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In the aftermath of a serious work accident in Philadelphia, it’s often the case that the injured worker and their family get a lot of information and misinformation about their legal rights, how they get compensated, etc.

In the article below, our Philadelphia work injury lawyers discuss the basics of getting compensated in two ways: 1. workers’ comp, and 2. a work injury lawsuit.

Related: Jeff Laffey Speaks to Philadelphia Elevators Union Local 5 About Workplace Safety (March 2018)

Workers’ Comp Insurance

In most Philadelphia work accident cases, the employer will have obtained workers’ comp insurance. It works much like auto insurance or homeowners insurance. There’s the insurance company, the insured (employer) and the claimant (injured worker). The claim gets handled by a workers’ comp adjuster who oversees all parts of the claim, which is usually just medical bills and indemnity (lost wages). In cases of serious injury that results in death or the loss of the use of a limb or loss of sight/hearing, special workers’ comp benefits are available. They are designed to compensate an injured worker for the loss of use of the body part/function and are entirely separate from any indemnity claim.

A Note About the Limitation of Workers’ Comp

Workers’ comp benefits after a work accident or injury in Philadelphia are limited two key ways. First, any claim for indemnity which is based on a temporary or permanent disability gets paid out based on a percentage of the worker’s average weekly wage. In most situations, that will be capped at 66% of the weekly wage, hardly enough to truly compensate a seriously injured worker. Second, workers’ comp doesn’t provide any compensation for the injured worker’s pain and suffering. Rather, workers’ comp is designed to provide the minimum amount of benefits possible to ensure that the worker returns to work, as soon as is reasonably possible.

Philadelphia Work Injury Lawsuits

Under PA Workers’ Comp Law, injured workers in Philadelphia aren’t usually able to file lawsuits against employers for negligence leading to a work accident. For example, a Philadelphia worker is injured at work in a construction accident that is solely the fault of the employer. The sole claim against the employer would be workers’ comp, nothing more. However, there are often valid legal claims against other, non-employer parties.

Because workers’ comp benefits are limited, it’s crucial to investigate every work injury case to identify whether other (again, non-employer) parties are liable. It is often the case that an injured worker will have a perfectly valid work injury lawsuit, despite the fact that workers are usually barred from suing their employers for a work injury.

Since work related fall accidents are the most common type of work injury, let’s delve into a typical work injury lawsuit where a non-employer party gets held liable.

A Philadelphia resident works in Philadelphia at a factory (or hospital, business office, school, etc.). During the worker’s lunch break, he slips and falls on the lunch room floor. The injury is pretty serious. He fractures his dominant, right arm in two places. He needs surgery with placement of two pins and misses 10 weeks of work.

The investigation reveals that the factory owner/employer had hired a maintenance company to provide basic maintenance of all the common areas, including the bathrooms, break rooms and lunch room. The accident occurred due to a leak in the refrigerator which caused water to pool on the floor.

Evidence shows that the leak had existed for several weeks and would pool in an area large enough that it had to be mopped at least twice a day. Service records show that this particular lunch room got mopped twice a day during the two week period prior to the accident. Aside from this, no attempt was made to fix the broken fridge or place warning signs up about the puddle of water on the floor.

In these types of work injury lawsuits, Philadelphia workers can get financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, out of pocket expenses and pain and suffering. This is true even if the individual received workers’ comp benefits. The two claims are completely separate from each other, from a legal standpoint. You aren’t required to make a workers’ comp claim in order to be able to file a work injury lawsuit in Philadelphia, and vice versa.

We Represent Philadelphia’s Injured Workers – FREE CASE REVIEWS

Our Philadelphia law firm focuses on work injury lawsuits. We’ve recovered nearly $200 million for our clients and handle all types of work accident cases including construction accidents, workplace falls, etc. Call for a FREE consultation. (866) 641-0806

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