Injured at work? Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer at Munley Law for a free consultation.
When you sustain a work-related injury or illness, you may wonder how you can afford your medical bills or how you’ll get paid for missed time from work. Fortunately, workers’ comp benefits cover most employees. However, these benefits may not be as straightforward as they seem. Many times, the insurance company will try to deny your claim. They may try to say your injuries were not sustained while on the job, your injuries are being exaggerated, or that you failed to properly file your claim. If this happens to you, you’re going to need a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer to help you with your workers’ comp claim.
$32 Million Wrongful Death
$26 Million Truck Accident
$17.5 Million Car Accident
$12 Million Product liability
$8 Million Truck Accident
$8 Million Truck Accident/Wrongful Death
$7.5 Million Auto Accident
$6.9 Million Garbage Truck Crash
$6.5 Million Traumatic Brain Injury
$5 Million Medical Malpractice
$5 Million Bus Accident
$4.7 Million Truck Accident
If you’re having trouble with your workers’ compensation claim, make sure you speak with a personal injury lawyer at Munley Law. For over 60 years, our workers’ comp attorneys have been helping injured workers file workers’ comp claims and get the benefits they are owed.
We have been recognized by our peers and by legal organizations throughout the country for our work. We are consistently named to the Best Lawyers in America lists. Our attorneys are board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and have obtained millions for our clients who have sustained an injury in the workplace. Workers’ comp lawyer Caroline Munley is certified as a specialist in the practice of workers’ compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Section on Workers’ Compensation Law as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Let us review your claim for free. Chat live, fill out our contact form, or call today. We do not collect a fee for our services unless we succeed in recovering your benefits. Se habla Espanol.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation benefits exist to pay for medical expenses and lost wages when you suffer a work-related injury, become ill, or aggravate an existing condition while on the job. Your employer is legally obligated to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
Most employees are covered by workers’ compensation regardless of their status as part-time or full-time, and regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Employees who were intoxicated or breaking the law at the time of their injury may not be eligible to claim benefits.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Unfortunately, many injured employees do not understand how the workers’ compensation process works. Many are afraid to tell their employer of their injuries for fear that they may lose their jobs, or they can’t afford to take time off of work. Some workers may feel that the employer or employer’s insurance company will resist paying benefits and blame the injury on something they did off duty. But you should never feel shame or fear about reporting a workplace injury and pursuing the benefits that you are entitled to under the law.
It is your right as an employee to file a workers’ comp claim and to have your medical expenses and wages paid while you recover from the injury. The experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Munley Law can help you navigate the process, inform you of your rights, and help you work through any obstacles that come up.
A workers’ compensation attorney at Munley Law can help you file your claim, prepare for and attend workers’ comp hearings, and appeal denials if necessary.
What Industries Have the Most Workplace Injuries?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 2.65 million recorded cases of injuries and illness in the private sector in 2020. On average, an illness or injury kept a worker out of the job for 12 days in 2020. As you can imagine, some industries saw more injuries and illnesses than others.
Warehouse and Heavy Machinery Accidents
Serious and even fatal injuries can occur in industrial and warehouse settings in Pennsylvania. Working around heavy machinery and equipment can lead to an accident; the machinery may be defective, or there may be a lack of proper safety training. Injuries from accidents involving dangerous machinery can include crushed limbs, hands or fingers, amputation, broken bones, lacerations, electrical burns, and wrongful death.
You may also receive an illness while working at a warehouse. Work-related illnesses can occur from exposure to hazardous chemicals and other dangerous materials at work. Exposure to these dangerous toxins and chemicals can lead to serious respiratory conditions, renal disease, chemical burns, and some forms of cancer, including mesothelioma.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the construction industry is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. The leading causes of private construction industry deaths were falls, being struck by objects, electrocution, and being caught in between objects. Those four causes were responsible for 64.2 percent of construction worker fatalities. Falls, electrocution, crushing injuries, and equipment-related accidents can seriously injure Pennsylvania workers. Construction injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Head and neck injuries
- Burns and electrical injuries
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
- Knee, shoulder, and elbow injuries
- Back injuries
- Wrongful death
Truck drivers have dangerous jobs. According to OSHA, the trucking and transportation industry sees a high rate of work-related fatalities. Not only are truck drivers under pressure to deliver goods in a timely manner, but they’re on the road for hours at a stretch. This has a major impact on the driver’s health, not to mention the possibility of getting into a truck accident with another tractor trailer or a passenger vehicle.
Healthcare Worker Accidents
According to OSHA, “a hospital is one of the most hazardous places to work.” OSHA has explained that “the rate of injury (in a hospital) is almost twice the rate for private industry as a whole.” Part of this high risk is due to what healthcare workers experience every day. Healthcare professionals typically work long hours under physically demanding conditions: exposure to disease, hazardous materials, lifting patients, performing repetitive tasks, and putting patients’ needs ahead of their own.
If you are exposed to infectious disease at work or suffer an injury while caring for a patient, you are entitled to seek workers’ compensation.
What Are the Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Normally, there are several types of benefits you will receive after an accident at work:
This includes any medical costs relating to your injury. These claims are not limited to a specific dollar amount and should cover all co-pays and deductibles. Not only will it include doctor’s appointments, lab tests, ER visits, and medication, but can include medical equipment (such as a wheelchair) and ongoing care.
If you are unable to work after an accident, you will receive a percentage of your wages, known as disability benefits. There are temporary benefits as well as permanent, depending on how long you are meant to stay out of work.
Specific Loss Payments
If your work injury resulted in permanent scarring/disfigurement, the loss of a limb, or impaired use of a body part, you may be eligible for “specific loss” payments.
Unlike regular workers’ compensation, you may collect specific loss payments even if your injury does not stop you from working. You do not need to be out of work in order to receive specific loss compensation. You simply must be able to show that your injury happened in the course of your job duties. You must also notify your employer of the injury within 120 days of its occurrence, and submit a workers’ compensation claim within three years of the date the injury was sustained. However, the earlier you act, the better.
How much will I be paid for a specific loss?
The amount of money you receive for a specific loss injury will depend on the body part or function you have lost. For example:
- For the loss of a hand, you will receive 335 weeks of payments
- For the loss of a thumb, 100 weeks
- For the loss of an eye, 275 weeks
- For the loss of a foot, 250 weeks
- For the loss of a leg, 410 weeks
- For a permanent loss of hearing in both ears: 260 weeks
See this chart for a complete list of specific loss injuries and the number of payments you will receive for each.
Thousands of Americans are killed performing their jobs each year. If a worker dies as a result of a job injury or illness, the worker’s family is entitled to receive death benefits. Even if the injury or illness did not cause immediate death, death benefits may apply if the worker passed away within 300 weeks of sustaining the workplace injury, or toxic exposure.
Workers’ compensation death benefits are paid to the surviving family members who depended on the deceased person for financial support. Those eligible include a spouse, minor children, a dependent adult child, or a parent. Workers’ comp must also pay the reasonable costs of burial, up to $3,000.
A petition for death benefits must be filed within three years of the worker’s death.
What If My Employer Delays My Workers’ Comp Claim?
When an employer or insurance company violates the provisions of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured worker may be eligible to file what is called a penalty petition. Actions that may warrant a penalty petition can include:
- Delaying payment to a claimant without cause
- Terminating benefits unjustly
- Denying a claim due to an improper investigation of the work injury
- Failing to notify the injured worker, within 21 days, that the claim is denied
- Failing to pay medical bills
A workers’ compensation attorney at Munley Law can file a penalty petition on your behalf. Injured workers who file a penalty petition may be eligible for an award of up to 50 percent of the past-due amount owed, plus interest, and attorney fees.
If Your Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied
In some cases, the workers comp claims process is simple: your claim is approved, you receive your benefits in a timely manner, and you continue receiving payments for as long as you require them. However, this is not always the case.
If you receive notice that your claim has been denied, you still have options. It is not uncommon for a workers’ compensation claim to be denied at first. There are several reasons a legitimate claim can be denied.
Your employer or their insurance company may argue that your injury was not sustained within the course and scope of your job duties. On the other hand, even if they allow that an accident occurred at work, they may accuse you of exaggerating your injuries. This is also known as “malingering,” when an employee falsifies the severity of their injury or illness in order to receive benefits. In either case, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you set the record straight and obtain the benefits you deserve.
If your claim is denied, or if your benefits stop before you are ready to return to work, a workers’ compensation attorney can help make it right.
Can You Bring a Case Against a Third Party for a Workplace Injury?
Workers’ comp insurance allows you to collect compensation for a work-related injury without filing a lawsuit against your employer. However, there are certain situations where you may be able to bring a claim against a third party. A third-party claim is an action against another person or entity responsible for your injury. For example, if a faulty piece of machinery resulted in an accident, you may have cause to bring a claim against the machine’s manufacturer. Even if you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you may still pursue a third party claim in addition to your existing comp claim.
At Munley Law we have represented numerous workers whose job related injuries involved negligent third parties. For example, we handled the third-party claim for a woman who was seriously hurt in a forklift accident, and secured a $12 million settlement.
To learn more about your legal options, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer at Munley Law. We will explore every avenue to make sure you get the maximum recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation
Q: Can I Sue My Employer for a Work Injury?
Workers’ compensation insurance exists to compensate injured workers without the need for a lawsuit. This means you can get the money you need fast, and you do not have the same burden of proof as personal injury cases. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault statute. You do not need to prove that your employer was negligent, only that you sustained the injury while performing your job. Because workers’ compensation insurance exists, employees in Pennsylvania cannot sue their employers for a work injury.
Q: What Do I Need to Do After an Accident at Work?
A: If you were hurt at work, your first step is to report it to your supervisor and fill out an incident report. Under Pennsylvania law, you must notify your supervisor at your place of employment within 120 days from the date of injury. Failure to do so can result in denial of your claim, so be sure to report your injury as soon as possible. Even if your injury seems minor, it’s best to have a record of the incident in case you begin to feel more pain as time goes on.
After you report your injury, workers’ compensation insurance representatives may contact you asking for details. Do not sign any insurance document or offer of settlement until a workers’ compensation lawyer has reviewed it first. If you have questions about how to apply for workman’s compensation, or if you claim has been denied, call us for a free consult.
Q: Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
A: You may be asking yourself after a workplace injury, “When do I hire a workers’ compensation lawyer?” If you have reported your injury to your employer, applied for workers’ compensation, and are receiving your benefits, you may not need a lawyer. However, the aftermath of a work injury can be difficult and the application process can be confusing. It may be hard to know whose advice to take and how to protect your own rights. If you need help navigating the claims process, we can review the details of your case, inform you of your rights as an employee, and walk you through the proper steps to take – all at no charge.
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied and you need help recovering your benefits, that’s when it may be in your best interest to have a workers comp lawyer represent you. The other situation where you may need a lawyer is if a third party (aside from your employer) was responsible for your work-related injury. Even if you are receiving workers’ comp benefits, we can help you pursue a third party claim.
Q: Is There a Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation Cases?
A: After a work injury, you have limited time to file a claim. Keep in mind that to be successful, any worker’ comp case must be filed no later than three years from the date of injury or disability.
However, if you or a family member suffer from a disease that was contracted during your employment (such as Black Lung disease from working in a coal mine, or mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure), the laws are a bit different. According to Pennsylvania law, the disease and inability to work must occur within 300 weeks from the date you were last employed in the job where you contracted the disease.
Q: How Do I Know if I am Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?
A: Almost every Pennsylvania employee is covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act. This includes all full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers. Nearly all businesses, no matter how big or small, are required to have workers’ comp insurance. Workers in certain industries may be covered under different compensation laws specific to that particular industry, such as railroad or shipyard workers. Volunteers and independent contractors may not be considered an employee and therefore may not be covered. But, that doesn’t mean you have no other options. Contact a workers compensation attorney at Munley Law to learn more about your legal rights as an employee.
Q: Can I Treat With My Own Doctor?
A: For the first 90 days of medical care, you must choose from a list of doctors provided by your employer. Your employer must give you at least six doctors to choose from, and your employer cannot choose for you. If your employer does not provide a list of options, you may choose your own doctor. You may also choose another doctor from the list if the first doctor selected is unsatisfactory.
If you require treatment beyond 90 days, you then may treat with any doctor of your choice. If, after 90 days, you do decide to choose a doctor not on your employer’s list, you must notify your employer within five days after your first visit.
Q: How Much Will I Receive in Compensation?
A: Your compensation will depend on whether you have a total or partial disability. If you are totally disabled by your work injury and cannot work at all, you are entitled to weekly benefits equal to two-thirds of your weekly pay, or a maximum of $1205.00 per week, for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2022. This number changes yearly.
After two years, your disability status may be reviewed. At this time, if you are no longer at least 50 percent disabled (based on American Medical Association guidelines) your disability will convert to a partial disability. A partial disability that reduces your ability to work and your earning capacity may be compensated by a weekly amount that is two-thirds the difference between your present earnings and what you earned prior to the injury. You may receive these partial disability benefits for 500 weeks or for as long as you are working at the lower wage.
Q: When Will I Receive Workers’ Comp Payments?
A: If your workers’ comp claim is approved, you should begin receiving benefits approximately 21 days after you reported your injury to your employer. If you do not receive payments for a lengthy amount of time, contact a workers’ comp attorney for assistance.
Q: What is an Independent Medical Exam?
An independent medical examination or IME is intended to provide the insurance company with information about your injury and ability to work. The IME is performed by a doctor who is selected and paid for by your employer’s insurer. Your employer may request an IME if they have doubts about your own doctor’s diagnosis and wish to get a second opinion. An IME can also be ordered to resolve disputes about your condition. The results of an IME can have serious implications for your claim. This is why it is extremely important to have a workers’ comp attorney on your side to inform you of your rights and prepare you before the exam.
Q: Can I Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
In Pennsylvania, most employers can terminate a worker’s employment at any time. However, they may not do so in a manner that violates the law; employees cannot be fired in such a manner that constitutes discrimination, retaliation, or breach of contract.
Still, if you lose your job while you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, your former employer must continue to pay for the medical treatment you require as a result of your work-related injury.
If you are concerned about the possibility of losing your job or your benefits, contact a workers’ compensation attorney at Munley Law to get answers.
Q: What Should I Do if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
A: Don’t panic. It’s common for workers’ comp claims to be denied. If you are denied workers’ comp, it is best to hire a lawyer who is familiar with the entire claims process and who knows the intricacies of employment laws. The right workers’ compensation lawyer will be instrumental in ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Q: If I Contract COVID-19 at Work, Can I File for Workers’ Comp?
A: In many cases, the coronavirus can be considered a work-related injury or an occupational disease. If you contract the coronavirus while performing your job duties, you may file a claim for workers’ compensation.
Let a Workers’ Compensation Attorney at Munley Law Help You
If workers’ comp denies your claim, you should seek a work injury lawyer immediately. Our dedicated team of lawyers and paralegals will help you get the benefits you deserve.
Our workers comp law firm understands that the aftermath of a work-related accident can be a difficult time in your life. We are here to help. Contact us now for a FREE case evaluation for your workman’s compensation case. Call us at 844-686-5397 or email us. A member of our work accident injury team will get back to you right away.