What Is Workers’ Compensation And How Does It Work?
What Is Workers’ Compensation And How Does It Work?
Workers’ compensation, the safety net of employees, is a program that cares for certain workers for specific work-related injuries. However, the system can be confusing and overwhelming due to the process of validating the eligibility of an injury for workers’ compensation. Sometimes, the injury is not categorized correctly, meaning that an injured employee might not be receiving all available benefits. A workers’ compensation lawyer leads the way through the process, guiding your situation to the most favorable outcome.
Basically, a national program implemented on state level to care for workers injured while at work. Since the program is managed at state level, the benefits available to workers differs state-to-state. Some of the basics generally included in workers’ compensation is wage replacement, medical treatment, and vocational rehabilitation.
IMPORTANT: Employees don’t need to miss work to receive Pennsylvania workers’ compensation payments for medical expenses, but just because your medical bills are being paid, you may not be approved for other types of workers’ compensation payments.
What Injuries Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Four types of work-related injuries qualify for workers’ compensation.
A physical injury on the job: Other than obvious injuries, some physical issues that fall under this category include hearing loss sustained in the workplace or a repetitive motion injury, such as carpal tunnel.
Aggravated preexisting conditions: Sometimes, work can cause existing problems to worsen. Examples would include physical problems such as back, neck, knee, and joint conditions or even mental or psychiatric disabilities. You might have a case under ADA as well.
Injuries during breaks or work activities: A worker who is injured while on lunch break (by a chair or a break room cabinet) or during a company picnic may qualify for workers’ compensation.
Exposure to toxins resulting in illness: Workers who become exposed to carcinogens or other toxins that result in lung or esophageal cancers, obstructive pulmonary disease, and other breathing issues caused by asbestos, fiberglass, particulates, or fume inhalations may be eligible for compensation.
Injuries caused by mental and physical strain: Work-related stress and increased work duties can injure an individual, but the benefits given depend on the state. This type of injury is definitely hard to recognize, but workers’ compensation regularly recognizes severe depression, anxiety, and other psych illnesses.
- Physical to Mental injury: A cashier survives a robbery but sustains a bullet wound in the arm. From this experience, the cashier also experiences post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Mental to Physical injury: Due to a hostile work environment, an employee suffers a severe anxiety attack and hits his head on a table when falling.
- Mental to Mental Injury: An employee witnesses a horrifying accident and suffers severe PTSD along with Insomnia and anxiety.
What Injuries Aren’t Covered By Workers’ Compensation?
Some injuries that may occur in the workplace aren’t covered by the workers’ compensation. Injuries not covered are those received by self-infliction, while committing a serious crime, during company policy violation, or when an employee was intoxicated.
What About When Someone Is Killed on the Job? Does the Employee’s Survivors Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Pennsylvania workers’ compensation will provide certain benefits to the survivors of the deceased. However, these survivors must either be the dependents or the spouse of the deceased. Usually, this means that the dependents are under 18 or that they can prove the deceased was providing for them.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
The purpose of a workers’ compensation attorney is to ensure that an injured worker receives compensation for financial losses from missed work, medical bills, and other pain and suffering prompted by the injury. Although the process does not demand a lawyer, a lawyer knows how to best present your claim and to prevent possible denial. After all, the process requires extensive paperwork as well as an understanding of the legal process. A simple slip-up in the paperwork can result in a prompt denial.
Common Cases of Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Workers’ compensation attorneys handle all work-related injuries and ensure that the injured employee receives appropriate compensation. Lawyers who work with PA workers’ compensation routinely recognize what issues are valid and know how to best represent your case. Although every case should be analyzed on its own, some workers’ compensation cases are more common than others.
An injury that occurs from a muscle or a joint being moved beyond its typical range of motion. Jobs that usually deal with overexertion injuries are factory, construction, or police jobs.
Slip, Trip, and Fall
Whether slipping on a wet floor or falling off a ladder, employees can suffer a number of injuries while on the job. Meanwhile, if the worker tries to avoid falling but sustains an injury, this can be eligible for workers’ compensation as well.
Struck by an Object
Sometimes objects are dropped or fall from their place, hitting and hurting an employee. Whether the object fell on its own or the employee was shoved into the object, this injury may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Jobs likely for this injury include restaurant, retail, office, and factory workers.
Jobs such as construction or factory work requires that employees work with heavy machinery. Injuries caused by equipment like this often has huge ramifications, both medically and financially.
Hard to prove, a repetitive motion injury means that an employee sustained a physical issue from repeating motions. Examples of repetitive motions in work include using a computer mouse, sitting, or lifting items. These injuries tend to be carpal tunnel or tendonitis.
In some cases, employees are injured by robberies or shootings. Violence in the workplace is often not on the radar, but it does happen.
Why Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
When an employee suffers a work-related injury, whether a sprain or wound, the employer is often required to offer workers’ compensation. Sometimes, employers won’t. A lawyer ensures that an injured employee receives the rightful and legal care mandated by the government.
Reasons To Consult An Attorney
- Severe workplace injury that requires surgery
- An injury that will influence the rest of your life
- Injury impairs ability to work regularly
- Lack of adequate medical treatment
- Along with the new injury, there are significant pre-existing disabilities
- You desire to dispute your employer’s decision regarding your claim
- Suspicion that you aren’t receiving the correct or full benefits available
- Medical benefits denied
- Relationship with employer has become adversarial
- You want an expert on your workers’ compensation case
A workers’ compensation attorney offers injured employees the chance to receive intense legal advocacy throughout the process, knowing when to file a case under FMLA or ADA. Sometimes employers try to keep injured workers from receiving their full benefits under the law. Moreover, if the injury will permanently alter the employee’s life, a lawyer can guide you through filing for social security disability benefits.
If you have experienced a work-related injury, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer who will know how to navigate your case and your rights under the law.