Work Injury Accidents in Erie, Pennsylvania
May 31, 2019
Most days you get up and go to work, figuring it is going to be a regular day. However, one day, the scaffolding you were up on collapses and you find yourself flat on your back on the ground, with serious injuries. What happens next?
Workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory for most employers in Pennsylvania and if you sustained injuries on the job you must report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, if you were involved in a workplace accident, you should report the work incident within 21 days and must report it within 120 days at the latest.
There are some exceptions to the 120-day notice deadline for injured employees. These relate to injuries that are not noticed immediately and other injuries that develop over time. Some examples include repetitive motion injuries and hearing loss that would make it difficult to determine a fixed date of injury. A work injury also includes pre-existing conditions that are exacerbated by a worker’s job as well as occupational diseases.
Be aware that telling a co-workers about your accident is not enough. A manager or supervisor needs to be alerted as well. Notice does not have to be in writing and in some cases the notice provision is satisfied if a manager or supervisor is/was a witness to the accident. Every accident is different, however, and having competent, experienced legal counsel is your best weapon to obtain fair workers’ compensation. At Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, we have the experience needed to make sure your case is heard and treated fairly.
What happens once you file notice of a work-related injury
After receiving notice of a work-related injury, the employer and its insurance company have 21 days to either accept that an injury is work-related by issuing a Notice of Compensation Payable or to deny that the injury is work related by issuing a Notice of Compensation Denial. An employer and its insurance company can also issue a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable which allows them to continue investigating the claim for a period of 90 days after receiving notice of the injury from the employee. If the employer and its insurance company do nothing, the Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable turns in to a Notice of Compensation Payable after ninety 90 days.
The employer and its insurance company can issue a Notice of Compensation Denial during the ninety 90 day extended investigation period following a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable and the claim will be considered denied. If the employer denies the claim either initially during the 21 days following notice of an injury or during the ninety 90 days following a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable, then the injured worker will need to file a workers’ compensation claim with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to obtain benefits within three 3 years from the date of the injury.
What you should know about bringing a lawsuit arising out of a work-related accident
You need to know that you may be able to recover pain and suffering damages by filing a negligence lawsuit against a negligent party who contributed or caused your accident. However, in most instances, workers in Pennsylvania are barred from suing their employer. This is because in exchange for workers’ compensation benefits, workers cannot make personal injury claims for work related injury accidents. They can only bring a workers’ compensation claim. There are exceptions to this rule that include an employer intentionally engaging in conduct resulting in an injury accident. The burden of proof is extremely high in such cases and mostly carried by the injured worker.
Although employers are, generally speaking, immune from lawsuits, there are other parties that may be sued in what is referred to as third party liability cases, including:
- Property management companies
- Outside contractor companies
- Property owners
- Other drivers if you are hurt while driving on the job
You may file a lawsuit for pain and suffering against persons/companies whose negligent conduct caused your injuries. Injured workers have been known to file product liability, motor vehicle or slip and fall claims to obtain compensation for injuries. It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine how to proceed with a possible work injury accident claim in Pennsylvania.
Compensation is paid once the injury is medically documented, which is usually within a 21-day period once the employer has received notice of an injury. Benefits are usually determined according to an injured worker’s “average weekly wage,” a figure that is generally two-thirds of the amount the worker has earned prior to their accident. There are exceptions to the rule and Melaragno, Placidi & Parini takes care to explain those to you.
Although workers’ compensation claims can be complicated, a workplace injury lawyer from Melaragno, Placidi & Parini has your back and stands ready to help you navigate the legal process and obtain the compensation you deserve.