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Workplace Injuries FAQ

Most employees believe their employers will do whatever is necessary to keep workplaces safe. Every day, employees in Pennsylvania go about their daily routines with little concern about being hurt on the job. Yet thousands of workers in various industries suffer serious or even fatal workplace injuries in the Keystone State every year.

If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed on the job, workers’ compensation probably will not provide the income you need and deserve. Ciccarelli Law Offices helps employees hurt in workplaces throughout Chester County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, and surrounding areas of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

You can find answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about workplace injuries on this section of our website. Our West Chester personal injury lawyers can also provide answers to your specific questions as soon as you call (610) 719-3190 or fill out an online contact form to set up a free consultation.

Workplace Injury Frequently Asked Questions in West Chester, Pennsylvania

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What should a person do immediately after being injured on the job?

Any employees who are injured on the job needs to do two things:

  • report their injury to their employers; and
  • seek medical attention.

Under Section 311 of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, no workers compensation will be due to an injured worker unless notice of the injury is provided to the employer within 21 days of the date that the injury occurs. If the employee does not provide notice of the injury within 120 days of the date that the injury occurs, then no compensation will be allowed.

In cases of serious injuries, an employee may be taken to the emergency ward of the nearest hospitals. Less serious injuries may be required to be treated by a health care provider authorized by employer.

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What is the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act?

The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act was originally enacted in 1915 and has been amended several times since. The Workers' Compensation Act establishes the liability of employers for injuries sustained by employees on the job.

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What does workers’ compensation cover?

In most cases, workers’ compensation only covers an employee’s lost wages and medical bills. Additionally, the benefits that workers receive are actually a percentage of their “average weekly wages.”

An injured worker’s average weekly wage is calculated using the gross wages of the employee over the 52 weeks prior to the work injury. Those 52 weeks are divided into four 13-week periods, with the three highest periods being added together and divided by three to determine the average weekly wage.

People who have a lower average weekly wage often get a higher percentage of that figure for their benefits.

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Are all Pennsylvania employees covered by the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act?

No. While most Pennsylvania workers—including seasonal and part-time workers—are covered by the Act, some employees are covered by other compensation laws. Examples include federal civilian employees, railroad workers, longshoremen, shipyard and harbor workers, volunteer workers, agricultural laborers, casual employees, domestics and employees granted a personal religious exemption from the Act.

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Can I settle my workers' compensation claim for a lump sum?

Yes, employees who have been out of work for four or more months may eligible for a lump sum settlement (also referred to as a "Compromise and Release"). While the one-time payment ends the hassle of complying with workers’ compensation requirements, it is in the best interest of an injured worker to be sure to consult an experienced West Chester personal injury lawyer as workers who agree to settle their cases for lump sums forfeit their rights to seek any future additional compensation.

Any person who is considering a lump sum settlement needs to fully consider the scope of their future medical care and ability to work.

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What are the most common workplace injuries?

Injuries that workers suffer on the job can vary by industry. Some of the most frequent injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Amputation;
  • Brain Injuries;
  • Burn Injuries;
  • Disfigurement and Scarring;
  • Electrocution;
  • Emotional Distress;
  • Knee Injury;
  • Loss of Consortium;
  • Paralysis;
  • Repetitive Trauma;
  • Shoulder Injuries; and
  • Spinal Cord Injuries.

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Am I required to see the company doctor?

Under Section 306(f.1)(1)(i) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, is an employer establishes a list of at least six designated health care providers (no fewer than three of whom shall be physicians), the employee will be required to visit one of those physicians or other health care providers and continue to visit the same or another designated physician or health care provider for a period of 90 days from the date of the first visit.

If the employer has not established such a list, employees are free to see doctors or physicians of their own choosing. You will want to be sure to speak to an attorney before visiting any company-designated doctor, as such physicians are often acting in the best interest of the employer and seeking statements from you that can be used to deny your workers’ compensation claim.

Employers are also permitted to require injured workers to submit to an independent medical examination (IME) once every six months. Again, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help a worker prepare for an IME.

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Can I sue my employer if I was injured on the job?

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act was enacted largely to prevent litigation against employers, so most workers covered by workers’ compensation are prohibited from filing lawsuits against their employers. The Act, however, does not prevent injured workers from filing lawsuits against negligent third parties that caused or contributed to an employee’s injuries.

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Which kinds of third parties can be liable for injuries sustained on the job?

Depending on the type of accident in the workplace that caused an employee’s injuries, several kinds of third parties could be liable for damages. Co-workers may be liable third parties if their negligent actions resulted in an employee being injured, other drivers can be third parties if a worker is hurt in a car accident while performing work for an employer, and the negligence of contractors or subcontractors can lead to third party claims for many construction accidents.

Third party property owners can also be liable for failure to eliminate dangerous hazards that led to workplace accidents, and manufacturers or vendors could also be liable for selling or producing faulty equipment.

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I was diagnosed with a disease that I believe was the result of my employment, but I retired years ago. What can I do?

While occupational diseases are covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act, many victims are not diagnosed with the diseases until well after the statute of limitations to file a claim has expired. In such cases, workers can still file lawsuits against former employers although most companies have teams of attorneys prepared to drag out legal proceedings for as long as possible.

People who have been diagnosed with asbestosis, mesothelioma, or another similar ailment usually do not have the luxury of waiting several years to see resolutions to these cases. Victims in these situations should immediately retain legal counsel for help exploring their options.

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What should I do if I don’t think that I can afford a lawyer?

You should not assume that you have to handle your workplace injury claim on your own. Ciccarelli Law Offices represents clients on a contingency fee basis so you do not have to worry about paying us anything as we only get paid if you receive a monetary award.

Our West Chester personal injury attorneys represent clients who have sustained all sorts of injuries on the job. Let us review your case to see how we can help by calling (610) 719-3190 right now to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

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