Workplace Injury/ Disability
Workplace Injury/ Disability
Workers’ Compensation is a system of employer-funded insurance that provides medical, wage and death benefits to injured workers and their families. Each state has its own version of workers’ compensation. The workers’ compensation system is known as a “no-fault” system, which means that an injured worker does not have to prove that someone else caused his or her injury in order to obtain benefits. The no-fault nature of workers’ compensation also means that employers and co-workers typically do not have to worry about being sued. Workers’ compensation is an “exclusive remedy,” meaning that in most cases the only way a worker can recover from his employer for on-the-job injuries is by making a workers’ compensation claim.
In Pennsylvania, almost all workers are covered by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. The act requires all employers, even those with just one employee, to make sure that their workers are covered. This includes seasonal and part-time workers. However, there are certain workers who are usually not covered under the act. These include volunteer workers, agricultural laborers, casual employees, domestics and employees who have received a religious exemption from coverage. There are also workers who are covered under different systems of insurance, such as federal employees, railroad workers, longshoremen and shipyard workers.
If you have been injured on the job or are suffering from a disease caused by a workplace hazard, do not delay in contacting one of the experienced attorneys at Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Holloway. We can help you determine whether you have a workers’ compensation claim. If you do, we will guide you through the claims process and pursue the maximum benefits that you are owed under the law. We can also review your existing benefits to determine whether you are receiving all the funds to which you are entitled. You should know that time is of the essence in workers’ compensation claims. If you fail to file your claim on time, you could forfeit your right to benefits.
What Kinds of Injuries and Illnesses are Covered?
Workers’ compensation addresses most workplace injuries and illnesses. In general, if you have an accident at work or suffer from an illness or disease as a result of your work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In addition to on-the-job mishaps and exposure to toxins, coverage extends to injuries that are caused by your company’s facilities, such as a faulty chair, injuries sustained during breaks or work-sponsored activities and preexisting conditions that are aggravated as a result of your work.
There are limits to workers’ compensation coverage, of course. In Pennsylvania, for example, benefits will not be paid to a worker whose injury or death is self-inflicted or results from the employee’s drug or alcohol use.
It is important to note that even if you are entitled to workers’ compensation, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against any third parties that contributed to your injury. For example, if you suffered an accident as a result of an equipment failure, you might be able to sue the company that manufactured the equipment. A lawyer from Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Holloway can examine the circumstances of your injury or illness and help you decide whether a lawsuit is something you should pursue. Your attorney can also help you determine whether you are entitled to additional benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance.
What Kinds of Benefits are Available?
Workers’ compensation provides for several types of monetary benefits. These include payments for lost wages, medical care, specific losses and death. If you are totally disabled and unable to work, or partially disabled and earning less than you did before your injury, you may be entitled to wage-loss benefits. These benefits pay about two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a weekly maximum.
Covered medical expenses typically include reasonable surgical and medical services provided by a physician; medical supplies; hospital stays; and orthopedic appliances or prostheses. Specific loss benefits may be paid when a worker loses all or part of a thumb, finger, hand, arm, leg, foot or toe. Loss of sight or hearing and permanent scarring or disfigurement of the face, head or neck are also covered by specific loss benefits. Finally, if an injury or illness results in a worker’s death, his or her dependents may be entitled to death benefits.
Unfortunately, benefits usually do not continue indefinitely. Your benefits may be stopped if your employer has evidence that you have returned to work at wages equal to or more than your prior earnings level. Your employer might also stop paying benefits if its insurance company thinks that you can return to work. If you believe your benefits have been unfairly terminated, you are entitled to seek their reinstatement. Claims that are denied may be appealed through the workers’ compensation and state court systems. Contact Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Holloway immediately for help pursuing the benefits to which you are entitled.
How Can Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Holloway Help You?
You may have heard that you are not required to have an attorney help you with your workers’ compensation claim. While this is true, you should know that the workers’ compensation system is complex and difficult to navigate. Further, the rising costs of workers’ compensation insurance are causing employers and their insurers to fight claims and pay out as little as possible. In fact, Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor & Industry recommends that injured workers seek the advice of a qualified attorney in pursuing claims and appeals. The Department points out that your employer and your employer’s insurance carrier will always have an experienced attorney on their side. You should, too. A skilled attorney from Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Holloway can level the playing field for you. We can explain your rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act, review your medical records, contact your healthcare providers, gather evidence and represent you during hearings and appeals.
If your initial claim is denied, do not be discouraged. Most claims are denied the first time around. Simply contact us for help, and we will ensure that your claim is presented in the best light possible to gain the benefits you are owed. We are always here to answer your questions and address your concerns. You should also know that if you are not awarded benefits or do not continue to receive benefits, you will not be charged for our services.
If you have a question about workers’ compensation or if we can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance. At Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Holloway we strive to make your life easier, every step of the way.
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