If you are the victim of a work-related injury or illness, the law is on your side. Under Pennsylvania law, most employers are legally required to offer workers’ compensation benefits. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act entitles employees to receive reimbursement for lost wages and medical benefits for workplace injuries.
Lawrence B. Green of Berger and Green has more than 40 years of experience as a personal injury attorney and is proud to serve accident victims throughout Pennsylvania. Our workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and seeking maximum compensation for them. We help clients file new claims, offer guidance on the next steps to take, and assist them with an appeal if their claim is denied.
Common Workplace Injuries That Workers’ Compensation Covers
The types of work-related injuries and illnesses that employees are subject to often hinge on their occupations. For example, construction and utility workers may be more likely to suffer severe injuries due to falls or falling objects. On the other hand, office and factory workers may be more likely to incur repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
According to a 2020 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, strains, contusions and lacerations were the most common injuries involved in worker’s compensation claims, accounting for 30%, 21%, and 12% of the total claims. Moreover, these three injuries combined accounted for 61% of death and disability and 63% of medical-only claims. Sprains and punctures accounted for 9% and 5.5% of claims, respectively.
Other injuries may be the result of the following:
- Slips, trips, and falls may be caused by wet floors, raised doorways, falls from one level to another, or loose floor mats.
- Falls from heights often occur in construction and utility industries, in which a worker falls from scaffolding or a ladder or rooftop.
- Employees may be struck by an object falling from a ledge or high shelf. A worker can also be hit by a moving object, such as a forklift.
- Burns, which can be caused by fires, explosions, heat, chemicals, steam, electricity, or radiation. Burn injuries are common in restaurants and manufacturing, particularly when employees use heat sources, acids, or bases.
- Eye injuries can occur when proper eye and face protection is not provided or worn when necessary to protect against chemical and environmental hazards and irritants.
- Machinery accidents are often reported in cases where an employee was injured by large, heavy machinery. This is most commonly seen in factories and construction sites, and injuries can be severe or fatal.
- Auto accidents commonly occur, especially those involving truck drivers and other people traveling for business and work-related reasons.
For a free legal consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer serving Erie, call 412-661-1400
How Much Time Do I Have to Report a Work Injury and File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Erie, PA?
An employee should report an injury to their supervisor or manager as soon as possible. Section 311 of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act says an employer must receive notice of a work-related injury within 120 days of the incident. If they don’t, it can result in the loss of compensation unless the employer was already aware of the injury.
The act also allows an injured employee to file a claim within three years of the injury date. However, if the injury or illness is not immediately apparent to the worker as being work-related and is not confirmed by their doctor until later, this time may be extended.
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How Much Are Workers’ Compensation Payments in Erie, PA?
Workers’ compensation payments are not a set amount. Instead, they depend on the employee’s average weekly wage earned before their injury. The 2022 updated figures for workers’ compensation payment rates are as follows based on the employee’s average weekly wage (AWW):
- Over $1,807.50 AWW = maximum compensation of $1,205
- Between $903.76 and $1,807.50 AWW = 66 2/3 of AWW
- Between $669.44 and $903.75 AWW = flat rate of $602.50
- Below $669.43 AWW = 90% of AWW
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What Should I Do if My Claim Is Denied?
Employees whose workers’ compensation claim was denied will not have access to medical benefits or lost wages. This can lead to additional injury-related issues and financial hardship. If this happens to you, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. They can thoroughly review your initial claim and request a hearing before a judge.
Your attorney can also help you request a hearing with the Workers’ Compensation Bureau, and the case will be assigned to a judge. The judge will set a hearing date and notify you, your attorney, employer, and the employer’s insurance company of this date.
Next, your lawyer will prepare for the hearing by collecting relevant accident information and medical documents. They may also interview eyewitnesses to this incident, if applicable. Your attorney will also gather information from loved ones and other witnesses regarding your injury’s physical and psychological impact.
You Have a Limited Time to Appeal a Decision
During the hearing, the judge may try to settle the case through mediation. If that is unsuccessful, they will issue a determination after the evidence has been presented. If the judgment is not in your favor, you have 20 days to appeal this decision, as the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board explains.
If the Appeal Board’s ruling is also not in your favor, you have another 30 days to file an appeal with the Commonwealth Court. This court will review the evidence and arguments in your case and issue a written decision. For most workers, the appellate process won’t go beyond this point. However, some may consider appealing to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which would have the final say in the matter.
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Our Erie Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Will Fight for Your Interests
Navigating the complex workers’ compensation process can be challenging and stressful, especially during a time when you should be focused on your recovery. Fortunately, legal help is available to do much of the hard work for you.
If you sustained an injury or illness due to a work-related accident, our legal team can help you fight for your claim to be accepted and receive the compensation you deserve. Contact Erie workers’ compensation lawyers Berger and Green today for a free consultation.
Call or text 412-661-1400 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form