Can You Be Disqualified From Receiving Workers’ Compensation In Pennsylvania?

Can You Be Disqualified From Receiving Workers’ Compensation In Pennsylvania?

In most states, there are several provisions that grant the right to workers’ compensation resulting from injury or even death of an employee. The State of Pennsylvania is no exception. With positive growth in many different employment sectors, Pennsylvania aims to ensure that no class is exploited and that the rights of the employee are preserved. 

In this article, we will discuss the liabilities of an employer when it involves a work-related injury. Also, we will talk about situations that disqualify an employee from claiming any compensation or damages even if a serious injury is sustained.

Liability of an Employer

According to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an employer should offer adequate compensation to any employee who sustains a work-related injury. Under this Act, the employer is liable for:

  • Injuries that happen during the ordinary course of business
  • Injuries occurring on the premises of the business
  • Disability or death due to an occupational disease caused by hazardous conditions at a workplace.

Most employers in the state are covered by the Act.

Defenses Unavailable to Employers

When an employee has been injured at work in Pennsylvania, the employer cannot rely on the following defenses in order to escape workers’ comp payments:

  • The employee assumed the risk.
  • The employee was negligent in their course of work.
  • A fellow employee caused the injury.
  • The person was a minor and not allowed to work in the first place.

Although an employer is responsible for monitoring job site activities, this does not mean that an employer has to bear the consequences of everything that happens at their place of business. The following are instances when an employer cannot be held liable for a work-related injury or even death.

Cases Where Employer May Not Be Liable for Damages

An employer is not, per se, responsible for every injury caused at their place of business. Accordingly, you might be disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania in the following instances.

Self-inflicted Injury

Though it is true that you become entitled to compensation in case of a work-related injury, you will not be covered if the injury was willfully caused. For instance, if you are angry and throw a punch at a wall at work, the employer would not be liable for any harm done to you.

Hostile Attacks on the United States

Under the Act, if an employee sustains an injury due to a foreign attack while at work, the employer is not responsible for compensating for those injuries.

Military Activities

Just like in the case of a hostile, foreign attack, the employer cannot be held liable if you incur a work-related injury because of military activities, be it hostile parties or U.S. forces. 

Failure To Cooperate or Provide Information

Although an employee reserves the right not to disclose information, failure to cooperate with the employer during the investigation of the cause of an injury can release the employer from any liability related to that injury.

Illegal Use of Drugs

Another exception to the employer’s liability is when you incur an injury while under the influence of illegal drugs.

For example, if you smash your forklift into a wall while under the influence of recreational drugs, you cannot hold the employer liable for any injury incurred by you.

Willful Intoxication

Similar to the use of drugs, the employer cannot be held liable for an injury to an employee if the injurious act was performed under the influence of alcohol. 

Failure To Report an Injury or File a Claim

It is the responsibility of the employee to disclose their injury within three weeks of its occurrence. Failure to do so can bar you from claiming full compensation since the date of injury.

Limitations on Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania

Even if you are eligible for workers’ compensation, the following limitations can affect your right to file a suit or claim damages against your employer:

  • In the case of a death related to the workplace injury, it must have occurred within 300 weeks of sustaining that injury.
  • An Injury caused by a coworker because of a personal issue does not fall under the Act.
  • An injury caused when an employee is operating a motor vehicle in their personal capacity does not hold the employer liable for any compensation.
  • In the case of occupational diseases such as silicosis, anthracosilicosis, coal miner’s pneumoconiosis, or asbestosis, the employee should have worked for at least two years at that facility.
  • For a firefighter to claim compensation for cancer, he should have four years of service in the fire department. 
  • The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act only applies to employees, not independent contractors.

Workers’ compensation law in Pennsylvania can be complicated; fortunately, in most situations, you should be covered.

If you are still unsure whether you can receive workers’ compensation, contact our experienced team of Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys today. We’ll review your case, inform you of your legal options, and determine if you qualify. 

Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Law Firm in Philadelphia Today To Get Help With Your Case

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers at (215) 875-7030 or contact us online.
You can also visit our law firm at 123 S Broad St #1220, Philadelphia, PA 19109.