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. If you or a family member was injured at the workplace, contact one of our experienced attorneys today.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there was a total of 175 fatal work injuries in 2014. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor, an average of 15 people are killed each day, and 200 more are hospitalized as a result of suffering catastrophic injuries sustained while at work. Additional data released by the Bureau of Labor indicate that each year more than 2 million people sustain a work-related injury that prevents them from ever going back to work.
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:
- Medical benefits
- Specific-loss benefits (i.e., an injury that causes amputation or loss of movement in a body part)
- Death benefits (for the family of a worker that died in a workplace accident)
What are the most Common Industries for Workplace Injuries?
Not every job is as safe as another job. Those who work in industries that work outside and those professions that involved skilled labor tend to have a higher prevalence of injuries than those 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. Some of these injuries include:
Construction workers are constantly at risk of injury. From loose ladders to falling tools and debris, to overextension and exertion. It is easy to see why many accidents occur on the construction site. While there have been continuing efforts to
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
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.
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 lead 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. 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, also known as (OSHA) set forth guidelines that employers should follow in order to protect workers from injuries, and even death. Some of the more common workplace injuries include:
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
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 can cause your injuries, resulting in you having to miss work.
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 all 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.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
These 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.
While employers generally have a duty to protect their employees from suffering injuries while they are performing work and 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 utilizing intimidation tactics. One of the most prevalent intimidation tactics that employer’s use is to make a policy that if you fall then you are fired. 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 worker’s compensation or other benefits to cover your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and possibly death benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Requirements After an On the Job Injury in Philadelphia
Workplace injuries can occur under a variety of circumstances. However, 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 Pennsylvania can help a worker if they suffer an injury on the job.
To pursue a valid claim for workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania, an employee must be injured 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. However, an injury may not qualify for workers’ compensation if a person was injured in a scenario where they were 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 injured by machinery can void your claim to workers’ compensation.
Another scenario that can invalidate a claim for workman’s comp is when a worker is injured while intoxicated. For example, if a worker operates a forklift while drunk and 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 a worker’s intoxication caused their injury.
Note, however, 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:
- Construction accidents
- Fires and explosions
- Vehicle accidents (e.g., trucks, forklifts, etc.)
- Overexposure to dangerous chemicals
- Slip and fall accidents or falls from great heights
This is not an exhaustive list. To learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim with your employer, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Philadelphia workman’s comp attorney.
If You Were Injured at Work in Philadelphia, Our Attorneys Can Help
If you have been injured while working, do not wait to speak to an attorney. Our skilled workplace injury team and attorneys have over 34 years of experience handling claims of workplace injuries and understand the complex compensation laws and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We understand that when you have suffered a debilitating injury at work, you are concerned with being able to pay for your medical care, as well as being worried about supporting your family if you can no longer work. Let us put your mind at ease and help you with your job injury claim. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation at (215) 709-6940 or at Reiff and.com, and we will put you on the road to recovery.