Philadelphia Workplace Injury Lawyer
Workplace accidents can be unexpected and can cause an employee to miss a substantial amount of time at work. Additionally, an employee could suffer a serious injury that could leave them with expensive medical bills that can be difficult to manage. Fortunately, an injured worker may be able to file a valid claim for Workers’ Compensation to cover their injuries.
Workplace accidents happen quite regularly in Philadelphia. While rates of accidents vary by industry, they are most common in the construction and manufacturing industries. Injuries sustained in workplace accidents vary from case to case. Common causes of on-the-job injuries include auto accidents, falls, and defective machinery. Most workplace accidents qualify employees to recover Workers’ Compensation benefits in Philadelphia. If your employer does not have workplace liability insurance, you can file a lawsuit against them to recover compensation for your injuries.
To schedule a free case review with The Reiff Law Firm, call our Philadelphia workplace injury lawyers today at (215) 709-6940.
What to Do After a Workplace Injury in Philadelphia
After a workplace accident, your top priority is to receive medical attention for your injuries. Your employer should have a list of authorized healthcare providers that can treat your injuries. However, if you are severely injured, securing medical treatment from an outside healthcare provider is appropriate.
Once you have received medical attention, it is imperative to inform your employer of the details of the accident. This injury report should include the date of the injury, the cause of the injury, where the injury occurred, and whether the employee was working when the accident happened.
If an employee waits a significant amount of time before reporting the injury to their employer, this could affect their ability to receive benefits. An employer should be apprised of the details of the accident as soon as possible to begin the process of applying for Workers’ Compensation.
After informing an employer of the injury, the employer will refer the employee to a healthcare provider authorized by their insurance company. The healthcare provider will examine the extent of the employee’s injuries to determine whether they qualify for benefits.
There are multiple benefits available if a worker prevails in a Workers’ Compensation claim, including medical benefits, specific-loss benefits (i.e., an injury that causes amputation or loss of movement in a body part), wage-loss benefits, and death benefits (for the family of a worker that died in a workplace accident).
What Are the Most Common Industries for Workplace Injuries in Philadelphia?
Some jobs are more dangerous than others. Those who work in industries that require them to work outside and professions that involve skilled labor tend to have a higher prevalence of injuries than professions that are wholly indoors. While a workplace injury can happen in any profession and to any worker, there are certain industries that tend to have a higher rate of workplace injuries. For example, the construction and manufacturing industries see some of the highest rates of workplace accidents in Philadelphia and the rest of the country.
Construction workers are constantly at risk of injury. From loose ladders to falling tools and debris, to overextension and exertion, construction injuries are exceedingly common. It is easy to see why many accidents occur on construction sites. While there have been continuing efforts to improve safety within the construction industry, it remains one of the most dangerous industries for workplace accidents in Philadelphia. For example, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, there were 29 fatal injuries in the construction industry in Pennsylvania.
Manufacturing jobs can be quite diverse, from those making materials for cars and computers, to those who are making food products to be sent to restaurants and facilities. However, because of the wide range of jobs that fall under the manufacturing category, injuries are prevalent throughout the industry.
Commercial and Industrial Machinery
While operating and/or repairing any machinery or equipment can lead to injuries, but working with commercial and industrial machinery has been shown to have a much higher rate of injury than other fields.
Pennsylvania has a booming mining industry that is robust despite the perceived notion that mining is a thing of the past. In 2019, for example, there were 19 fatal work-related accidents in the natural resources and mining industries in Pennsylvania, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Working with animals is hard and can lead to many injuries. Surprisingly, there were more non-fatal injuries in veterinary services in 2014 than there were in construction. Each job has a unique set of challenges that a worker must handle. However, no one is exempt from the possibility that they may be injured in an accident. While increases in safety measures have led to a decrease in the amount of work related injuries leading to death, non-fatal injuries continue to pose a problem for workers.
What Are Common Workplace Injuries in Philadelphia?
Each injury is unique to the worker who experiences it. Some of the more common workplace injuries include overexertion, broken bones, and repetitive motion injuries.
Pulling, lifting, and twisting while pushing or pulling heavy objects can lead to an injury known as overexertion. These types of injuries are one of the most common work-related injuries across all industries, but especially so in construction, manufacturing, and landscaping.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Many jobs require their employees to use cars and vehicles to get from site to site. However, anytime you are on the road there is the chance that you will be involved in a motor vehicle accident. Even if you are a careful driver, another driver’s negligence might cause your injuries, resulting in you having to miss work. Construction workers that work near roads are also at a high risk of being hurt in motor vehicle accidents in Philadelphia. Car accidents might cause a variety of injuries, including whiplash and broken bones.
Slips, trips, and falls are also very common types of workplace injury and a common injury throughout all of the Pennsylvania. Every industry is affected by slip, trip, and fall injuries, including those who work in office buildings. Any fall can produce severe injuries, however, certain workers are exposed to more danger if their job entails them performing work at any height above the ground floor. The construction industry is one of the most dangerous industries for fall accidents. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over one-third of all construction deaths in 2021 were due to falls, trips, and slips, which was a 5.9% increase from the previous year. Even minor falls can cause serious injuries, such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries are more prevalent amongst construction industry and manufacturing workers, however, any worker who performs the same task in a repetitive fashion throughout the day can experience these injuries.
What Employers Must Do to Prevent Workplace Injuries in Philadelphia
While no two injuries are alike and it is impossible to prevent all workplace injuries, how an employer goes about preventing an injury can be a determinative factor in whether or not an injury will occur. Employers are required to maintain a safe working environment for their employees and organizations such as the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines that employers should follow in order to protect workers from injuries, and even death.
While employers generally have a duty to protect their employees from suffering injuries while they are performing work on the job site, many times employers will attempt to skirt their duties and obligations by not providing the most up-to-date safety equipment or by utilizing intimidation tactics. One of the most prevalent intimidation tactics that employers use is to threaten employees with job termination should they fall from a ladder. There is a saying in the construction industry, that if you fall off a ladder you are fired before you hit the ground. This is a clear attempt by employers to avoid their duty to provide a safe working space and shift liability to a worker. While these practices do not actually prevent an injured worker from recovering for their damages, they do place workers in a bad position.
If your job injury arises during the scope of your employment duties, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation or other benefits to cover your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and possibly death benefits. If your employer threatens or intimidates you during the process of a Workers’ Compensation claim or lawsuit, inform our workplace injury lawyers right away.
Valid and Invalid Workers’ Compensation Claims in Philadelphia
Workplace injuries can occur under a variety of circumstances. There are some circumstances that may prevent a worker from receiving Workers’ Compensation for their injuries. Understanding the requirements when filing for Workers’ Compensation in Philadelphia can help a worker if they suffer an injury on the job.
To pursue a valid claim for Workers’ Compensation in Philadelphia, an employee must be injured when operating within the scope of their employment, whether they were working on-site or off-site. For example, if a truck driver is injured while transporting materials, this would be a scenario where they would qualify for Workers’ Compensation despite being off-site.
Note that fault for a workplace accident will not affect an employee’s benefits as long as the accident was not the result of the above circumstances. This means that even if an employee caused their own injury, this would not disqualify them from receiving Workers’ Compensation.
There are a variety of workplace accidents that can be covered with Workers’ Compensation including construction accidents, fires and explosions, vehicle accidents (e.g., trucks, forklifts, etc.), overexposure to dangerous chemicals, and slip and fall accidents or falls from great heights.
Although a truck driver could file a Workers’ Compensation claim if they were injured when delivering packages, an injury may not qualify for Workers’ Compensation if a person was injured when commuting to or from work.
Additionally, an injury at the workplace may not qualify for Workers’ Compensation if the injury was intentionally self-inflicted. For example, orchestrating a scam to be injured by a coworker or machinery can void your claim for Workers’ Compensation.
Another scenario that can invalidate a claim for Workers’ Compensation is when a worker is injured while intoxicated. For example, if a worker operates a forklift while drunk, causes a crash, and suffers a severe injury, the accident will likely be attributed to their intoxication. The use of drugs that can affect the reactions and judgment of a person can also be considered when determining whether or not a worker’s intoxication caused their injury.
Workplace Injuries and Transitional Jobs in Philadelphia
Sometimes, employers might offer workers transitional jobs as they recover from workplace accidents. Injured employees should be wary of such offers and consult our attorneys before accepting transitional jobs in Philadelphia.
Suppose you are temporarily disabled because of a workplace injury and cannot return to your previous level of employment immediately. In that case, you might be given the opportunity to work a transitional job. This job will provide you with a lesser income than you previously earned but could allow you to resume somewhat normal daily activity as you recover. The downside? A transitional job could lower the wage-loss benefits you receive in Philadelphia.
Furthermore, taking a transitional job when your employer does not have workplace liability insurance could harm your ability to recover compensation via a lawsuit, whether your claim is against your employer or a negligent third party. While transitional jobs can be helpful to injured workers in some cases, they can seriously harm workers’ abilities to recover compensatory damages in others.
What to Do After Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim in Philadelphia?
Even if you are approved for Workers’ Compensation benefits in Philadelphia, your benefits could be revoked anytime, provided your employer or their insurer has proof of your improved recovery.
After filing a claim for work injury benefits in Philadelphia, it is important that you continue to get the necessary treatment for your injuries and document your recovery. Your employer or their insurer might periodically request updated medical records to confirm that you still require benefits. If you cannot provide such records in a timely fashion, your benefits might be revoked or your eligibility to receive them called into question.
Should such circumstances arise, our attorneys can help you compile the necessary information proving that you still require regular Workers’ Compensation benefits in Philadelphia.
When Can You Sue for a Workplace Injury in Philadelphia?
Only in certain circumstances can an injured worker file a lawsuit instead of an insurance claim following an on-the-job accident in Philadelphia. When employees are under the impression that suing is never an option, they could miss out on an opportunity to recover greater compensation than what an insurance claim can provide.
Like in many states, filing a claim with an employer’s workplace liability insurance is often the sole method of recovery for injured workers in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia. However, if your employer fails to get insurance as required by law, they will no longer be immune to civil action. This means you might be able to file a lawsuit against your employer to recover compensation for your injuries and expenses, including lost wages, medical bills, and other out-of-pocket costs. Filing a lawsuit against your employer may also enable you to recover compensation for pain and suffering, which would be unavailable in a Workers’ Compensation claim. Remember, suing your employer directly will only be possible if they do not comply with workplace liability insurance requirements in Philadelphia.
Even if your employer has the proper insurance, you might be able to file a lawsuit. Suppose you were injured because of a negligent third party, like a driver or manufacturer. Such individuals will not be shielded from litigation in the same way employers with insurance are in Philadelphia. Our workplace injury lawyers will assess your case to determine if someone other than your employer is to blame for your injuries. If a third party is at fault, you will be able to file a workplace injury claim within two years of your accident. Like employer lawsuits, third-party claims can result in compensation for economic and non-economic damages for injured workers. If a third party acted with gross negligence in causing a victim’s injuries, a victim might also recover punitive damages in Philadelphia.
If You Were Injured at Work in Philadelphia, Our Attorneys Can Help
To have our workplace injury lawyers assess your case for free, call The Reiff Law Firm now at (215) 709-6940.