Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Work Injury Attorneys Serving Carlisle, Hanover, Harrisburg, Lancaster, & York
If you were hurt at work and if your employer is blaming you for the injury, you need the help of a Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorney. All too often, you have doctor bills piling up for treatment of the injury, only making matters worse. The last thing you need to worry about after a work injury is distractions because of a denied or reduced claim. You need to worry about you, about healing up and getting back to making a living. Let a lawyer worry about the rest.
At our firm, our legal team includes Attorney J. Jeffrey Watson who is certified as a specialist in the practice of workers' comp law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Workers' Compensation Law Section as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Handler, Henning & Rosenberg has been open since 1922, and we are continually evolving with the needs of our clients.
Have You Been Injured on the Job? One Call...Does It All®!
Workers’ compensation law can be complex; however, our experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys will help you navigate this difficult process and ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout each step of case proceedings. Our Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers are committed to helping employees who have suffered work-related injuries and medical conditions. Our law firm has offices located in Carlisle, Hanover, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and York areas to help serve the needs of our clients throughout Pennsylvania. Since 1922, we’ve established ourselves as one of the largest firms in the area.
Are You Eligible for Workers' Compensation?
All Pennsylvania based employees qualify for some form of workers' compensation. Workers' compensation comes into effect when an employee is injured on the job and is entitled to medical and wage loss benefits.
- Among the employees that DO NOT qualify for workers' compensation are:
- Federal Workers
- Railroad Workers
- Sole Proprietors
- Domestic-Based Workers
- Agriculture Laborers
- Casual Laborers
If you do fall into one of these categories, there is a chance you may be covered under the Federal Employee Compensation Act. If you are a domestic worker, you also have the option to purchase a private form of workers' compensation at your own expense. Importantly, the state places limits on how much a person can receive from workers' comp benefits. To find out more about these limits, visit our blog about PA workers' compensation maximums.
Click here to learn more about the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act.
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law
Under workers’ comp law, injured employees have the right to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of how their injuries occurred. An employee must inform their employer immediately of an injury and consult a medical professional to evaluate the extent of their injuries. There are reporting requirements and time limits to receiving your benefits; per the U.S. Department of Labor, an employee has 120 days to report an injury to their employer. As a result, you should not hesitate to contact a lawyer quickly.
Common Workplace Injuries
Unfortunately, work can be a dangerous environment. Employees are injured every day while they perform their job duties. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, the greatest number of work-related claims involve the lower back and knees being the most common areas for overall injuries. The most common injuries sustained in the workplace being strains and sprains.
Other common injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Puncture Wounds
- Occupational Illness
Strains & Sprains Are the Most Common Workers Comp Injuries
The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation and Workplace Safety Office’s annual report states that there were over 85,000 work injuries and illnesses in Pennsylvania in 2012 and over one hundred deaths. Of the work related injuries, strains and sprains accounted for nearly half (43.9%) of the total workers compensation cases reported in 2012.
Most sprains and strains happened in the trunk area, which means a lot of strained backs. In fact, there were more work related strained back injuries than those involving hands and fingers. Now that we know where people are being injured, what are the causes?
The leading cause of injuries reported for PA workers’ comp claims in 2012 was overexertion. The report defines overexertion as lifting, pulling, pushing, etc. There were 25,481 of these workers compensation cases in Pennsylvania in 2012.
Filing a Workers' Comp Claim in Pennsylvania
Workers' compensation cannot be paid out until a claim has been filed, either by their employer or by the employee. An employee has 120 days to file a workers' comp claim and must be accepted or denied within 21 days of filing a claim. It is important to inform your employer of the injury immediately after its occurrence, see a medical professional to access the extent of your injury, and begin filing the necessary paperwork to take full advantage of your benefits.
Why Was My Claim Denied?
It is always a difficult process applying for workers' compensation; however, this can be made worse by a claim which is denied.
A workers' compensation claim may be denied for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to:
- Exceeding the Time Limit
- No Medical Diagnosis
- Lack of Medical Evidence
- Intentional Accidents
- Insufficient Information
If you are denied for workers' compensation, this may lead to loss of wages and a buildup of medical expenses that could lead to financial hardships. However, it is within an employees' rights to appeal any workers' compensation decision.
How Does Workers’ Comp Pay for Lost Wages?
When a worker is incapable of performing their normal job duties, the beneficiary may receive approximately two-thirds of his or her average weekly income. This pay can be offset by other earnings such as severance pay, unemployment comp, and social security entitlement. These benefits are paid out by the State Workers’ Insurance Fund or through private insurance companies. A worker is only entitled to receive wage-loss payments after being disabled for a period longer than seven calendar days, earning their first day of compensation on their eight day of disablement.
If a worker ends up being disabled for longer than fourteen calendar days, the employee will now have earned the right to receive compensation for their first seven days of disability. When an injury is reported immediately after its occurrence, a worker can expect to receive their first comp check within the first three weeks of the incident. In addition to this, a worker who suffers a permanent loss of a body function (movement of a finger, loss of hearing, etc) will be eligible to receive an additional amount that is dependent on the severity of the loss.
There are a few ways that workers’ comp benefits can end. If an employee returns to work at the same rate of pay that they were receiving before an injury, an employer is then required to discontinue the workers benefit. In the event that an employer or insurance company asses a work-related claim and deems the claim unacceptable, the worker will then no longer receive their compensation benefit.
In addition, workers’ comp can be discontinued by a judge after a worker’s hearing or if a disability status expires from fulfillment of the total benefit. If you or a loved one has been cut-off from workers’ compensation and you want answers, please contact Handler Henning & Rosenberg LLC for a free evaluation of your case.
Can I Get Unemployment During or After My Workers’ Comp Benefit?
There are certain scenarios where a Pennsylvanian worker will be eligible to receive both unemployment and workers’ compensation due to a work-related injury. However, any benefit that is received in addition to workers’ comp will actually “eat into” the total amount that someone is awarded through workers’ compensation. So, despite one’s ability to receive both workers’ comp and unemployment, the unemployment benefit will be counted towards the workers’ comp total, making the sum of both benefits equal to solely receiving workers’ compensation.
The greatest downside to concurrently receiving both benefits is that there is an expiration date attached to unemployment. Each worker is entitled to a strict lifetime allowance of unemployment benefit, and in the event that a worker starts to use unemployment, this allowance will begin to dwindle. It may not be advisable to concurrently receive workers’ compensation and unemployment.
However, in the event that a workers’ compensation benefit stands in jeopardy of being forfeited or suspended, it is recommended that a worker look into the unemployment benefit as a fall back. If you are currently receiving workers’ compensation but worry that your case will be dismissed, contact our office now for a free consultation regarding your eligibility to receive your unemployment benefit.
Do I Need a Workers' Compensation or Personal Injury Attorney?
If you are injured on the job, it may be unclear whether you need a workers' comp or a personal injury attorney. In a recent New Jersey court case, a woman was awarded $2.25 million in a slip-and-fall case. She fell on ice in the parking lot as she was going into work. In this case, the property owner was determined to be liable for the damages in a premises liability lawsuit. However, some cases may not be so clear. For example, if the woman had been driving to the post office to purchase stamps as part of her job duties and her vehicle was rear-ended by another driver, would she qualify for workers' comp or should she file a personal injury claim against the driver of the other vehicle? Should she hire a workers' compensation lawyer or an automobile accident lawyer?
The woman in this example would likely be entitled to receive workers' comp benefits under Pennsylvania's workers' compensation laws because she was injured while on the job. However, if the driver of the other vehicle was at-fault for the accident, the woman may also have a claim against the driver. Workers' compensation pays for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages if you are unable to work due to injuries sustained in a job-related accident. However, you are not entitled to receive comp for your pain and suffering. In an automobile accident claim against the other driver, you may be entitled to receive compensation for all lost wages in addition to compensation for your physical pain and emotional suffering. Therefore, the woman in our example may receive more compensation from a personal injury claim than she will receive under workers' compensation laws.
Having an attorney who understands workers' compensation laws and Pennsylvania automobile accident law is important in a case like this to ensure you receive the comp you are entitled to receive for your damages. An attorney who practices law in both of these areas understands how they relate to each other. A comprehensive understanding of both areas of law allows the attorney to sort out the complex questions of liability. Our attorneys can also sort out the issue of subrogation rights if the workers' compensation insurer pays for some expenses prior you receiving compensation from the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
We Handle All Areas of Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law
The personal injury attorneys of Handler, Henning & Rosenberg have extensive knowledge in the areas of Pennsylvania workers' compensation and the laws governing car accidents in Pennsylvania. Our attorneys have the experience to handle complex personal injury claims. We offer comprehensive legal representation when you need it the most. We want to help you recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, emotional suffering, and physical pain. When you are injured on the job or injured because of the careless, reckless, or negligent acts of another party, you should not be required to bear the financial burden alone.
Skilled Representation from Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Lawyers!
Our workers’ compensation attorneys have helped thousands receive benefits and recover lump-sum settlements. Our lawyers will advise you and handle your claim from start to finish, so you can focus on healing and getting back to work.
Hurt on the job? Contact Handler, Henning & Rosenberg at (888) 498-3023 to begin your journey!
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