You’re Hurt From a Work Accident, We Can Help
If you have been injured on the job or developed a work-related injury or illness, you may have questions about workers’ compensation. Our experienced lawyer can help you understand your employer’s compensation plan coverage and assist you in pursuing the benefits you deserve.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance coverage. Most Pennsylvania employers must maintain this coverage for their employees under commonwealth law, although certain businesses are exempt. Independent contractors do not receive workers’ compensation benefits unless they purchase their own policies.
Like other insurance plans, the policyholder (your employer) pays a set amount (the “premium”) for a specific dollar amount of coverage. The premium depends on many factors, including the types of business activities employees perform, the company’s history of prior accidents and workers’ comp claims, and the employer’s total payroll. The insurance carrier pays the medical expenses of any injured worker covered by the policy as well as compensation for lost wages and disability.
Many workers feel guilty pursuing workers’ compensation claims against their employers because they worry the company will be directly liable for any settlement or judgment. This is a misconception. While the number and value of workers’ comp claims may affect the cost of an employer’s future premiums, the employer’s insurance carrier pays the actual benefits.
Covered Injuries and Benefits
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act identifies three categories of injuries that workers’ compensation policies must cover:
- Injuries sustained in specific work-related incidents (burns, cuts, broken bones, amputations, concussions, etc.).
- Injuries or diseases caused by repetitive motions or long-term workplace conditions (hearing loss, chemical sensitivity, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.).
- Pre-existing conditions aggravated by workplace conditions or work activities (stress-induced heart attack in a hypertensive individual, an old back injury that escalates into a herniated disk, etc.).
Workers’ compensation also covers occupational diseases, including (but not limited to) tuberculosis and hepatitis for medical professionals, heart and lung disease for firefighters, pneumoconiosis and silicosis for coal workers, and chemical poisoning for occupations exposed to heavy metals and other toxins.
Injured workers covered by workers’ compensation can receive different kinds of benefits, including medical expenses, lost wages (temporary and/or permanent partial or total benefits), and death benefits. Unfortunately, unlike ordinary injury claims, you cannot collect anything to compensate you for pain and suffering.
Pursuing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Like other insurance carriers, workers’ compensation insurers work hard to minimize the payouts on their policies. Because of this, injured workers are sometimes denied the benefits they deserve. If you have been denied workers’ comp coverage for a work-related injury, if your benefits have been terminated, or if an insurer is seeking repayment for benefits it has already paid, you need an attorney.
An attorney can help you file a claim or negotiate a settlement with your employer’s workers’ comp carrier. Our experienced team will assist you with all aspects of litigation, including filing a claim petition, preparing for an initial hearing and any subsequent hearings, undergoing an independent medical examination (IME), testifying in an examination under oath (EUO), evaluating medical testimony, participating in mediation or arbitration, and if necessary, filing an appeal to challenge a Workers’ Compensation Board’s decision.
Generally, your right to workers’ compensation is your only remedy for injuries you sustain on the job or because of your work. However, there are exceptions, including third-party claims against others who may have contributed to your injury (manufacturers of dangerous substances found in your workplace that contributed to your disease, for example). An experienced workers’ compensation attorney, like the team at Hall & Copetas, can evaluate all of your recovery options and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Your Next Steps
- If you’re injured from a work accident, please reach out and contact us immediately by calling 412-344-1333 or filling out the form-fill below.
- Read more about Your Rights As an Injured Worker & the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process