Nearly every employee, no matter what their vocation, has the potential to become injured on the job. When those injuries are severe enough to make continued work impossible, an employee can file a Workers’ Compensation claim. In 2014, over $105 million was awarded in connection with Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation benefits, but that sum is far lower than what was originally sought by injured workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by mid-2014, just 33% of all claims for Workers’ Compensation had been approved.
The stress that accompanies lost salary and wages is only made worse by mounting medical bills, but a skilled Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help. With a proven track record of success, Jeffrey S. Gross and Patrick W. Kenny, understand the immense anxiety that is felt by injured workers. Before embarking on a Workers’ Compensation claim, it is important to understand the purpose of benefits, as well as what it will take to prevail on your claim.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act was established over one century ago to help employees stay financially afloat while recovering from injuries sustained during the course of employment, as well as to limit liability for employers. A Workers’ Compensation claim does not encompass pain and suffering, but instead consists of a recurring award of proportional lost wages, as well as reimbursement for medical expenses. When an employee prevails on a Workers’ Compensation claim, they can expect lost wages to be repaid in weekly or bi-weekly installments, non-taxed, until they receive medical clearance to return to work. In exchange, employees have virtually no legal recourse against an employer in connection with a work-related injury as Workers’ Compensation is no-fault.
Pennsylvania employees need not opt-in to Workers’ Compensation benefits in the way they would elect supplemental life insurance policy or other benefits that are offered by employers. Instead, under the law, all workers in the state are granted the right to seek these benefits if hurt at work. Moreover, anyone who performs a service in exchange for wages is considered Workers’ Compensation-eligible. Rescue workers, volunteer firemen, and even immigrants can potentially file a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Workers’ Compensation is generally available for any injury sustained on the job, regardless of whether an employee had a preexisting condition or was acting negligently at the time of their accident. Death benefits are also payable to a surviving spouse or dependents in the event an employee is fatally injured on the job. In such circumstances a percentage of the lost wages – based upon what the victim would have continued to earn, had she or he survived – are awarded until a spouse remarries.
Unfortunately, prevailing on a Workers’ Compensation claim is far from straightforward. Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers note that even the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry recommends that injured employees seek legal representation. Employers and their insurance carriers often vigorously contest not only requests for Workers’ Compensation benefits, but also requests for vocational rehabilitation when it becomes clear that a worker will never be able to fulfill their previous job duties. Additionally, an employee who secures Worker’s Compensation benefits may later be challenged to return to work before they are able.
If you have been injured on the job and are in need of Workers’ Compensation benefits – or if you have been issued a denial of a claim already initiated – contact Gross & Kenny, LLP. Since 1991, lead attorney Gross has concentrated his efforts solely in the field of Workers’ Compensation, serving as a tireless advocate on behalf of injured workers throughout the region. Call our team of Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at 215-512-1500 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation at our Philadelphia offices.