Employers are responsible for ensuring that workers have a safe environment to work in and adequate training and safety protocols to ensure that workplace injuries are not commonplace. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation claims are still common in the greater Scranton, PA, area.
If you or your loved one have been injured at work, or if your loved one has died in a workplace accident, you are entitled to financial compensation and benefits. Especially after a death, seeking benefits may be far from your mind. However, the financial payout can help ease the burden of funeral expenses, any medical bills that were accrued, and any other expenses related to the accident and resulting loss.
The Scranton workers’ compensation attorneys at Munley Law know that these cases require a delicate and compassionate touch. Our lawyers will take on the legal burden during this time so you can recover and/or mourn in peace. You can schedule a free consultation today by phone or online.
How Often Do Fatal Accidents Occur at Work?
Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication processed 36,857 petitions in 2021, according to an annual report. Total reports for workplace injuries and illnesses, however, totaled more than 154,000 during that year.
Some of the most common accidents that lead to workers’ compensation claims include:
- slips and falls
- lifting injuries
- falling objects or colliding with objects
- vehicle accidents
- exposure, either to loud noises or toxic substances
Injured workers may suffer from broken bones, bruising, concussion or other traumatic brain injury, strains and sprains, back or neck injuries, respiratory illnesses, or hearing loss/impairment.
Sometimes a work-related injury is more severe than initially realized, and may result in the injured worker’s death. When this happens, a compensation claim changes to a death benefits claim.
Fatal work-related accidents are fewer per year than workers’ compensation claims, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting 148 fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2020. Transportation accidents account for the largest percent of these fatalities at more than 30 percent. Falls, trips, and slips, contact with objects and/or equipment, and exposure to harmful substances or environment all account for close to 20 percent of fatalities each.
If you have lost a loved one due to a fatal work accident, you are entitled to death benefits to help pay for related costs and to compensate for the loss of financial support.
What Compensation is Available After a Fatal Workplace Accident?
Nearly every employer in Pennsylvania is required to provide workers’ compensation for their employees. This covers workplace accidents, injuries, and illnesses and provides financial compensation for medical bills and lost wages, as well as funeral expenses and death benefits to surviving dependents.
If you are totally disabled by your injury or illness or if you are partially disabled by it and therefore earn less than you did prior to the injury or illness, you are eligible for wage compensation benefits. A workplace injury or illness that results in a permanent, specific loss—such as loss of hearing, sight, a limb or a digit—or permanent disfigurement will come with a specific loss compensation. Finally, any medical expenses or bills related to your workplace accident, injury, or illness is to be paid by your employer, as long as you have been treated by a covered provider. As long as your provider is covered, you cannot be billed or held liable for any of your related medical expenses.
If an accident, injury, or illness leads to the death of the worker, surviving dependents—such as a spouse, children, or even dependent parents or siblings—can be entitled to a percentage of the deceased workers wages.
In general, Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law requires the employer to provide $3,000 for funeral/burial expenses. A spouse can receive up to about 67 percent of the deceased’s salary until he or she remarries, depending on how many dependent children still live with them. Children can receive compensation until age 18, unless they have a disability or are enrolled in an accredited college or trade school. Finally, dependent parents and siblings can receive anywhere between 22 and 52 percent of the salary, depending on if they were partially or fully dependent on the deceased.
A workers’ compensation and/or death benefits claim follows an established process that begins with notifying the employer that the injury, illness, or death occurred. This should be done within 21 days of the occurrence. Within 21 days of being notified, the employer must either deny liability, offer temporary compensation while investigating further, or accept liability and offer compensation.
If your claim is denied, you have three years to file an appeal and bring your claim before a workers’ compensation judge for a verdict.
Although you are not required to have legal counsel for a workers’ compensation or death benefits claim, it is in your best interest to do so. Employers and insurance companies may use improperly filled out paperwork to deny a claim. A Scranton workers’ compensation lawyer from Munley Law can help ensure your paperwork is filled out correctly so that your claim isn’t denied and can move through the process as swiftly as possible. In the event that an appeal is needed, the lawyers at Munley Law will walk with you through that process as well, continuing to fight on your behalf until we’ve recovered the compensation you are due.
Especially if a claim began as a workers’ compensation claim and turned into a death benefits claim, having a compassionate and experienced lawyer on your side is invaluable as you navigate the process.
Hire an Experienced Scranton Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help you secure death benefits may be the last thing on your mind after losing a loved one in a workplace accident. But Munley Law knows that there’s more to your claim than just collecting money. We know that the benefits families receive after losing their loved one can make it possible to grieve and remember your loved one in peace.
Our Scranton workers’ compensation lawyers will handle your case with compassion and gentleness, taking on the legal burden so that you and your family can focus on finding a way to move forward after your loss. We will deal with insurance companies and their lawyers so that your family does not have to.
We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t receive any payments until we’ve made a recovery in your favor. We believe your family should be able to seek justice without worrying about a price tag.
Munley Law and its lawyers are consistently recognized by press and peers alike as the best lawyers in town. We will bring all our experience to bear on your case, pursuing the justice and compensation you are entitled to with everything we have. You can schedule your free case evaluation today.
Scranton Practice Areas
227 Penn Ave,
Scranton, PA 18503