There is a common presumption that workplace injuries and occupational diseases occur more frequently in some industries, and this is true to a certain extent. However, statistics on job-related medical conditions reveals that any employee, in any market sector, is at risk. According to workplace safety annual reports prepared by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, more than 161,500 total cases of work injuries and occupational ailments are recorded every year. Plus, around 85 workers are killed because of accidents or workplace conditions, a figure that is on the rise in recent years.
State workers’ compensation laws cover on-the-job medical conditions, so you may qualify for a range of benefits to provide support during difficult times. You might even be in a position to seek damages through a civil lawsuit, and our team at Quinn Law Group can advise you on your options. Please contact us to schedule a no-cost case review with an experienced Cherry Hill workplace injury attorney. Some general information may also be helpful.
Overview of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp System
The goal of workplace accident laws is to get employees back to work as soon as possible after an injury. This would be tough to do if the worker needed to prove the employer was negligent, so workers’ comp laws are no-fault. To qualify for benefits, you must show that you are a covered employee who suffers from a medical condition related to work conditions or tasks. An eligible worker who was hurt on-the-job or developed an occupational disease may be entitled to:
- Medical care, including costs of emergency treatment, hospitalization, surgery, doctor visits, pain medications, lab tests, and others;
- Partial or total disability payments, on a temporary basis up to 500 weeks OR for life;
- Permanent injury payments as reimbursement for loss of a body part; and,
- Death benefits, when an employee is killed in an accident or dies from an occupational illness.
Filing a Workplace Injury Claim
You have 21 days to notify your employer about a work-related medical condition, but it is best to do so right away to get workers’ comp benefits promptly. Upon receiving notice, your employer must investigate and either deny your claim or start paying benefits within 21 days. Companies often settle workers’ comp claims, but you must request a hearing before a workers’ comp judge if you and your employer cannot agree. Our Cherry Hill workplace injury attorneys at Quinn Law Group will assist with the process by:
- Conducting an investigation;
- Gathering evidence;
- Assisting with required notices;
- Dealing with your employer and/or insurance company in an attempt to settle;
- Filing a petition to go before the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, if your employer denies your claim or refuses to pay benefits; and,
- Taking next steps to appeal your claim as necessary to make sure you receive rightful workers’ comp benefits.
Other Legal Remedies for Workplace Injuries
One important point to note about workers’ comp is that your sole remedy is filing a claim through your employer’s insurance company. This factor means you are limited to seeking the benefits described above, and pain and suffering damages are not available.
However, there are some exceptions to the rule that workers’ comp is your only option. You may be able to pursue a lawsuit in civil court if:
- Your employer failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance as required by law.
- A third party was responsible for your injuries, such as a crew that caused an accident on a construction site or a careless driver that caused a crash. These incidents are based upon the theory of negligence, which means you must prove that the at-fault party breached the duty to exercise reasonable care.
- A defective product created hazardous work conditions, which gives rise to a product liability case. Strict liability applies to these claims, so you must show that the item was unreasonably dangerous and it directly caused your injuries.
If your situation falls under any of these exceptions, you can sue the responsible party in civil court. Therefore, you can recover damages for pain and suffering.
Consult with a Cherry Hill Workplace Injury Attorney for Details
This overview is useful for understanding the basics about workers’ comp claims, but retaining qualified legal help ensures you maximize your benefits. For more information, please contact Quinn Law Group by calling (215) 360-3666 or checking us out online. We are happy to set up a free consultation with a Pennsylvania workplace lawyer. Once we review your circumstances, we can advise you on all available remedies under state law.