Every day, workers in Philadelphia are injured in work related accidents, and many workers are confused about whether they should file for workers’ compensation benefits and whether they are eligible for workers’ compensation. In addition, a large majority of workers are unaware about their legal rights to obtain fair compensation for work accident injuries in so called “third party lawsuits.”
Should you file for workers’ compensation?
Aside from issues relating to eligibility, workers injured in on the job accidents often want to know if they should file for workers’ compensation benefits. In Philadelphia, most injured workers have a right to be compensated for work injuries in the form of medical treatment/expenses and disability caused by work related injury (i.e., lost wages). Therefore, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act lays out how medical bills and lost wages are to be paid.
Many workers are concerned about retaliation, and may therefore decide not to file a workers’ compensation claim. Under Pennsylvania law, employers are barred from retaliating against employees who file workers’ compensation claims. Extreme actions such as firing, demotions, pay freezes, etc., are barred. Less extreme actions such as scheduling, reassigning duties, etc., are also barred.
However, in order to maintain an action such as a wrongful termination or retaliation action, the employer’s action must be shown to be retaliatory, as opposed to related to the employee’s work history and performance at work. Showing that an adverse employment action was retaliatory can be difficult and depends on the facts of each case.
For example, a worker at a factory in Philadelphia makes a workers’ compensation claim. After filing the claim, the employee begins to be late to work, and he is demoted. The employer’s action may not be deemed to be retaliation. If, however, after filing the workers’ compensation claim, a previously star employee is suddenly fired without any justification, the employer’s action may be deemed to be retaliation. Again, being able to prove retaliation depends on the facts of each case.
If you believe your employer retaliated against you as a result of filing a workers’ compensation claim, you must speak to a lawyer immediately.
Are you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits?
Eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits is usually clear cut. So long as the employer purchased workers’ compensation insurance and the accident occurred during the course of employment, the accident will be covered. However, in some situations, eligibility issues may arise.
For example, a construction worker is injured at a worksite in downtown Philadelphia. He and his co-workers were goofing off. When the injured worker makes a workers’ compensation claim, the employer claims that the workers were goofing off and were explicitly told to stop, but continued anyway. Whether the worker is eligible for benefits depends on the facts of the case. Learn more about workers’ compensation eligibility in cases where workers are goofing off.
Are other parties liable for your work accident? (Third party lawsuits)
There is a common misperception among workers in Philadelphia about third party lawsuits. Many workers have no idea that another, non-employer party may be liable for their work accident. In fact, injured workers often assume that their only source of financial recovery is a workers’ compensation claim. That is only half of the analysis.
Workers’ compensation lawyers are important in handling workers’ compensation claims. However, work accident lawyers will analyze a work accident to determine whether other parties are liable. For example, workers injured on major construction sites or worksites often have valid claims against other, non-employer parties. However, by the time they think to ask about these claims, it is too late or too much time has passed to be able to conduct a proper investigation.
Related: Injured Workers’ Rights in Pennsylvania – Recovery Beyond Workers’ Compensation
Philadelphia Work Accident & Injury Law Firm
Our Philadelphia workplace accident and injury lawyers care about workplace safety and workers’ rights. If you or a loved one was injured in a work accident in Philadelphia, please call 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.