The Main Limitation of Workers’ Compensation Claims in PA


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A Hypothetical Factory Accident

Here is a common scenario involving a work accident: a factory worker reports to work at a local factory in Philadelphia and has a serious accident. The owner of the factory instructed a manager to disable a safety device on a machine in the factory. As a result, the worker’s dominant hand becomes caught in the machine and she suffers a major crush injury. She loses 50% of the use of her right hand and can no longer make a fist.

She files a workers’ compensation injury claim with her employer and obtains medical benefits and disability/lost wage benefits. Under PA workers’ compensation law, she is not able to recover financial compensation for the tremendous pain and suffering she has had to endure and will endure for the rest of her life. The workers’ compensation scheme in PA simply doesn’t provide compensation for pain and suffering. The primary purpose of workers’ comp benefits is to get the injured worker back to work. That is why the benefits provided are bare bones: medical treatment and only a percentage of lost wages. Therefore, this injured factory worker cannot recover pain and suffering damages under her workers’ comp claim.

Can this injured factory worker recover pain and suffering damages?

It depends on whether the worker ever consults with a work accident lawyer. A work accident lawyer would identify and analyze two issues:

1. whether the machine was malfunctioning, and

2. whether other parties may be liable.

Defective Machine Products Liability Cases in Workplace Factory Accidents

Many workplace factory accident cases involving machines turn into viable defective product liability cases. In product liability cases in PA, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, etc., may be liable for a defectively manufactured product, a defectively designed product and/or failure to provide adequate product warnings. Click here to learn more about defective product cases in PA.

Liability of Other Parties in Workplace Factory Accidents

In this example, the factory owner had employed a large company to service all of its machines. That company’s employees noticed that the safety device was disabled, but never made any attempts to inquire or otherwise resolve the problem. Instead, the company’s employees placed a safety inspection checklist sticker on the machine, indicating that the machine passed all safety checks. Factory workers came to rely on these inspection checklist stickers, and in this case, the injured factor worker believed that the machine she was working on was completely safe.

In this factory accident scenario, the injured worker may be able to recover pain and suffering damages if she succeeds in filing a products liability lawsuit against the machine manufacturer, a negligence lawsuit against the machine servicing company, or both.

Related: Pennsylvania Work Accident Law – What is Pain & Suffering?

PA Work Accident & Injury Law Firm

Our work injury lawyers specialize in representing injured workers. Please call the firm for a free consultation. Click To Call

Work Accident Case Results:

  • $101 million – The collapse of a parking garage at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City that injured over 30 construction workers on the job and killed 4 men working on the project (largest construction accident settlement in U.S. history).
  • $13 million – The collapse of the Philadelphia Kimmel Center during its construction

Disclaimer: The lawyers at Laffey, Bucci & Kent provide legal advice to individuals after accepting their cases. No attorney-client relationship is created by this website. Nothing on this site is intended to provide legal advice. Because every case is unique, discussion of prior outcomes and settlements in past cases is no guarantee of a similar outcome in current or future cases.