PA Work Accident Law Q&A: Legal rights after a work accident in Philadelphia


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Question: My husband lost his leg in an accident at a worksite in Philadelphia. What are our legal rights?

Answer: Injured workers who suffer major injuries like the loss of a limb may be entitled to receive financial compensation for the damages caused by injuries and the significant pain and suffering caused by the injuries.

There are common types of legal claims in a work accident situation which results in the loss of a limb such as a leg:

  • a workers’ compensation claim;
  • a negligence lawsuit against other, non-employer parties; and/or
  • a social security disability.

Workers’ Compensation in a Nutshell

99% of injured workers can make workers’ compensation claims in order to have medical bills and lost wages paid by the employer or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. In rare instances, an employer may fail to provide such coverage and in which case, the injured employee may be able to sue the employer directly.

So long as the employer is properly notified about the accident, the injured worker can make a claim.

Under PA law, injured workers who suffer the loss of a limb can receive a special benefit known as specific loss benefits. Specific loss benefits are basically lump sum benefits given to an injured worker who suffers an amputation injury or loses hearing or vision. For the loss of a leg, depending on where the amputation occurred (at the foot, ankle, or knee), the maximum benefit is 250 weeks, 350 weeks, or 410 weeks at 66.66% of the weekly wage. Read more about specific loss benefits in serious work accident cases in PA.

Negligence Lawsuits Against Other Parties

The specific loss benefits payable under the PA Workers’ Compensation Act cannot fully compensate a worker who loses a limb, hearing or vision. The Workers’ Compensation Act is not designed to provide pain and suffering damages to injured workers. Therefore, in serious work accident cases, it is crucial to have the case reviewed by a work accident lawyer, someone who will analyze the facts and determine whether another party may be liable in a lawsuit.

Most injured workers make the mistake of only filing a workers’ compensation claim and stopping there. The reality is that many workers injured in worksite or construction accidents in Philadelphia have viable cases against parties, other than the employer. As the result of a construction site accident, the general contractor, property owner or subcontractor may be liable for making a mistake which caused the accident. In a subsequent lawsuit, the injured worker can obtain full compensation for the following types of losses:

  • pain and suffering (past and future),
  • medical bills (past and future), and
  • lost wages (past and future).

In addition, when work accident related injuries result in a permanent disability, the injured worker may be able to make a claim for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration. However, the standard to determine whether an injury causes a permanent disability is very specific.

Related: Injured Workers’ Rights in Pennsylvania-Recovery Beyond Workers’ Compensation

Pennsylvania and New Jersey Workers’ Compensation & Accident Lawyers

The lawyers at the Philadelphia law firm, Laffey, Bucci & Kent, handle work accident cases in the Philadelphia area and surrounding suburbs, as well as, New Jersey.  Our lawyers specialize in handling negligence cases and may handle workers’ compensation cases. Depending on the facts of a case, the firm may refer the workers’ compensation case to another law firm. Please call a free consultation. Click To Call

Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.