Work accident lawsuits are very common in Philadelphia, particularly because out of all counties in Pennsylvania, the majority of work related accidents and injuries occur in Philadelphia County. The greatest numbers of work accidents/injuries in Philadelphia occur in the education/health services industry (3,500/year) and the trade, transportation and utilities industry (1,900/year). Combined, the construction and manufacturing industries total about 1,200 work accidents/injuries per year in Philadelphia.
Below are three of the most common legal issues which arise in a work accident-injury case in Philadelphia.
Workers’ Compensation in PA
The vast majority of workers injured in Philadelphia work accidents will be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These include medical benefits and in cases of temporary or permanent disability, indemnity or partial wage loss payments. Workers’ compensation benefits are generally available no matter how the accident occurred, i.e., due to the fault of the injured worker, a co-worker or the employer.
However, some injured workers won’t file workers’ compensation claims out of fear of retaliation from their employers. Here’s what can happen if an employer retaliates against an injured worker for filing a workers’ compensation claim: the worker can sue the employer for retaliation and can be awarded financial damages for wage loss or loss of other types of financial compensation, such as fringe benefits. The key is being able to prove retaliation. There must be clear evidence of retaliation. If a worker who is tardy or absent right around the time he makes a workers’ compensation claim and is then fired or let go, the employer could claim that the action was taken in response to the tardiness/absences rather than the workers’ compensation claim.
Can You Sue Your Employer?
Many injured workers ask whether they can sue or bring a lawsuit against the employer, and usually, the answer is no. As a general rule, people injured in work related accidents in PA are unable to bring lawsuits against their employers to obtain financial compensation for injuries and damages. This is due to a principle of Pennsylvania work accident law called “workers’ compensation exclusivity.” This basically means that workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy an injured worker has against the employer.
Other Parties and Claims
However, the workers’ compensation exclusivity principle does not apply to other, non-employer lawsuits. Injured workers have the legal right to sue other parties whose negligence contributed to a work accident. The reality is that many injured workers overlook these types of claims because they automatically think their only legal recourse is filing a workers’ comp claim after a work accident. This is an incredibly common misconception.
No matter the type of workplace, whether it’s a professional office in downtown Philadelphia, a construction site in the suburbs or a factory in Northeast Philadelphia, non-employer parties may be held liable. The key is having a work accident case investigated quickly and thoroughly by a work accident lawyer who knows the ropes. Too often, injured workers consult lawyers only after the 2 year statute of limitations has expired.
Philadelphia Work Accident Lawyers
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