There is no shortage of ways that Philadelphia workers can be injured on the job. However, Workers’ Compensation is available to most individuals who suffer injuries while at work.
Philadelphia is a diverse city with a large workforce working in countless industries. As such, workers can sustain a wide range of injuries depending on the work they do. Some injuries are the result of immediate and severe accidents. Other injuries are sustained over time due to repetitive stress. Fortunately, Workers’ Compensation benefits should be available regardless of how your workplace injuries occurred.
Contact Lerner, Steinberg & Associates at (215) 355-6400 today for a free case assessment with our Workers’ Compensation attorneys.
How to Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Being Injured in Philadelphia
To successfully recover Workers’ Compensation benefits, you must follow the rules and process set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Failure to meet one of the necessary requirements could result in denying your claim or severely delaying their distribution. The first step is to report any injuries you suffered at work to your employer. It is highly recommended that you report your accident immediately, but the rules allow you 21 days to report your injuries to your employer. It is critical to report the incident to your employer since your employer will file a claim with their insurance provider.
However, you are responsible for filing your Workers’ Compensation claim with the state. This includes submitting medical records and other evidence, which our Workers’ Compensation attorneys can help you gather and prepare. Once your claim has been approved, benefits should be distributed to you after a seven-day waiting period. If you receive notice that your approval is temporary, the insurance is still investigating your claim. They have a total of 90 days to deny your claim in this situation.
If your claim is denied for some reason, we can help you fight the decision in the appeals process. Fortunately, Pennsylvania allows several opportunities to appeal an adverse Workers’ Compensation claim decision.
Benefits Provided by the Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation System
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.
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.
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.
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
Common Injuries that Would be Covered Under Workers’ Compensation in Philadelphia
Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits for your injuries if they occurred under the circumstances outlined above. The following are a few of the most common types of injuries workers sustain in Philadelphia:
Neck, Back, and Shoulder Injuries
Injuries to the neck, back, and shoulders are among the most common that workers file claims for in Philadelphia. Herniated disks, pinched nerves, and torn ligaments are just a few of the injuries that can occur to your neck, back, and shoulders from a work-related accident or overuse. Whether you are lifting a heavy object or your job requires you to spend hours on end bent over a desk, these common injuries can be debilitating and affect every aspect of your life.
Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Injuries
Abrasions, cuts, and fractures are common injuries to these areas in a workplace accident. Hand, wrist, and elbow injuries can also be caused by stress from repetitive motion. These injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow, which are caused by overuse, as well as tendonitis and bursitis. If your job requires you to use your hands a lot throughout the day and you experience pain or numbness in those areas, you should consult with a doctor immediately to determine if there is an underlying problem that might require surgery and the filing of a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Jobs that require repetitive use of the hands, standing, or other constant activities can cause what is known as “repetitive stress injuries.” Repetitive stress injuries can range from carpal tunnel syndrome to swelling and bruising of the stressed area. These injuries can result in severe damage to the elbows or shoulders, commonly requiring surgery to provide relief. Repetitive stress injuries can be difficult to prove but can be shown with the help of testimony from medical experts.
Amputations are also more likely to occur in a workplace setting in Philadelphia. Amputations can be caused by workplace hazards such as machine malfunctions or if a victim falls from a great height. Amputation injuries can be life-altering for those who suffer them, which is why Workers’ Compensation is available to help them transition while they heal. Workers’ Compensation benefits have specific amounts set to be paid out depending on which body part was amputated and whether it will affect your ability to return to work indefinitely.
Burns and Disfigurement
Burns injuries can result from many accidents, such as when someone is burned by hot liquid or steam or when they come into contact with chemicals or exposed electrical wires. Workers who have been burned may have scarring, disfigurement, or be permanently disabled. The extent of these injuries typically depends on the severity of the burn and whether it was a thermal or an electrical burn.
Pennsylvania law requires employers to provide their employees with protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and protective clothing when there is a danger of exposure to chemicals or other harmful substances at work. Suppose you were not provided with such equipment and suffered a burn injury. In that case, you might be able to file a lawsuit in addition to recovering Workers’ Compensation benefits for your injuries.
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 drive to a satellite office of your company, you are doing so under the scope of your job duties. If another driver hits you during this trip, the accident is their fault, and you are injured, 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 injure yourself while working on a property owned/managed by your employer, you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. If you are working off-site and the property is not owned or managed by your employer, you would have to file a standard personal injury lawsuit.
Some common causes of slip and falls include poorly maintained stairs, uncleaned spills, failing to shovel walkways, and uneven flooring or carpets.
Construction Site Injuries
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.
Hearing and Vision Injuries
There are many ways that hearing loss or vision problems can occur, for which you can file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Examples include exposure to loud noises, such as heavy machinery or construction equipment. Vision loss and eye injuries can occur from being around hazardous chemicals or high-pressure hoses or steam pipes that leak dangerous gases into the air. In many cases, these injuries might not become apparent until years after an incident.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a neurological condition that can be caused by severe workplace accidents or through repetitive use of a specific body part. A victim of CRPS will usually experience chronic pain from the increase in nerve impulses to the area, which can seriously affect their ability to work. While CRPS can be difficult to prove, you deserve to be compensated if your work has led to the development of this condition.
Our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help
For a free case evaluation with our Workers’ Compensation lawyers, call Lerner, Steinberg & Associates at (215) 355-6400.