Pennsylvania Healthcare Employee Work Injury Law Firm

Pennsylvania Healthcare Employee Work Injury Law Firm

The novel coronavirus has placed a burden on the healthcare system unlike any other in recent history. Ever since the virus first arrived in the United States, state governments have been fighting to keep up with mitigation and testing. Pennsylvania is no exception. Despite Governor Wolf’s fairly early efforts to close schools, shut down businesses and require residents to stay at home, there are still tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Among those who are most at risk for contracting the virus are healthcare workers. Healthcare workers voluntarily put themselves on the front lines to fight against COVID-19 and, as a result, many have contracted the virus themselves. Sadly, many of these cases could – and should – have been prevented had hospitals been more prepared.

At Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, we represent Pennsylvania healthcare workers who have contracted COVID-19 to help them recover compensation for the injuries they sustained as a result of COVID-19. A COVID-19 diagnosis almost certainly will result in significant medical bills, missed work, life-long injury or even death. We want to help you and your family during this challenging time. While filing a claim for compensation may not be at the front of your mind as you recover from your illness, we encourage you to reach out as soon as possible to discuss your options. Our team of dedicated attorneys are waiting to speak with you at your convenience.

Healthcare COVID-19 Statistics

The United States has the most COVID-19 cases in the world:

  • 1,055,303 cases
  • 61,112 deaths
  • 6,093,208 COVID-19 tests administered

With over 45,000 cases of COVID-19, Pennsylvania has the fifth most cases in the United States:

  • 45,016 cases
  • 2,195 deaths
  • 214,883 COVID-19 tests administered

Pennsylvania COVID-19 cases by age:

  • 0 to 4: less than one percent of the total cases
  • 5 to 12: less than one percent of the total cases
  • 13 to 18: one percent of the total cases
  • 19 to 24: six percent of the total cases
  • 25 to 49: 38 percent of the total cases
  • 50 to 64: 27 percent of the total cases
  • 64 and older: 26 percent of the total cases

Pennsylvania counties with the most cases of COVID-19:

  • Philadelphia County – 11,885 cases
  • Bucks County – 2,733 cases
  • Montgomery County – 4,177 cases
  • Lehigh County – 2,719 cases
  • Berks County – 2,637 cases
  • Delaware County – 3,619 cases
  • Luzerne County – 2,111 cases
  • Northampton County – 2,008

Philadelphia counties with the most COVID-19 deaths:

  • Bucks County – 185 deaths
  • Delaware County – 224 deaths
  • Montgomery County – 329 deaths
  • Philadelphia County – 424 deaths

At least 9,200 healthcare workers have been infected with the novel coronavirus. However, the actual number of infected workers is thought to be much higher due to the lack of available testing.

  • At least 743 healthcare workers have been hospitalized as a result of COVID-19
  • At least 184 healthcare workers have been admitted to the ICU as a result of COVID-19
  • 27 Healthcare workers across the country have died from COVID-19.

55 percent of all healthcare workers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 are believed to have contracted the virus at work.

There are 2,951,960 registered nurses in the United States

While nurses make more than the average wage, they are also more frequently exposed to situations where they may become infected by COVID-19.

  • On average, nurses make $34.49 per hour.
  • On average, workers make $18.58 per hour.
  • 89 percent of nurses spend significant time in close proximity with others
  • On average, just 55.3 percent of workers spend close proximity with others.
  • 93 percent of nurses are exposed to disease throughout their workday
  • On average, just 19.9 percent of workers are exposed to disease throughout their day.
  • 98.4 percent of nurses have frequent face-to-face interactions with others.
  • On average, just 85.3 percent of workers have frequent interaction with others throughout their day.

Nursing assistants make, on average, slightly less than $14 per hour. Yet, 95 percent of nursing assistants are frequently in close proximity to others.

Pharmacy technicians, on average, make slightly less than $16 per hour. Yet, 85 percent of pharmacy technicians are frequently in close proximity to others.

Many healthcare workers are considered “essential” and must report to work, despite the increased dangers during the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

COVID-19 is an extremely contagious infectious disease that is primarily spread through the air. According to medical experts, the virus causing the disease is most often spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If another person is nearby, that person may contract the virus. The virus can also spread when a healthy person touches an infected surface and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.

The Symptoms of COVID-19

The symptoms of the novel coronavirus are similar the symptoms of the flu, including a dry cough, low-grade fever and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing. Some, but not all, patients report a loss of smell. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should isolate themselves from others and reach out to a healthcare professional to be evaluated.

Who Is at Risk?

At the present time, medical experts believe that anyone can contract COVID-19, and that no one is immune unless they have already had the virus. Anyone who ends up contracting COVID-19 is at risk of developing severe respiratory symptoms that can lead to death. However, many of those who are young and healthy will recover if they become infected. That said, even otherwise healthy people may become sick and could need hospitalization.

The real concern with COVID-19 is its impact on high-risk individuals. The virus presents an increased risk of complications for those over 60 years of age, those who are immunocompromised, as well as individuals with certain pre-existing health conditions, including:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • HIV
  • Asthma
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Chronic lung conditions
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

Protecting Against the Spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 is spread through the air as well as through physical touch. The World Health Organization recommends that, to combat the spread of the disease, everyone:

  • Wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with liquid soap and water;
  • Cover their nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing;
  • Avoid close contact (within six feet) of those who may have the virus;
  • Wear a mask when around other people; and
  • Stay at home and self-isolate if they are feeling unwell or exhibiting any respiratory symptoms.

On April 1, 2020 Governor Wolf issued an executive order requiring most residents stay at home to reduce the rate at which COVID-19 spreads. However, the Governor’s executive order leaves room for many “life sustaining” businesses to continue operations. Of course, most healthcare workers are certainly included in this group.

Hazards Facing Pennsylvania Healthcare Workers

While all essential employees face certain hazards at work during the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare workers are face-to-face with the virus on a daily basis. These front-line workers face a variety of hazards making it dangerous to do their job.

The most obvious risk facing many healthcare workers is their direct exposure to patients who have COVID-19. For example, according to a recent study, over 93 percent of nurses are frequently exposed to disease, and 98 percent are frequently in face-to-face contact with others, including patients. Because the coronavirus can spread easily through the air, hospitals are an ideal environment for the virus to spread. Nurses and doctors who work in hospitals are constantly around infected patients, and by that fact alone, are at an increased risk of contracting the virus.

The shortage of crucial personal protective equipment is another hazard facing many Pennsylvania healthcare workers. Personal protective equipment, such as N95 respirator masks, isolation gowns, facemasks, gloves and eye protection, reduce the risk of infection for healthcare workers. Unfortunately, PPE has been in short supply across Pennsylvania since the beginning of the pandemic. As a result, Governor Wolf passed another executive order authorizing the Pennsylvania Emergency management Agency to “commandeer and utilize all PPE, pharmaceuticals, and other medical resources located within the Commonwealth” in the fight against COVID-19. Despite this effort, PPE has still been in short supply. Many Pennsylvania healthcare workers have been forced to reuse single-use equipment and others have even gone so far as to create their own make-shift PPE out of commonly available supplies. Clearly, re-used or home-made equipment is not an acceptable replacement for those who are already placing themselves in danger to care for others with COVID-19.

Pennsylvania healthcare workers are placed in further danger due to staff shortages at a time when hospitals across the state are at or above capacity. As a result, Pennsylvania healthcare workers are being asked to perform a nearly insurmountable task without the supports needed to safely do their job. Not surprisingly, healthcare workers across the state have already become infected with COVID-19, and it is expected that many more cases will follow. Healthcare workers who have contracted COVID-19 should reach out to one of the dedicated Erie personal injury lawyers at the Melaragno, Placidi & Parini for immediate assistance.

Compensation for Pennsylvania Healthcare Employees Diagnosed with COVID-19

When a healthcare employee is injured on the job, or they contract an occupational disease such as COVID-19, there are typically two types of claims they can pursue. The first is a workers’ compensation claim. A Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim is a way for an injured employee to quickly obtain benefits after a workplace injury or occupational illness. The workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, meaning than an employee does not need to prove that their employer was responsible for their injury. However, the insurance companies that carry employers’ workers’ compensation policies will routinely contest claims. For example, an insurance company may dispute that an Erie healthcare worker contracted COVID-19 as a result of their job and claim that they got the virus from another source. While a workers’ compensation claim allows an employee to obtain compensation without establishing fault, the downside to these claims is that they do not allow for the recovery of non-economic damages, such as compensation for pain and suffering.

The second type of claim that may be available to a Pennsylvania essential employee with COVID-19 is a personal injury claim. Generally, there are no limits on the type or amount of damages that can be awarded in a personal injury claim. However, to successfully bring in a personal injury claim, a healthcare worker must be able to establish that the named defendant was negligent, and that the defendant’s negligence resulted in their injuries.

The biggest hurdle in many workplace injury cases is overcoming the exclusive-remedy provision of the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law. Typically, when an employee is injured on the job, their only remedy against an employer is a workers’ compensation claim. Except in limited cases, an injured employee can file for workers’ compensation but cannot pursue a personal injury case against their employer. Notably, exceptions in these cases are rare, as an employee must show that their diagnosis was the result of an employers’ willful or intentional actions. Of course, the exclusive-remedy provision does not preclude an injured employee from pursuing a personal injury case against a third party.

Contact a Pennsylvania Work Injury Lawyer Today

Pennsylvania healthcare workers take up the front line in the fight against the novel coronavirus, often at great risk to themselves. If you or a loved one has contracted COVID-19 while employed as a Pennsylvania healthcare worker, contact the dedicated injury advocates at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini. At Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, our team of attorneys is committed to helping you and your family overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in any way we can. We handle all types of Pennsylvania personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims and unemployment claims. Our lawyers have been selected as Top 10 Attorney for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys awarded to attorneys demonstrating exceptional and outstanding client service. We will help you determine if you have the right to file a lawsuit to compensate you for your injuries. Call us at (814) 459-5557. While our physical offices are closed to protect the safety of our staff, clients and society as a whole, we are working remotely to ensure uninterrupted representation to both new and established clients.

Testimonials

I would recommend them to anyone and have. 

John is a great attorney.  John and his staff promptly return calls and emails when you have questions and concerns not only when the process starts but all the way to completion.  John and his staff have been a godsend throughout. I would recommend them to anyone and have. 

- Virginia

I would recommend them to anyone and have. 

John is a great attorney.  John and his staff promptly return calls and emails when you have questions and concerns not only when the process starts but all the way to completion.  John and his staff have been a godsend throughout. I would recommend them to anyone and have. 

- Virginia

Attorney Parini impressed me as soon as I met him.

I knew right off the bat that this attorney was the person I wanted to represent me. His very intimidating posture, led me to believe he could handle anything that would come his way. The man is a winner.  

- J.C.

Gene was awesome!!!

He handled everything so I didn’t have to worry and could just focus on my recovery and get back to work. He was always available and quick to return my phone calls and emails with the answers I needed. My case was handled quickly and with no added stress to me or my family. I would recommend Matt to anyone in need of assistance after a motor vehicle accident.

- V.L.