Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, with few exceptions, employers must provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees who suffer an injury at work. Notably, a person must be an employee to be eligible to recover benefits, which means that independent contractors and many volunteers are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In cases in which a person’s work status is disputed, the employer bears the burden of proving that the individual is not an employee.
Pursuant to the Act, an injury must be work-related to be considered a covered injury. In other words, it must be caused by the employee’s performance of his or her job duties and must occur during the course of the job activities. For example, if a truck driver is injured in an accident while delivering goods, the injuries sustained will likely be considered work-related. Injuries do not need to occur on the employer’s premises to be compensable, and they are usually considered work-related as long as they arise out of a person’s job performance. A workers’ compensation attorney in Scranton can advise you on whether your injury is likely covered.
Additionally, work-related injuries are not limited to acute harm but also include repetitive use injuries that arise from repeatedly making the same motions, worsening of a pre-existing condition, and occupational illnesses caused by exposure to toxic substances, heavy metals, and other environmental hazards.Workers’ Compensation Claims
Notably, injured employees can recover benefits regardless of whether their employers acted negligently or were otherwise at fault. The Act is the exclusive remedy for injured employees, though, which means that they generally cannot file civil claims for damages against their employers for work-related injuries. They may be able to file claims against other parties that contributed to their harm, however.
It is important for injured employees to report their harm to their employers promptly, since there are strict time constraints regarding the pursuit of benefits. If an employer or insurer fails to respond to an employee’s claim, denies the claim, or disputes the amount of benefits recoverable, the employee can file a petition to have any issues resolved by a workers’ compensation judge. If the judge issues an unfavorable ruling, the decision can be appealed with the assistance of a Scranton workers’ compensation attorney.Benefits That May Be Awarded
Generally, employers are required to provide injured employees with medical benefits, which include payments for expenses such as doctor’s visits, physical and occupational therapy, medication, surgery, hospitalization, and adaptive devices. Eligible employees may also be awarded disability benefits. Partial disability benefits compensate employees who are unable to work at full capacity, while total disability benefits compensate employees who are unable to work at all, and permanent disability benefits compensate employees who will never fully recover from an injury. If an employee dies due to a work-related injury or illness, the employee’s spouse or minor children may be awarded death benefits.Discuss Your Options With a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Employers have an obligation to provide workers’ compensation benefits to eligible employees, including payments for medical expenses and lost wages. If you were hurt or contracted an illness at work, you should speak to the workers’ compensation attorneys at Lenahan & Dempsey. We can help you pursue any benefits that you may be owed. Based in the Scranton area, our workers’ compensation lawyers help people throughout Luzerne, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lycoming, Monroe, and Montour Counties. Our offices are conveniently located in Scranton, New Berwick, Tunkhannock, and the Poconos Mountains region. You can reach us to schedule a confidential and free consultation at 888-536-2426 or via our online form.