Workers Compensation

Media pa workers compensation lawyers

If you have suffered a workplace injury, work related injury or become ill at work in Pennsylvania you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law your employers’ workers compensation insurance pays for medical care, rehabilitation, and some wage replacement if you have to miss work. To successfully obtain these benefits, you must file a workers’ compensation claim and adhere to all guidelines and timeframes. Filing a workers comp claim is a very complex task and warrants the help of a skilled Media Pennsylvania workers compensation lawyers serving all of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Contact our Delaware County, Pennsylvania workers compensation lawyers today to discuss filing your claim. They will handle all administrative aspects of your claim so that you can focus on your recovery and get back to work. Our legal team serves the entire Philadelphia area including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

Filing a PA Workers Compensation Claim

The first thing you should do if injured at work is get immediate medical care. Even if you think your injury, or injuries, do not need require medical care you should go to the emergency room, urgent care center or see your primary care provider. Our West Chester workers’ compensation lawyers can help you get the medical care you need as part of your workers’ comp case.

Once you have gotten appropriate medical care the next thing you need to do is inform your employer of your injury. In many cases this is done at the time of the injury and or at the scene of the injury. This is a tricky part of processing a workers’ comp claim, since states have different limits on the number of days you have to notify your employer; in most states, the limit is one month, but the range is from a few days to two years. In Pennsylvania you need to notify your employer, supervisor or manager in writing as soon as possible in writing (when possible). If you have any concerns about contacting your employer do not hesitate to call our Springfield Pennsylvania workers compensation lawyers.

Should your employer refuse to cooperate with you in filing a workers’ compensation claim, which sometimes happens, a call to our Media, Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers will help. We will handle everything regarding filing your claim and that includes dealing with a difficult employer and their insurance company.

In most cases your employer will have claim forms for you to fill out. Once completed they will need to be submitted. From there it then becomes your employer’s responsibility to submit the paperwork to the proper insurance carrier. Depending on state law, you—rather than your employer—may need to file a separate claim with your state’s workers’ compensation agency. There is a time limit on this, too—often a year after injury. Again, this is something our team of Upper Darby Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys will help with on your behalf.

If your claim is not disputed by your employer or its insurance carrier, it will be approved and an adjuster for the insurance company will typically contact you or your employer with instructions on how to submit your medical bills for payment. But be prepared; things do not always go smoothly. The employer, in an attempt to keep workers’ comp rates from skyrocketing, may fight your right to benefits. The best way you can counteract such disputes is by producing good documentation, including complete medical records, of your injury and treatment. And the easiest way to handle this is to retain our experienced West Chester Pennsylvania workers compensation lawyers.

If your injury is not permanent and does not cause you to lose income, getting payment for your medical bills will probably be the extent of your claim; there won’t be much else for you to do. If you are temporarily unable to work because of your injury, you will also begin receiving checks to cover your wage loss—typically within a week or two after your claim is approved. Your employer will notify the insurance company to stop sending you wage-replacement checks as soon as you recover and return to work. Again, it behooves you to reach out to our Marple Township workers compensation lawyers.

What Work Injuries Are Covered In Pennsylvania?

Not all injuries are covered under PA Workers’ Compensation Law even if the injury happened “on the job.” In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in order for an injury to be covered,  the harm suffered by the employee must have been caused by an “accidental personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment.” Those words from the Pennsylvania statute are VERY important. Just because a person is hurt “while working,” “on the job” or “at work” may not be enough for the insurance to apply. Additionally, if you can prove that you have an occupational disease you may be entitled to Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits. Our Springfield Pennsylvania workers compensation lawyers are here to help you get the benefits and compensation you deserve.

For a compensable accidental injury claim, the injury must “arise out of the employment”. If the conditions under which the work is required to be performed by the employer causes the worker’s injury, it is said to “arise out of” the employment. The focus of this factor is on the exposure of the employee to risk or danger because of the job requirements. For example, if a person must work in an environment that is usually wet and slippery–for instance, a car wash facility or a water amusement ride at an entertainment park–then a slip-and-fall injury experienced by that worker could be said to arise out of the person’s employment.

For a compensable accidental injury claim, the injury must also “be in the course of employment.” “In the course of employment” is a slightly different factor. Here the attention centers on the time, place and circumstances of the injury. If the injury occurs during the period of time when an employee was at work, the employer’s place of business or such other location as may have been designated by the employer, and while the employee was performing their job duties or something related to them when the injury took place, the injury is said to have arisen in the course of that person’s employment.

If all of the above factors are satisfied -and that’s not always easy to determine initially- a worker’s injury will generally be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Frequently, an investigation of the claim is necessary. If a worker believes they have sustained a compensable injury, an Employee Claim may be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Commission to receive a determination regarding the type and amount of any benefits to which the worker may be entitled. Initial determinations that may have been made by insurance carriers are not binding on the Commission.

The legislature of each State determines the type and amount of benefits which are payable under workers’ compensation insurance, just as the various States differ in determining what kinds of injuries are compensable and which are not. Based upon the laws enacted in each State the insurance companies who provide this type of insurance coverage consider the probabilities of injury for different occupational categories and set their premium rates accordingly. This is the amount charged to employers for their workers’ compensation insurance. The Workers’ Compensation Commission does not establish rates of premiums, nor does the Commission itself provide insurance coverage. Workers’ compensation payments are not taxable to the employee as income.

Who Is Covered Per The PA Workers Comp Act?  

In determining whether an injury falls under the coverage of workers’ compensation the first thing to understand is that this law protects only employees. In Pennsylvania, the Workers’ Compensation Act provides legal guidance on who is a covered employee and employer. A genuine employer-employee relationship must exist. Some businesses are set up in such a way that some persons don’t actually work for the business but work with it as independent contractors. Other businesses don’t have any employees because they are a sole-proprietorship or partnership. Persons in these categories, if they want workers’ compensation insurance, may elect to be covered and can obtain the necessary insurance. There is a statutory procedure for electing coverage.

Work Related Injuries & Occupational Diseases

If there is an employer-employee relationship between the worker and their company, the next factor considered is if the injury was an accident. An accidental injury is one that happens “by chance or without design, taking place unexpectedly or unintentionally.”

Exceptions to the accident requirement are occupational diseases. These are illnesses caused by the nature of the circumstances surrounding the worker’s job. For example, asbestosis is a disease that may have been caused by a worker’s job of removing asbestos from buildings. Some forms of skin, eye or lung disease may have been caused by long term exposure to chemical solvents or other solutions used on the job. Conditions such as these may result in the employee’s being covered by workers’ compensation even though there was no specific “accident;” they are covered as occupational diseases.

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Temporary Total Disability Benefits:  This is the period of time frequently referred to as the “healing period”. If an employee’s injury has resulted in a disability that prevents the person from returning to work at all -that is, the person is completely disabled for all work purposes- then the employee may receive temporary total disability payments. If the period of disability is fourteen (14) days or less then the compensation benefit payments may not be allowed for the first three (3) days of disablement except for payments for hospital, nursing or other medical services, funeral expenses or medicine. If the period of temporary disability lasts for more than fourteen (14) days, then the compensation is allowed from the date of disability.

Temporary Partial Disability Benefits: These are benefits to which an injured employee may be entitled during the process of recovery when the worker during a temporary period is NOT totally disabled. They are intended to be temporary and generally apply when the worker can only perform limited or part-time duties at a reduced income level. That is, when their wage earning capacity is lower. The employer or its insurer pays the covered employee compensation that equals 50% of the difference between the average weekly wage of the covered employee and the wage earning capacity of the covered employee in the same or other employment while temporarily partially disabled, subject to a maximum payment of 50% of the State average weekly wage.

Generally, if a covered employee is temporarily totally disabled due to an accidental injury or an occupational disease the employer or its insurer shall pay to the covered employee compensation that equals two-thirds of the average weekly wage on the covered employee, up to a maximum of the average Pennsylvania weekly wage. The “average Pennsylvania weekly wage” is calculated every year by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) and provided to the Commission for use in its calculations. In no case are the benefits to covered employees less than $50.00 (fifty dollars) per week, regardless of the individual’s average weekly wage.

Temporary total disability benefits are intended to replace the income being lost, at least in part, during the interval when the injured employee can’t work at all. The benefit is terminated when, during the process of treatment and recovery, the point is reached where the worker is no longer totally disabled -that is, they can return to work in some capacity- or if a medical determination is made that the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement, even if the person has not fully recovered to their pre-injury condition.

Permanent Total Disability Benefits: Some injuries are so serious that a worker is permanently, totally disabled. Absent conclusive proof to the contrary, in Pennsylvania the loss or loss of use of any of the following constitutes a permanent total disability: both arms, both eyes, both feet, both hands, both legs; or a combination of any two of the following: an arm, eye, foot, hand or leg.

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits: Injuries that are not so serious as to leave a worker permanently, totally disabled may nonetheless result in some permanent impairment. This is called permanent partial disability.

Generally, a covered employee who is entitled to compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Act shall receive a minimum weekly compensation of $50.00 for permanent partial disability unless that employee’s average weekly wage was less than $50.00. If the worker’s average weekly wage was less than $50.00, they will receive compensation that equals their average weekly wage at the time of the accidental injury or the last injurious exposure to the hazards of their occupational disease.

Benefit payments for permanent partial disability continue for a period of weeks established by the statute; a period that varies according to the body part injured and the severity of the injury. For example, the total loss of a thumb or the use of the thumb results in payments for 100 weeks. The total loss or loss of use of the 4th finger (also called the little finger) results in payments for 25 weeks. When the period allowed by a Workers’ Compensation Commission finding and prescribed by the law has run, the compensation payments cease.

If a covered employee has an accidental injury or an occupational disease that results is a permanent total disability, the employer or its insurer shall pay to the covered employee compensation that equals to two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the covered employee, subject to a maximum payment equal to the State average weekly wage. No payment for permanent disability shall be less than $25.00.

Benefits paid for permanent total disability are subject to an annual cost of living adjustment not to exceed 5% as determined by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. These benefits are reduced in the case of workers who are also entitled to Federal Social Security Disability Benefits to the extent necessary to avoid a diminution of the Federal benefits.

Medical/Hospitalization Benefits: In addition to the various types of disability benefits to which an injured worker may be entitled, if a covered employee has suffered an accidental injury, compensable hernia or occupational disease, the employer or its insurer promptly shall provide to the covered employee, as the Commission may require-
Medical, surgical or other attendance or treatment:
Hospital and Nursing Services
Medicine
Crutches and other apparatus
Artificial arms, feet, hands, legs and other prosthetic appliances

The entitlement to these services may continue indefinitely or for whatever period is required by the nature of the accidental injury, compensable hernia or occupational disease if there is evidence to establish that the need for these services is reasonable, necessary and causally related to the accidental injury or occupational disease.

Wage Reimbursement Benefits: In addition to any other compensation paid to a covered employee entitled to compensation under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, the employer or its insurer is required to reimburse the covered employee for lost wages due to time spent being examined by a physician or other examiner at the request of the employer or its insurer and time spent attending and traveling to and from a Commission hearing scheduled as a result of a continuance caused by action of the employer or its insurer, if the claimant is otherwise entitled to compensation benefits.

Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits: When a covered employee is disabled from performing work for which they were previously qualified as the result of an accidental injury or an occupational disease, the covered employee is entitled to vocational rehabilitation services. Training may last up to 24 (twenty four) months and other services may include:

Coordination of medical services, vocational assessment, vocational evaluation, vocational counseling, vocational rehabilitation plan development, vocational rehabilitation plan monitoring, vocational rehabilitation training, job development, job placement.

Pennsylvania Laws Regarding Uninsured Employers

The state of Pennsylvania has an Uninsured Employer Benefit Trust Fund in the event that an employer does not carry workers’ compensation claims. In some case you may also be able to obtain financial compensation by filing a lawsuit against your employer. These situations are rare and your employer must have significant personal assets. Our Media, Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys can help you if you have been hurt on the job and your employer is illegally uninsured.

Third Party Liability In Workers Comp Claims

When injured at work your employer is at fault unless there were some very rare circumstances surrounding how you were injured. In addition to your employer being liable there may also be other parties responsible for your injuries. These cases usually involve third party liability (also know as vicarious liability). The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has third party liability laws in place and these types of cases often times involve filing a civil lawsuit/personal injury lawsuit against the other parties, people or entities. Our team of West Chester Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers will help you if there third party liability is part of your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim.

Contact Our Media Workers Compensation Lawyers

The only way to ensure that your rights are fully protected and that you obtain the maximum benefits and financial compensation for your injuries is to have expert legal counsel in the form of a Media, Pennsylvania workers compensation attorney. Dial (610) 892-9200 for a free consultation. Our workers’ comp lawyers charge no legal fees if they do not recover on your behalf.

Our legal team of Pennsylvania workers compensation lawyers have many years experience handling all types of workplace accident, injury and wrongful death claims throughout all of Pennsylvania including Aston, Marple, Glenolden, Haverford, Thornbury, Yeadon, Upper Chichester, Newtown Square, Concord Township, Radnor Township, Nether Providence, Kennett Square, West Chester, Chester, Paoli, Downingtown, Coatesville, Cheltenham, Malvern, Media, Upper Darby, Springfield, Wayne, Norristown, Pottstown, Philadelphia, New Hope, Blue Bell, Lima, Chadds Ford, Broomall and Doylestown, Pennsylvania.