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Workers’ compensation claim approved after multiple appeals

Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorneys

Workers' compensation claims come from all different types of people from all different walks of life. But regardless of your position at your place of employment, if you're tasked with doing something that gets you injured, you likely have a valid workers' compensation claim.

Man quits, gets injured, files workers' compensation claim

Not too long ago, a Florida healthcare company with an office in Pennsylvania was ordered to pay workers' compensation to an ex-employee for an accident that happened mere moments after he quit his job. 

According to the claim, the man was a truck driver for a Florida-based company called Vitas Healthcare Corporation. He delivered medical equipment and hospital and office furniture in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. On the day he quit, the man came to work to get his schedule after working "on-call" the weekend before. The man was tired from his long on-call weekend and asked if some of his stops could be rescheduled because he didn't feel as though it was safe for him to be driving a full day until midnight after logging so many hour two days prior. His supervisor denied the requests and the man promptly quit, telling his boss that he would no longer be able to work under such conditions.

Shortly thereafter, the man turned his keys and work-appointed phone into his supervisor and she informed the man that she would take him to get his personal items from his assigned company truck. After retrieving his personal belongings, the man tripped and fell over some warehouse equipment and was injured. The report showed that the supervisor was a witness.

After a few days, the man called the supervisor to ask for a doctor referral, but she told him that only current company employees could be referred to a doctor. The man hired a lawyer and filed a civil suit with Delaware County (PA). In an effort to have the suit dropped, Vitas said that his injury should be covered under workers' compensation laws. The man withdrew his lawsuit and filed his workers' compensation claim.

Appeals abound

A judge awarded the man his benefits. It was then that Vitas decided to appeal the ruling, claiming that the man's injuries weren't covered because he no longer worked for the company; this after Vitas said that the injury was covered so that the man would drop his civil suit.

The PA Workers' Compensation Board of commissioners stopped the man's benefits to review the case and decided, again, that he did deserve the benefits because he had been directed by another Vitas employee to perform a job-related task. Vitas again appealed and the ruling was reversed, with the board finding that the man was not eligible for benefits because he quit his job before he was injured. The man then appealed that decision, and the PA Commonwealth Court decided that the man will receive workers' compensation benefits. They said Vitas tricked the man into dropping his original civil suit by then appealing his workers' compensation claim decision.

Justice is served

In addition, the court decided that quitting or being fired does not mean a person cannot receive workers' compensation benefits if the person is still following an employer's directions at the place of business or in the employer's vehicle. According to the ruling: "Although [the victim] quit before he was injured…he was acting [under the company's] direction…furthering [the company's] interests."

Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. – Free Consultation – 800.777.4081

As you can see, there can be many different nuances to a workers' compensation claim. If you have any questions, call Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. at 800-777-4081 for a free consultation.

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