Pennsylvania Injured Workers & Compensation – 3 Basic Things You Should Know


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Workers who are injured in work related accidents deserve to be compensated for their injuries. In fact, workplace accident compensation is one of the most common types of issues raised in civil lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania. Below are 3 common issues raised in a PA work accident case.

1. Is the Employer Liable for the Accident?

Under Pennsylvania work accident laws, employers are generally immune from liability for negligence which causes an employee/worker to be injured. This is known as the workers’ compensation exclusivity principle and basically means that an employer who provides workers with workers’ compensation benefits cannot be sued in a tort lawsuit. The injured worker’s exclusive remedy is the workers’ compensation system.

More: Work Accident Law in Pennsylvania – Can You Sue Your Employer or a Co-Worker?

There are, however, many exceptions to this rule of law. Employers in Pennsylvania may be sued in a tort lawsuit in certain situations. For instance, an employer who fails to provide workers’ compensation benefits can be sued in tort; an employer who is acting not as an employer but in another capacity may be sued (aka, dual capacity); and an employer who acts with intentional and wanton disregard for employees may also be sued in tort.

For example, let’s say a hospital worker suffers a job related injury and is being treated at the hospital where she works. If the hospital is negligent in any way, the injured worker would be able to file a tort/negligence lawsuit against the hospital because it was acting not as an employer, but in a dual capacity, i.e., treating the injured worker as a patient.

2. Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

There are two main questions relevant in determining workers’ compensation eligibility or qualification in Pennsylvania: 1. when did the accident occur? and 2. did it occur while in the course of employment?

As a general rule, so long as an accident occurred during the course of the work day, while in the scope of the employment, it will be covered under workers’ compensation. With respect to the timing of the accident, PA workers’ compensation law requires an injured employee to notify the employer within 21 days of the accident. Failure to do so may result in denial of the claim altogether.

Related: PA Work Accident Q&A: What workers’ compensation benefits can you receive?

3. Can I Receive Pain & Suffering Damages?

Pain and suffering damages are not compensable via the workers’ compensation system in PA. Instead, injured workers may seek justice in the civil courts, by filing lawsuits against other, non-employer parties. In these types of lawsuits, other parties may be ordered to pay financial compensation for an injured worker’s pain and suffering damages. This is a well-established, but often overlooked part of a work accident case in PA. The truth is, most workers believe their only legal recourse is through workers’ compensation. This is simply not the case. In Pennsylvania, injured workers can obtain pain and suffering damages. In order to do so, they should not hesitate and consult with an experienced work accident lawyer.

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

PA Work Accident & Injury Law Firm

Our work accident & injury lawyers specialize in obtaining full compensation for injured workers. Please call the firm for a free consultation. Click To Call

Work Accident Case Result: $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).

Disclaimer: The lawyers at LBK 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.