What Should I Do if I was Injured at Work in Delaware County?
No one wants an injury or illness to happen at work, but accidents often do. Close to three out of every 100 workers are injured every year and about one-third of workers lose time at work to recuperate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Along with medical bills, injuries can result in lost time at work or reduced income. If that worker passes away, it may be the loss of the family’s social, emotional, and financial support.
Work accidents can be traumatic with long-lasting impacts on the health and ability to work in the future for the victim. Even worse, some are fatal. Thankfully, Pennsylvania law requires almost every employer to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, which provides benefits to victims for medical bills and other costs associated with the work injury, as well as lost income. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Workers’ Compensation insurance is beneficial for both workers and employers; while it provides a guarantee of help with medical bills and replaces lost income for the injured worker, it also buffers the employer from legal responsibility. Those injured at work should contact a Delaware County Workers’ Compensation lawyer. Insurance companies look for the least expensive payout to the worker and a Workers’ Compensation lawyer will fight for the benefits injured workers deserve.
When workers are hurt, the first step is to seek medical care to address the injury or illness and provide paperwork for the employer to get the claims process started. Ideally, the worker should report the incident to a supervisor right away. Pennsylvania law allows 120 days following a workplace incident for the report to be submitted. Some injuries may worsen over time, so it is best to not to sign anything without first consulting a lawyer. If the 120-day deadline is missed, the injured worker forfeits any compensation.
Who is Exempt from Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Pennsylvania law mandates that almost all employers carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, there are a few types of employers who are exempt, such as agricultural employers, domestic employees, and executives. Employers with their own type of Workers’ Compensation coverage are also exempt from state policies, which include railroad workers, longshoremen, and federal employees.
If an employer does not fall into an exempt category and does not carry Workers’ Compensation coverage, they could face criminal prosecution. The injured employees and the loved ones of those who died on the job can also file civil lawsuit against the employer. When injured workers or the family of a worker who died on the job or because of work conditions are told that Workers’ Compensation insurance is not available, consult a lawyer right away. Injured workers may fear filing a claim due to retribution or retaliation. These concerns should not hold an injured worker back from filing a claim.
Pennsylvania state law mandates that all employees be covered by their employer from the first day of employment. If you are injured at work and are urged not to file a claim, or told that your injury does not apply, contact a lawyer.
What is Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation is designed to cover the needs of the injured worker. The following is a breakdown of the benefits offered:
Medical benefits: Even if the injury or illness takes a long time to heal or treat and even if it results in death, the medical bills will come regularly. Injured workers may be continuing to need medical help after returning to work and this is covered., regardless of how long it takes.
Lost income: A worker can be compensated for any work missed due to their injuries. Wage loss benefits are about 60 percent of the worker’s salary before the injury.
Death benefits: These benefits are provided to the deceased’s family if the injured worker dies from the incident or illness.
Which Industries Result in the Most Injuries?
Roughly 40 percent of fatal work injuries result from transportation accidents, according to the BLS. A large percentage of the country’s workplace injuries are due to maneuvering work vehicles. When considering dangerous jobs, many people may think of first responders. Nursing assistants and health care workers are most likely to undergo work injuries, according to federal statistics. Many industries experienced restricted work hours, closures, or were asked to work remotely; health care workers and truck drivers were both in heavy demand during the pandemic.
Delivery services rely on staffers to safely deposit items that range from hundreds of pounds to express letters. It is a physically demanding job and one where the smallest mistake can result in an injury. In fields that involve factory work, machinery accidents are common. Additionally, in medical fields, patients that need to be picked up and moved can result in back injuries for workers.
What are Common Workplace Injuries?
While sprains, strains, and tears are the most common type of workplace injury in the U.S., injuries in that category are not as likely to result in multiple days of lost work than other workplace injuries, according to BLS data. While all injuries are different, as well as recuperation times, the following injuries usually cause people to lose the most time at work.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Sprains, strains, and tears
- Multiple traumatic injuries
- Soreness or pain
- Bruises and contusions
- Cuts, lacerations, and punctures
According to BLS data, fatal workplace injuries are increasing. The state of Pennsylvania, however, has been steadily decreasing its rate of fatal workplace injuries with 154 deaths in 2019.
Can I Sue My Employer for My Work Injury?
Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault system, which means it is meant to address the immediate and long-term needs of the injured person, regardless of who was at fault for the accident, while simultaneously eliminating legal and financial liabilities for the employer. In exchange for benefits, employees no longer have the right to sue their employer for a work injury.
Because some circumstances are more egregious than others and some injuries are more traumatic or possibly deadly, the victim may want further financial reparation for the loss. In this case, a worker may want to pursue a third-party liability claim against the company that made or installed a defective product that caused the worker’s injuries. These cases are notoriously difficult as manufacturers and installers are very likely to claim that the product was not being used correctly. It is best to consult with a Workers’ Compensation lawyer to find out one’s options.
Regarding a fatal workplace injury, the deceased’s family may accept death benefits, but also want to file a wrongful death suit. This type of lawsuit seeks financial compensation that will help the family cover medical bills and funeral arrangements. This is particularly needed for families that may have relied on that worker for financial support.
Delaware County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Help Injured Workers Receive the Benefits They Deserve
If you were injured at work, contact a Delaware County Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. We have a proven record of advocacy for injured workers and their families. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Norristown. For a free case evaluation, call 267-861-7100 or contact us online.