Work Accident Lawyer Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Accidents can happen anywhere at anytime. This is especially true in the workplace, where hidden or unaddressed dangers may exist. Workplace accidents can be caused by a variety of things, such as: unsafe scaffolding, electrical hazards, defective equipment, or exposure to hazardous materials. People who are involved in workplace accidents often incur serious, life-threatening injuries. Many workplace accidents result in workplace deaths. People who work in industrial or construction fields are even more susceptible than others to sustain injuries while on the job.
It is very common for people who are involved in workplace accidents to sustain severe spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, burn injuries, or head injuries. Injuries such as these are considered "catastrophic" because they are not easy to diagnose, can become worse over time, and demand continual medical attention and observation. Catastrophic injuries often alter the injured person's quality of life. A person who has sustained a catastrophic injury will usually have an array of physical and/or mental complications that will prevent him/her from returning to work or functioning at his/her normal capacity.
Pennsylvania Work Injuries
According to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation statistics, 88,973 people were injured in the workplace in Pennsylvania in 2009. 100 people died as a result of a workplace accident. Almost 70% of the work-injury cases happened in manufacturing, trade, transportation & utilities, health services, and building industries. The most common causes of workplace injuries are overexertion and being struck by an object.
Employees who are injured on the job are entitled to compensation for their injuries. In fatal workplace accidents, families of the decedent may file a wrongful death action or a survival action. Depending upon the circumstances and the severity of the injury, injured employees may be entitled to compensation through either the workers' compensation system, a personal injury lawsuit, or both. Employees who have suffered an injury should seek the advice of a reputable Pennsylvania personal injury law firm that is known for its experience and expertise in work-related injury cases. It is important that the personal injury law firm has the resources and knowledge required to identify and litigate all of the available claims to help ensure that the worker receives the optimum compensation and benefits to which he or she is entitled.
Workplace Accidents Practice Areas:
Workers' Compensation in Pennsylvania
If a person sustains a job injury or a work-related illness, the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act (Act) provides for their medical expenses and, if the injured worker is unable to work, wage-loss compensation benefits. Benefits are paid by private insurance companies or the State Workers' Insurance Fund self-insured employers. To qualify for compensation, the injured worker is required to report the injury sustained in the course of employment to his or her employer immediately. Workers' compensation claim may be delayed or denied if the injury is not reported immediately. If a workers' compensation claim is denied, the injured person has a right to file a claim petition with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation for a hearing before a workers' compensation judge. If the denial is affirmed by a judge, the injured worker needs to consult with a workplace injury lawyer to learn if a civil lawsuit may be filed against the employer.
Exceptions to Workers' Compensation
The general rule is an employee who qualifies for Workers' Compensation benefits may not file a personal injury suit against the employer. There are two narrow exceptions where Workers' Compensation preemption might not apply, and an employer might be subject to lawsuit:
1) An employee may sue an employer for its intentional misconduct, in cases where employers knew of the dangerous conditions in the workplace, but failed to remove the hazard or warn the employees.
2) An employee may sue an employer when an employer is required to carry Workers' Compensation coverage but fails to do so.
The exception for intentional acts is very narrow. Usually, it is not enough that an employer creates conditions where there is a very high probability that an employee will be injured. The employer must have committed a specific act intended to cause injury to the employee. Other than these limited exceptions, an employee injured at work is restricted to a workers' compensation claim against the employer.
Third-Party Work Injuries Cases
In many accident cases, injured workers can pursue both a workers' compensation claim and a lawsuit against a responsible party, provided the third party is not the injured person's employer. If an injury is caused in the workplace but due to the negligence of a third party such as an independent contractor, a moving company, the manufacturer or supplier of a defective machine or tool, etc., the injured worker may receive monetary recovery from the third party. Third-party cases involve three parties: the injured worker is the first party, the employer is the second party, and the other entity or person responsible for the injuries is the third party.
In serious injury cases, third-party compensation is often greater than the benefits an injured worker receives under the workers' compensation claim. In a third-party lawsuit, an injured worker may be entitled to recover loss of earnings, damage to property, past and future medical expenses, loss of future earning capacity, and compensation for pain and suffering. These damages are not completely covered by workers' compensation claims. In workers' compensation claims, a worker's benefits are generally limited to medical expenses, disability compensation, and a monetary award if the injured worker has sustained permanent disabilities.
Injured workers or their families should contact an experienced and dedicated law firm, which will investigate all possible sources of compensation for the worker's injuries. It requires legal expertise and experience to thoroughly examine the facts and circumstances surrounding an injury and identify all possible third-party claims. Determining fault among multiple potential third-party defendants can be complex. The Lassen Law Firm, Philadelphia personal injury lawyers, has successfully handled thousands of work-related injury claims and many third-party claims.
If you have questions about an accident, the best thing you can do is to speak with an experienced, credible personal injury attorney. Call The Lassen Law Firm today for your free consultation.
The Lassen Law Firm only deducts a 29% contingency fee, not the standard 45% like other firms. We serve ALL of Pennsylvania. We can sign you up over the phone and start working on your case today.
Stop Searching. Start Calling. 215-510-6755.
Authored by: Christian Lassen