Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Eligibility – The Course of Employment Requirement

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Workers who are injured while on the job often have many questions about their eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. In fact, one of the first questions an injured worker asks is “Am I eligible for workers’ compensation benefits?” or “Should I make a workers’ compensation benefit claim?”

In most cases of a work related injury in Pennsylvania, the injured worker will be eligible to make a workers’ compensation claim to have medical bills paid. In cases of when the injuries result in disability, the injured worker can receive short and long term wage loss payments. Click here to read more about the basics of workers’ compensation benefits and eligibility in Pennsylvania.

PA Workers’ Compensation Law – Did the Injury Arise in the Course of Employment

Some work accident cases will involve complex issues related to workers’ compensation eligibility. One of the most common issues regarding  workers’ compensation eligibility involves whether the accident and injury arose in the course of the employment. Section 301(c)(1) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act details when an injury occurs during the course of employment:

The terms “injury” and “personal injury,” as used in this act, shall be construed to mean an injury to an employe, regardless of his previous physical condition, arising in the course of his employment and related thereto, and such disease or infection as naturally results from the injury or is aggravated, reactivated or accelerated by the injury; and wherever death is mentioned as a cause for compensation under this act, it shall mean only death resulting from such injury and its resultant effects, and occurring within three hundred weeks after the injury.

The term “injury arising in the course of his employment,” as used in this article, shall not include an injury caused by an act of a third person intended to injure the employe because of reasons personal to him, and not directed against him as an employe or because of his employment; nor shall it include injuries sustained while the employe is operating a motor vehicle provided by the employer if the employe is not otherwise in the course of employment at the time of injury; but shall include all other injuries sustained while the employe is actually engaged in the furtherance of the business or affairs of the employer, whether upon the employer’s premises or elsewhere, and shall include all injuries caused by the condition of the premises or by the operation of the employer’s business or affairs thereon, sustained by the employe, who, though not so engaged, is injured upon the premises occupied by or under the control of the employer, or upon which the employer’s business or affairs are being carried on, the employe’s presence thereon being required by the nature of his employment. (emphasis added).

The issue of whether an injury arises in the course of employment depends on the facts surrounding the accident and injury. If the accident and injury did not arise in the course of employment, the injured worker will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, the injured worker may be able to bring a lawsuit to recover for his or her injuries. If the accident/injury did not occur during the course of employment, the injured worker may have a viable tort claim against the employer. The three most common situations when an injured worker’s accident and injuries may be deemed to have occurred outside the course of employment involve workplace assaults, work related car accidents and work related accidents which occur off the employer’s premises.

In addition, and irrespective of any workers’ compensation claim, other parties may be held liable for work accidents, such as:

  • outside contractors,
  • subcontractors,
  • building owners/operators, and
  • product manufacturers.

This is something most workers in Pennsylvania do not know. Most workers simply assume that the only course of action they can take after a work accident is filing a workers’ compensation claim. Therefore it is crucial for injured workers in PA to seek advice of an experienced work accident lawyer.

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The Philadelphia law firm of LBK represents workers who are injured on the job. Our work accident lawyers specialize in handling negligence cases against third parties and may handle workers’ compensation cases. Depending on the facts of a given work accident case, the firm may refer the workers’ compensation case to another law firm. Please call the firm for 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.

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