
What Benefits Does the Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation System Provide?
The workers’ compensation system in Philadelphia provides a range of different benefits. The types of workers’ compensation benefits that may be available in your case must be analyzed by an experienced attorney, but will depend on the nature of your injury, and how you were financially and medically impacted as a result. Possible workers’ compensation benefits for injured workers in Philadelphia, or for their dependents in cases of fatal injury, include the following:
If your husband, wife, or close relative suffered a fatal injury related to his or her job, death benefits are likely available. Our workers’ compensation attorneys in Philadelphia can help provide support and guide your family through this difficult time.
Serious injuries will require a doctor’s visit and follow-up care, at a minimum. Serious injuries may also require surgery, prescription drugs, and rehabilitative treatment. Workers’ compensation can cover these medical costs.
If you lose the use of certain abilities or body parts through amputation or other injuries, including your sense of sight or hearing, you can receive compensation for the reduction in your quality of life. Specific loss benefits are generally awarded in addition to other workers’ compensation benefits. Working with a workers’ comp lawyer in Philadelphia can help ensure that you present the evidence effectively to maximize compensation.
If your job-related injury caused you to miss time from work, work fewer hours, or take on a lower paying position at the company, you are likely entitled to wage-loss benefits. However, the proof required will vary on the basis of each claim. Working with an attorney who understands the type and volume of evidence required to secure wage benefits can make a significant difference in your likelihood of success.
Third-Party Workplace Personal Injury Claims in Philadelphia
There are instances when a person is injured at work and it is because of someone who is neither their employer nor co-worker. When this occurs, the injured worker could be entitled to file a third-party injury claim.
Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to cover your medical expenses and a percentage of your lost income. These benefits are important and allow an injured employee to receive compensation without having to prove that another party was negligent. An injured worker is also likely to receive their workers’ compensation benefits within a much shorter period of time. However, these benefits come with a trade-off. In Pennsylvania, if you are injured at work, you are prohibited from filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. This means that an injured employee will probably not be compensated for their pain and suffering. However, through a third-party injury claim, an injured employee could hold another party liable for their injuries, including pain and suffering. In addition, an injured employee is only entitled to a percentage of their lost wages through workers’ compensation benefits. If successful in a third-party personal injury claim, an injured worker could be compensated for all their lost income. If you were hurt on the job, speak with our Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney to determine if you are eligible for benefits and to file a third-party claim.
Types of Work-Related Accidents in Philadelphia
As seen above, people are injured at work in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes, an injury is caused by a third-party who could be held accountable. Below are some common types of accidents that give rise to third-party personal injury lawsuits.
One of the most common causes of work-related injuries that result in third-party claims are car accidents. When a car accident occurs in the scope or course of your employment, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and a third-party claim. For instance, if you have to travel to another office in the middle of the day, you are in the course of your employment. Should another driver rear-end your vehicle, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. You could also file a third-party personal injury claim against the at-fault driver and their insurance provider.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are another common cause of injuries in the workplace. If you slip and fall on property owned or managed by your employer, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You do not have the grounds for a third-party lawsuit. However, if you are working off-site and the property is not owned or managed by your employer, you could be eligible to file a personal injury claim. For example, if you work for an IT company and were working at a client’s office and tripped on an uneven surface, you could have a third-party claim against the property owner or manager. Because you were in the course of your employment, you are should also be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Some common causes of slip and falls include poorly maintained sidewalks or stairs, uncleaned spills, failing to shovel walkways, and uneven flooring or carpets.
Construction sites are some of the most dangerous work environments in Philadelphia. They also present many unique circumstances to hold third-parties liable for any injuries. If you are working as a subcontractor and not an employee, you could be eligible to file a third-party claim if you were injured through another’s negligence. For example, another company could have been hired to erect scaffolding. If the scaffolding was improperly installed and an injury occurred, you might be able to the installation or scaffolding company liable for your damages.
Defective Products, Tools, or Equipment
Nearly every job requires the use of some tools or equipment. Some work-related equipment is more dangerous than others. However, there is an anticipation that any device or piece of equipment will function the way it was intended. When a power tool malfunctions, an injury could occur. A defective office chair could also cause a serious back or neck injury. When a product is improperly manufactured or has a design defect, the company that produced it could be held responsible through a third-party lawsuit.
Proving Negligence in a Third-Party Claim in Philadelphia
One of the most significant advantages of a workers’ compensation claim is that the injured employee only has to demonstrate that they were hurt in the course of their employment. They are not required to prove another party caused their injury. However, in a third-party claim, an injured worker will have to establish that the defendant was legally negligent. To do this, our Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney will have to demonstrate four elements.
- The defendant owed the injured worker a duty of care
- The defendant breached this duty
- The defendant’s actions caused the injury
- The injured worker suffered actual damages
If you want to win a personal injury claim and recover damages, you will have to prove each of these four elements.
For example, suppose you were driving to an off-site location to service a client’s computer network. During the drive, your car was struck by another driver who ignored a red light. Because of the impact, you suffered a broken leg and other injuries that would keep you out of work for a few weeks. First, because you were in the course of your employment, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, you also have the basis for a third-party claim against the at-fault driver.
Every driver in Philadelphia has a duty to operate their vehicle safely, not causing others harm. Therefore, the first element has been satisfied. When the at-fault driver ignored the red light, they violated the obligation they owed others. Any reasonable driver would know that driving through a red light is likely to cause an accident and injuries.
The force of the collision caused your injuries satisfying the third element. Finally, your injuries resulted in medical expenses and lost wages, or actual damages. Given these facts, you would likely prevail in a third-party claim. Unfortunately, very few personal injury claims are as cut and dry as the above example. This is why, if you are injured at work, you need an experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney to evaluate your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help
Our workers’ compensation lawyers are dedicated to assisting Philadelphians who have suffered workplace injuries. Whether your injury was caused by a vehicular accident, exposure to volatile chemicals, or another workplace condition or event, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers can help you assess your injury and your likelihood of securing compensation. To schedule a free consultation, call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940.