Financial Compensation Via Insurance Coverage of the At-Fault Party
In a work accident lawsuit in Philadelphia, one of the most critical issues is identification of sources of financial recovery. In other words, even if a party is liable, what are the chances that the injured worker will actually receive financial compensation? Most of the time, insurance coverage is the primary source of coverage in work injury lawsuits filed in Philadelphia County and the surrounding counties of Montgomery, Delaware and Bucks.
When investigating a work accident case, it is important to identify the potentially liable parties and whether the negligent conduct would be covered by any available insurance policies. This determines whether financial compensation is likely. Read more about the role of commercial insurance policies in a work injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania.
Here’s an explanation on how this works using a construction accident example. At a large construction site in Philadelphia, a scaffold company is hired to install scaffolds that will be used for exterior work including masonry. An employee of a brick laying contractor is working on the scaffold when it collapses due to the scaffold company’s negligence. The scaffold company failed to follow required OSHA regulations when it constructed the scaffold. This is the type of conduct covered under a general liability policy, which the scaffold company obtained as required by its contract with the construction site owner/operator. The scaffold company’s policy provides coverage for liability up to $1,000,000 per person. The injured worker would be able to file a claim/lawsuit against the scaffold company which would be covered under the policy. The maximum amount the injured worker could receive from the scaffold company, via the insurance policy, is $1,000,000.
What Financial Compensation Claims May Be Made?
Under Pennsylvania law, the injured worker in a work injury lawsuit has the right to make two types of claims for financial compensation: monetary and non-monetary. Monetary or economic damages include the tangible financial losses caused by an accident and the resulting injuries: medical bills, lost wages, miscellaneous out of pocket expenses, etc. Non-monetary or non-economic damages include the intangible losses, i.e., the pain and suffering caused by the accident and the resulting physical and emotional injuries.
Economic Losses – Calculated with Bills, Paystubs, Etc.
Economic losses are fairly straightforward. You calculate the losses to date by compiling all the medical bills, copays, deductibles, paystubs, etc. You can even include the incidental costs like parking for all medical appointments, having to hire a lawn care company to mow the lawn or hiring a babysitter to help take care of the kids. These are all items that can be proved with documentation.
Pain & Suffering – Not Calculated
Pain and suffering isn’t capable of being calculated. Rather, you present evidence of how the accident and injuries affected the individual’s family, work and social life and activities. This can be accomplished by presenting testimony of family and friends, but most importantly, the plaintiff’s own testimony will be the most important evidence.
Evidence of Future Losses
In critical injury cases, the losses will most likely continue in the future. This includes medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering which can be presented by experts known as life care planners and forensic economists. Life care planners will be able to provide detailed reports on the costs of medical expenses over the course of the individual’s life span. A forensic economist will analyze the individual’s earnings and future earning capacity and provide a report that shows all economic losses due to a partial or full disability.
For example, a worker falls down a flight of stairs and suffers a catastrophic spinal injury that renders her paraplegic and permanently disabled. The accident occurred due to negligence in the maintenance of the stairway, which collapsed due to structural instability caused by water infiltration. The landlord of the building which is held liable has a liability policy with coverage of up to $5,000,000. In this instance, a life care planner will review the medical records and provide a projection of all medical expenses and related costs for the duration of the individual’s life time. This includes ongoing physical therapy, medical needs related to prolonged use of a wheelchair, home care help, etc. A forensic economist will analyze the employment records to provide a complete summary of the financial losses due to the disability including loss of income and benefits such as medical/dental benefits and even fringe benefits if they were provided.
Philadelphia Work Accident Law Firm – Over $150 Million Recovered in Work Injury Cases Alone
Our law firm focuses on work injury lawsuits including falls, construction accidents, etc. Our firm’s founders are rated as “Top Personal Injury Lawyers” in the Philadelphia area by Super Lawyers magazine. The lawyers at the firm have over 50 years of combined legal experience and have recovered over $150 million in work injury cases alone. For a free consultation with our work injury lawyers, call (866) 641-0806.
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