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Suffering an injury while on the job can be a life-altering event for many individuals in Pennsylvania. Depending on the severity of the injury, it can cause physical, emotional, and financial hardship for the victim and their family. Not only can it affect the individual’s ability to work and provide for themselves and their loved ones, but it can also result in long-term medical treatment and rehabilitation, and in some cases, even wrongful death can occur.
To help workers who are injured on the job, workers’ compensation laws were implemented. This system was established to ensure that workers receive the necessary support and compensation they need to recover from their injuries and return to work. According to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the number of reported work injury and illness cases increased from 147,918 in 2020 to 161,592 in 2021, an increase of 13,674 cases. Fatalities also increased from 72 in 2020 to 85 in 2021, with the highest number of fatalities occurring in trade, transportation & utilities, followed by Public Administration, and construction, manufacturing, and professional & business services. The injury rate per 1,000 workers also increased from 26.3 in 2020 to 28.2 in 2021. Additionally, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States Department of Labor, workplace injuries were up 30% as of September 2022.
These statistics are a stark reminder that injuries at the workplace can certainly happen, and injured employees are entitled to compensation for any injuries they sustain while on the clock. If an employee has sustained an injury on the job or is suffering from a work-related illness, they may be concerned about how they will cover their medical bills, replace their lost wages, and support their family. Such an injury can be a daunting experience, especially if it is severe enough to prevent them from working for an extended period of time. Contacting the skilled workers’ compensation lawyers at The Pearce Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers, P.C. will provide injured employees with all the knowledge and support they need to pursue compensation for their workplace injuries.
Workers Comp – Injuries at Work
Specific types of injuries that may be eligible for worker’s compensation can vary depending on the laws and regulations of a particular state. However, here are some common types of injuries that often qualify for worker’s compensation here in Pennsylvania:
Physical Injuries at Work
Many physical injuries have long-term consequences, including chronic pain and disability. Back, neck, head, and brain injuries are among the most common traumatic physical injuries reported by workers, in addition to sprains, broken bones, burns, and strains. Everyone from construction workers to office employees incur these types of injuries and are entitled to proper medical care and compensation.
- Traumatic Injuries: Traumatic injuries are injuries caused by sudden accidents or events, such as falls, slips, trips, being struck by an object, or accidents involving equipment or machinery. Examples include fractures, sprains, strains, cuts, bruises, and amputations.
- Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs): Also known as cumulative trauma disorders, RSIs occur over time due to repeated motions or overuse of certain body parts. Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and bursitis are examples of RSIs.
- Burns and Electrical Injuries: In industries involving chemicals, heat, or electrical equipment, workers might suffer burns, scalds, or electrical shocks.
Slip and Fall Injuries While Working
If a worker is injured as a result of tripping, slipping, or falling they may be entitled to PA workers’ compensation benefits. Workers with the highest risk of falls on the job include construction workers, retail workers, and workers in the restaurant/food industry.
- Slip and fall accidents can happen in various work environments, including offices, warehouses, and construction sites. Injuries can range from minor bruises to more serious issues like fractures or head injuries.
Occupational illnesses, also known as work-related illnesses or occupational diseases, are health conditions that are directly caused or significantly exacerbated by factors present in the workplace. These conditions are a result of exposure to various physical, chemical, biological, or psychosocial hazards that can occur in certain occupations or work environments. Occupational illnesses are different from workplace injuries, which involve sudden physical harm like fractures or cuts, whereas occupational illnesses develop gradually over time due to prolonged exposure to hazardous substances or conditions.
- Hearing Loss: Long-term exposure to high levels of noise in workplaces like construction sites or factories can lead to permanent hearing loss.
- Respiratory Disorders: Workers exposed to dust, chemicals, or other harmful substances may develop respiratory conditions such as occupational asthma, pneumoconiosis (e.g., black lung disease), or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Chemical Exposure: Workers exposed to hazardous chemicals may develop illnesses like chemical burns, skin disorders, or toxic substance-related diseases.
Transportation Accident Injuries at Work
Car accidents are common on business trips and errands alike and can occur in a variety of situations and environments. If a worker gets injured in a car accident as a result of a work-related errand or trip, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
- Workers who drive as part of their job, such as truck drivers, delivery personnel, or salespeople, may be eligible for worker’s comp if they are involved in accidents while performing work-related tasks.
- Employees traveling for work to conferences or other work trips or events can receive compensation if they’re injured while traveling for work.
- Injuries suffered in parking lots before or after work are often covered by workers’ compensation
Machinery and Equipment Accidents and Injuries
Work-related machinery and equipment accidents and injuries refer to incidents that occur in the workplace involving machines, tools, and equipment used for various tasks. From defective tools to OSHA violations, and everything in between these accidents can result in physical harm to workers and can range from minor injuries to severe disabilities or even fatalities.
- Accidents involving heavy machinery, tools, or equipment can result in serious injuries such as crush injuries, amputations, or fractures.
Construction Site Injuries
Work-related construction site accidents and injuries refer to incidents that occur in the construction industry during the process of building, renovating, or maintaining structures and infrastructure. These unsafe practices and work environments can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to severe disabilities or even fatalities.
- Construction workers are often at higher risk due to the nature of their work. Injuries might include falls from heights, scaffolding collapses, electrocutions, and being struck by falling objects.
- Often workers or employees are mischaracterized as independent contractors even though they really are employees and still have a valid workers’ compensation claim
Work-Related Stress and Mental Health Issues
Work-related stress and mental health issues refer to psychological and emotional challenges that arise from the demands, pressures, and conditions of the workplace. These issues can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental well-being, affecting their overall quality of life and job performance.
- In some cases, work-related stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues may be eligible for worker’s compensation if they can be directly linked to the work environment and are considered “abnormal working conditions.”
It’s important to note that eligibility for worker’s compensation can depend on various factors, including the severity of the injury, whether the injury occurred within the scope of employment, and the specific laws in the relevant jurisdiction. If you or someone you know has suffered a work-related injury or illness, an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer can help you make sense of your rights and available options to ensure you receive the care you are owed.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to employees who suffer from work-related injuries or illnesses. The program is designed to protect workers by providing them with financial support while they are unable to work due to their injury or illness. It provides a safety net for workers and helps to ensure that they are not left without the necessary resources to support themselves and their families during difficult times. In addition to covering medical expenses, workers’ compensation also provides wage replacement benefits to help compensate for lost income.
The process for filing a workers’ compensation claim varies by state, but in Pennsylvania, employees must report their injury to their employer as soon as possible. The employer will then file a claim with their workers’ compensation insurance carrier, and the employee will receive medical treatment as needed.
Once a claim is approved, the employee will receive benefits to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and any other related costs. The amount of benefits depends on the severity of the injury and the laws in the state where the employee works. Some states also offer vocational rehabilitation services to help injured workers return to their jobs or find new employment.
One of the most significant advantages of workers’ compensation is that it is a “no-fault” system. This means that regardless of who was at fault for the injury or illness, the employee is entitled to benefits. This is intended to provide injured employees with financial support and to avoid lengthy legal battles to determine fault.
What Types Of Injuries Does Workers’ Compensation Cover In Pennsylvania?
It is mandatory for employers in Pennsylvania to have workers’ compensation insurance, ensuring that employees have access to the necessary support and benefits in the event of a work-related injury. In the workplace, work-related injuries can happen unexpectedly and at any time. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an injury sustained at work can encompass a range of conditions, including back injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and burn injuries resulting from electric shock. Eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania does not require a minimum period of employment, and coverage for these benefits begins from the moment an employee begins working. It is commonly misunderstood that a pre-existing medical condition, such as arthritis, degenerative disc disease, or degenerative joint disease, can be an injury and can lead to an award of workers’ compensation benefits.
In many cases, an injured worker may be unaware of pre-existing conditions such as arthritis, degenerative disc disease, or degenerative joint disease, as they may not have caused any noticeable pain or issues previously. Unfortunately, the presence of these conditions can provide the workers’ compensation insurance company with a reason to deny a claim. This is precisely why it is crucial to have an experienced attorney who specializes in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation matters to ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to. They will provide sufficient information and evidence to prove that the previous conditions were aggravated by working. Take a look at some of our workers’ compensation settlement results.
Contact Workers Comp Lawyers Near You
If you or a loved one have been injured at work, don’t wait to seek legal help. At The Pearce Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers, P.C., we have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you navigate the complex world of workers’ compensation and get the compensation you deserve. Most people do not think of workers’ compensation coverage when they are involved in a car accident, however, if your car accident involved a trip or errand for your company, it may be covered under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation.
Our team of dedicated workers’ compensation lawyers near you, will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you get back on your feet after a work-related injury.