Pittsburgh PA Workers Compensation Lawyer
PA & OH Workers Comp Attorney
Many accidents happen while at work. In Pennsylvania and Ohio alone, thousands are hurt every year while they are at work. Every business in OH and PA is required to carry Worker’s Compensation insurance in case of an accident. Workers Compensation is designed to recover an employee’s economic loss during their period of recovery.
The term “workers’ compensation” refers to a system of laws outlining specific benefits to which injured employees are entitled, and the procedures for obtaining such benefits. Every state has its own workers’ compensation laws, which are contained in statutes, and vary somewhat from state to state. In addition, there are special, federal workers’ compensation laws for employees of the federal government and other, specific types of industries.
Under the law in Pennsylvania and Ohio, every business must have some form of workers’ compensation insurance to cover injured employees. Filing a workers’ compensation claim is similar to filing an insurance claim; it isn’t a lawsuit against an employer, but rather a request for benefits. If you have been injured at work, attorneys experienced in workmans comp law can explain the complexities of workers’ compensation and help you secure the maximum benefits to which you are entitled.
Dallas and his associates have handled thousands of cases throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio and have experience with the Workers Compensation Laws and Personal Injury Laws in both states.
Have you been denied Workers Compensation benefits?
If you have been told that your injuries are not severe enough or a doctor has refused to approve your worker’s compensation, where are you going to turn? If you know that you are too hurt to return to work, but you have been denied workers compensation, call Dallas today in Pittsburgh at (412) 262-2888 or toll-free (800) 777-4081 or email us for a free case evaluation. Our Pennsylvania and Ohio worker’s compensation attorneys have helped many injured workers receive workers’ compensation benefits and settlements after they were initially denied.
Our Pennsylvania Workman Compensation Attorneys and Ohio Workers Comp Lawyers can help you get the benefits you are entitled under Pennsylvania and Ohio worker’s compensation law, help you understand the worker’s comp process in either PA or OH, review prior action taken by the worker’s compensation insurance company and the insurance company doctors, gather evidence including reports and medical records, and represent you at your worker’s compensation hearings.
At our law office, we have seen almost every type of work-related injury from broken bones to carpal tunnel syndrome in varying industries, from construction to industrial to heath care workers comp. No matter the type of injury, we will try our best to help you receive the maximum benefits allowed by law. You do not have to have been involved in a work accident to file a valid workers’ compensation claim. Problems such as back problems, cartilage damage, hearing loss, carpal tunnel syndrome, and traumatic arthritis arising from the repetitive activities of many occupations can be debilitating.
Pennsylvania Work Injury Statistics
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) keeps track of workplace injuries and deaths throughout the country. It collects data to track the most dangerous industries, the most common types of accidents, and safety violations inspectors find during investigations. According to the Bureau’s most recent data for Pennsylvania, there were 173 worker deaths in 2015. This was a slight decrease from 179 deaths in 2014. Worker fatalities in Pennsylvania have ranged from a high of 354 workers in 1994 to a low of 168 workers in 2009.
Transportation incidents were the leading cause of occupational fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2015, with 70 related deaths. Slips, trips, and falls were the second-leading cause, with 36 deaths. Together, these two causes accounted for 61% of all Pennsylvania workplace fatalities. The third-most frequent fatal incident was contact with objects or equipment, with 25 deaths, followed by violence by persons or animals with 22 deaths. Transportation accidents were the number one factor in worker deaths around the nation in 2015, accounting for 42% of all workplace deaths.
Pennsylvania had a higher percentage of falls, slips, and trips than the national average in 2015, but lower percentages of transportation incidents and violence. The Commonwealth tied the national averages for contact with objects/equipment and all other workplace incidents. The most dangerous occupations for PA workers are those in the transportation and material moving industry, followed by the construction industry. The private construction industry sector had the largest number of fatalities in the state.
Injuries by Event in PA
A breakdown of each event or exposure that caused fatal occupational injuries in Pennsylvania by industry can help the state understand which occupations pose the greatest threats to workers, and how best to prevent accidents in the future. The BLS keeps track of events and exposures by industry with the most recent data coming from 2014-2015. By percentage, these are the most common events or exposures that resulted in worker death both years:
- Transportation incidents – 40%
- Fall, slip, or trip – 21% 3
- Contact with objects and equipment – 14%
- Violence and other injuries by persons or animals – 13%
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments – 9%
Specific events that caused the most deaths included homicides, pedestrian accidents, falls to lower levels, and objects or equipment striking workers. According to the data, male workers accounted for 92% of all worker fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2015. The national percentage of killed male workers was 93% the same year. White, non-Hispanic workers accounted for 80% of deceased workers. The age group with the most deaths was 25 to 54-year-olds, with 60% of the state’s employee fatalities.
Frequently Asked Questions about Workers Comp in Pennsylvania
When you have developed a work-related illness or condition, or when you have suffered an on-the-job injury, you will likely have many questions concerning the next steps you need to take. At the Pennsylvania Dallas W. Hartman, P.C., our lawyers can help provide you with the answers. The following are some workers’ compensation FAQs. It is important to remember that everyone’s situation is unique and there is nothing that can serve as a substitute for personalized legal advice.
What are the Most Common Types of Work Injuries?
The most common kinds of workplace injuries differ according to the industry. In construction, for example, fall-related injuries such as head/brain injuries and spinal cord damage are the most common. In the oil and gas industry, fractures, burns, and chemical burns are the most common. Workers in Pennsylvania can sustain any type of injury while on the job, but the most frequent will depend on the industry. In general, workers face risks of injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Strains from overexertion
- Back, neck, or spine injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Illness from exposure to substances
An occupational injury can change a worker’s life forever. Injuries may cause immense pain and force the employee to take time off of work to recover. Medical bills can be in the thousands or even hundreds of thousands if injuries are catastrophic. Some will always live with the effects of a workplace injury, suffering from chronic pain, disabilities, amputations, or disfigurement. Others die from their injuries, leaving behind spouses, children, and family members. Workers’ compensation aims to reimburse injured workers for their losses.
How Long Can I File a Workers’ Comp Claim in Pennsylvania?
If you believe you have a workers’ compensation claim in Pennsylvania, your first step is to report the incident to your employer. Explain what happened and describe any injuries. Request medical care immediately. You have 120 days from the date of the injury to notify your employer or supervisor, but we recommend that you do not wait. If you want to file a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company, you only have a limited time to do so before the statute of limitations runs out.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for filing a workers’ comp claim is three years from the date of injury. If the commission denies your initial claim, you must file a Claim Petition within three years of the date of injury. There are specific deadlines that may also apply to your claim. For example, you will have to wait at least 90 days before seeing a physician of your choice. Within the 90 days, you must visit a physician on the list of approved providers your employer has. Work with an attorney to learn about the deadlines and potential exceptions for your particular case.
What is the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act?
Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation laws come from the 1915 Pennsylvania Workmen’s Compensation Act. This act gave workers the right to request compensation after injuries that occur as a result of employment, regardless of fault. The statute defines the rights of workers to file claims, as well as what benefits they may receive. Here are some of the most important provisions:
- Mandatory coverage. Most employers must carry and maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Some are exempt, such as employees covered under other workers’ compensation acts, including federal employees. Failure to have workers’ comp insurance can result in penalties, criminal prosecution, and lawsuits from employees.
- Qualifying injuries. Virtually any injury, illness, or condition that relates to the workers’ employment may qualify for coverage under the Act. The Act does not list specific injuries that qualify. Physical injuries, occupational diseases, and preexisting conditions that work activities aggravate may all be eligible for coverage.
- Filing process. Your employer can file a claim on your behalf after your report your accident. Otherwise, you may download the forms on your own, fill them out, and submit them online through the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Automation and Integration System.
- Benefits you may receive. The system will provide coverage for all accident-related medical expenses, as well as two-thirds of your average weekly wage. There is a maximum benefit rate you cannot go over, regardless of your weekly wage. You may receive temporary or permanent benefits for disabilities as well.
- Timeline for benefits. Your employer’s workers’ compensation company has 21 days to approve or deny your claim after they receive notice of your injury. If it approves your claim, expect your first compensation check within 14 days of notifying your employer of the injury. You will receive checks every two weeks for the duration of your payments.
The more you know about the Act, the better you will be able to protect your rights after injurious work-related accidents. For any questions, concerns, or personalized help with workers’ comp claim in Pennsylvania, retain a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney.
Do I Qualify for Workers’ Comp?
In Pennsylvania, as a general rule, workers’ compensation covers all injuries and illnesses caused by a work-related accident or condition. Aggravations of pre-existing work-related injuries or illnesses are also covered by workers’ compensation. There are a few exceptions. Often, employers and insurance companies will deny workers’ compensation benefits by claiming that you did not sustain a work-related injury or illness. Just because your claim has been denied, however, does not mean it’s not valid. Our attorneys can review your situation and let you know what options you have moving forward.
What if I Can’t Return to My Job?
In Pennsylvania, if you are not able to return to work as a result of a work-related injury or illness you may be entitled to wage loss benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Wage loss benefits are equal to approximately 2/3 of your average weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum compensation rate. The minimum compensation rate is equal to the lower of 90% of the worker’s average weekly wage or 50% of the statewide average weekly wage. The maximum weekly wage compensation rate for the year 2015 is $951.06. We can review your case to ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to.
How Much Compensation am I Eligible For?
Because everyone’s situation is unique, it is impossible to say exactly how much compensation you are in a position to recover. A wide range of factors needs to be taken into account, including the severity and type of injury, and whether you are considered partially or permanently disabled. We understand how to strengthen your claim and position you for the best possible results under workers’ compensation laws. We can even work to achieve lump sum settlements instead of weekly or monthly allotments.
Can I Sue my Employer?
In Pennsylvania, the general rule is no. The Workers’ Compensation Act provides the sole and exclusive remedy for work-related injuries and illnesses. While there are very few limited exceptions to this rule, these exceptions seldom apply. It is important to know, however, that an injured worker can sue someone other than his or her employer (a third party) for his or her work injuries. For example, a worker injured in a motor vehicle accident while in the course of his or her employment may sue the driver of another vehicle who caused the accident. Likewise, a worker injured by a defective machine at work may sue the manufacturer of the machine. If you believe a party other than your employer (or co-employee) caused or contributed to the work injury or illness, our attorneys will review your case to see if you have a potential third-party claim.
What Do I Need to Do to Start the Workers’ Comp Claims Process?
The answer is simple. In Pennsylvania, prompt reporting of a work-related injury or illness is key. Report any injury or illness to your employer or supervisor immediately, even if you think it is minor or will resolve without medical treatment. You have 120 days under the Workers’ Compensation Act to notify your employer or supervisor that you suffered a work-related injury or illness. After reporting your work-related injury or illness to your employer, seek qualified legal advice from our attorneys.
Are My Workers Compensation Benefits in Danger of Coming to an End?
Have you received a letter threatening to lower or eliminate your worker’s compensation although you are unable to return to work? Are you being forced to take another position with limited duties, even though you do not feel comfortable in that position? If this applies to you or a loved one, it is important that you contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer today. An experienced attorney, like Dallas Hartman, may help you extend your worker’s compensation benefits or receive a lump sum if you have been receiving workers’ compensation benefits for a long enough period of time.
Pittsburgh Workers Compensation Lawyer – Free Consultations!
If you or a loved one has been hurt at work or at a job site, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits in either Pennsylvania or Ohio. Contact Dallas today to schedule a free initial consultation. Call in Pittsburgh at (412) 262-2888 or toll-free 1-800-777-4081 to speak to an attorney immediately to find out whether you have a case. If there is no recovery, there will be no fee.
Recent Client Testimonial:
“Dallas was a true lifesaver for my family. When my husband was seriously injured and not able to work again because of it, I had to start over and go back to work just to feed my kids. Because of his injury, my husband became very depressed. Dallas was able to get us a settlement and I was able to stay home and help my husband. Through therapy and pain management I now have my husband’s back. We cannot thank you enough.”