Workers who are seriously injured and unable to return to work often want to know whether they can receive benefits for lost wages or disability pay. While some employees have employer-paid disability insurance, many do not. Therefore, many seriously injured workers in PA are put in tough financial positions.
Part 1 of this article discussed how an injured worker in PA can obtain indemnity pay (lost wage pay) by making a workers’ compensation claim. Part 2 of this article below will explain an injured worker’s right to file a tort or injury lawsuit to recover lost pay/wages.
Work Related Injury Lawsuits in Pennsylvania – Recovering Lost Wages
The vast majority of workers who are injured while on the job are often surprised to learn that they may obtain financial recovery by filing a tort or injury lawsuit. In Pennsylvania, an injured worker can file a lawsuit against a non-employer party and obtain fair compensation for:
- medical bills,
- lost wages,
- other economic losses, and
- pain and suffering.
As a general rule, an employee cannot sue their employer for negligence leading to a work accident, although there are some exceptions to this rule. However, employees have legal rights to bring lawsuits against other parties whose negligence contributed to an incident or accident.
Claims for Lost Wages or Lost Pay
By filing an injury lawsuit, an injured worker can obtain compensation for both past and future lost wages in cases where injuries result in either a temporary or permanent disability. In addition, Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law allows an injured worker to obtain indemnity pay (lost wage pay) for a work injury. This means that an injured worker can file both a workers’ compensation claim and a tort injury lawsuit. However, if the tort lawsuit is successful, an injured worker will usually be required to reimburse the employer (or workers’ compensation insurance company) a percentage of what it paid out on behalf of the employee (medical treatment costs and indemnity pay).
For example, a construction worker falls off of the roof of a construction site due to failure of personal protective equipment (PPE). The PPE is later proven to be defective and caused the accident. The worker files a workers’ compensation claim for his injuries and receives medical treatment and indemnity pay for close to a year. He also files a defective product injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the PPE (harness), and the lawsuit is successful. At the conclusion of the case, he pays his employer a percentage of the medical bills and indemnity payments the employer paid per the workers’ compensation claim.
Future Lost Wage Claims
If a total disability occurs, an injured worker can make a claim for future lost wages. This basically involves a projection into the future and a calculation as to financial damages caused by the loss of employment in the future. In order to make a claim for future lost pay or wages, there must be sufficient evidence of medical disability, such as a medical doctor’s written opinion that the injuries caused the disability. In addition, a forensic economist is often needed to crunch the numbers and account for factors such as inflation.
Time Limitation to File a Tort Lawsuit in PA to Recover Lost Pay
Under Pennsylvania injury law, an injured worker has 2 years from the date of the accident to file a tort lawsuit. This is a strict deadline with very few exceptions. Therefore, injured workers should consult with a work injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss their legal rights.
PA Work Accident & Injury Law Firm
Laffey, Bucci & Kent is a Philadelphia based law firm with offices in 4 states. Our lawyers specialize in work accident injury cases. Please call the firm for more information. Click To Call
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