You spend a good amount of time at work. Whether you work behind a desk or on a construction site, there’s always the chance that you’ll get hurt. A work-related injury or illness can pose a lot of challenges. Medical bills can add up as your income declines thanks to lost time at work. Fortunately, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for your work-related injuries or illness.
Contact the experienced workplace injury lawyers at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC to learn about your legal rights and options. We can help you file a claim for workers’ compensation and fight to maximize the benefits you’re awarded. a
We offer a free, no-obligation case assessment, so don’t hesitate to contact our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania law office today.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is actually a type of insurance that (most) employers in the state of Pennsylvania are required to have. The insurance benefits can be used to cover the costs and expenses related to an employee’s work-related injury, illness, or disease. When you get hurt at work or because of a job-related task, you can file a claim to recover benefits from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy.
In fact, it doesn’t matter if you were fully or partly responsible for your injury. Worker’s compensation is a no-fault system. You’re entitled to benefits regardless of who caused your injury or why you got hurt.
At the same time, if your employer has a workers’ compensation program, you’re generally prohibited from filing a lawsuit against them for damages. The workers’ compensation program exists to protect your employer from lawsuits while still putting much-needed money in injured employees’ hands. You can, however, potentially file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent third party. You might even have a legitimate lawsuit against yoru employer if they intentionally or recklessly caused your injury.
Why Should I Hire a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Even though you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, it can be difficult to secure the money you need and deserve. Insurance companies aren’t on your side. They want to minimize the benefits you’re awarded. They’ll do anything they can to drive down the value of your workers’ compensation claim and limit how much you’re ultimately awarded. You’ll have to jump through hoops. Any misstep could jeopardize your claim.
At Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC, we’ve been fighting on behalf of injured workers in and around Philadelphia for more than 30 years. We know the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system like the backs of our hands. We know the workers’ compensation laws and procedures that can affect and influence your claim. We’re familiar with the tactics you’ll face during your pursuit of compensation.
When you turn to us for help after a work-related injury, you can benefit from our extensive experience and track record of success. Our workers’ comp attorneys will be there to help you every step of the way and do everything we can to get you all of the money you deserve. You can have the opportunity to focus on recovering and getting better while we aggressively seek benefits on your behalf.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Available in Philadelphia?
When you get hurt at work or while performing a work-related duty, you may have a legitimate claim to recover workers’ compensation benefits. In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation benefits can cover:
Medical Costs: Compensation can be paid to cover all work-related medical costs, including hospitalization, surgery, medical devices, doctor’s appointments, and other expenses.
Lost Wages and Income: If you’re unable to work because of your injury or illness, you can receive benefits for a portion of your lost income.
Amputation or Specific Injury: Specific benefits are available if your injury has resulted in the loss of a limb or if you are unable to use a part of your body.
Death Benefits: Your family may be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits if you die within 300 weeks of a work-related injury. These benefits can pay for funeral expenses and compensate for the loss of your financial support.
How Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Calculated?
There are different types of workers’ compensation benefits you can receive after you’re injured at work. Your medical expenses should be covered in full, as long as you seek treatment from an approved doctor and follow insurance company guidelines.
Benefits for Lost Wages
When it comes to benefits for lost wages, however, you won’t just get your regular paycheck. You’ll receive up to two-thirds of your weekly wage, as long as that doesn’t exceed the maximum amount allowed by law.
Benefits for lost wages are calculated using your average weekly wage prior to your injury or illness. This includes the gross wages from all of your employers at the time you got hurt, including overtime, tips, vacation, and bonuses.
If you’re a salaried employee, this is fairly easy to calculate. It’ll just be your gross weekly wage reported on your paycheck. If you’re an hourly worker, your average wage will depend on how much you make, how many hours you typically work, and how long you’ve been with your employer.
In 2020, the maximum weekly benefit, as established by the Department of Labor & Industry, is $1,081. You can receive up to 90 percent of your average weekly wage if you earn less than $600.55.
How Long Can I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Philadelphia?
The answer depends on the extent of your injury. Under Pennsylvania law, there are four ways to categorize your injury.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD): You’re not able to work at all for a limited amount of time. You’re expected to be able to go back to work after you’ve recovered from your on the job injury. If you’re considered to be TTD, you can recover workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages for up to 90 days.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): Your injury will keep you out of work for more than 90 days, and you may never make a full recovery. You can collect benefits for lost wages for up to 500 weeks.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD): You’re injured so severely that you’ll never be able to return to work. You can potentially receive workers’ compensation benefits for the rest of your life.
Disfigurement: You may be entitled to compensation for a specific loss if your injury results in disfigurement or the specific loss of a limb or body part. The duration of your benefits depends on which body part has been affected.
The extent of your disability will depend on your Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). The IRE establishes the degree to which you are disabled because of your injury. This will be determined by your treating physician.
How Do I Recover Workers’ Comp in Philadelphia?
Here’s what you need to know about recovering workers’ compensation benefits if you’ve been injured on the job in Philadelphia.
Notify Your Employer: You’re legally required to notify your employer of your workplace injury or illness within 120 days. If you report the accident within 21 days, you can receive benefits from the date of your injury. If you report your injury after 21 days, you can only receive benefits from the date you told your employer. It’s best to report the injury as soon as you can.
Seek Medical Attention: If it’s an emergency, don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention at the closest emergency room. If it’s not an emergency, you’ll probably have to seek treatment from a physician who’s been pre-approved by your employer’s insurance provider. After 90 days, you can seek treatment from your own doctor.
File Your Claim For Benefits: To collect benefits, you’ll have to file a formal claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. To do this, your employer must first submit a First Report of Injury to the state to initiate the proceedings. You’ll have to file your claim within three years of your injury or risk losing out on the right to collect benefits.
Employer Submits Claim to Insurance: Your employer has to immediately notify its insurance provider that you’ve gotten hurt at work. The insurance carrier will have 21 days to consider your claim and either approve your request for benefits or issue a denial.
If your claim is accepted, you’ll get a Notice of Compensation Payable and begin to receive benefits. If your claim is denied, you’ll have the opportunity to appeal that decision. An attorney can play a critical role in helping you secure benefits and fight to appeal a denied request for compensation.
Can I Recover Workers’ Comp if I’m in a Union?
Union workers face particular challenges when injured on the job. As a member of a union, you receive additional health insurance and retirement benefits on top of hourly wages. However, if you sustain an injury that prevents a speedy return to work, you and your family can potentially lose those benefits.
With extensive experience in representing union members in workers’ compensation cases, our attorneys know the stakes and how to navigate potential pitfalls. Our union workers’ compensation attorneys can help ensure that you keep your hard-earned benefits.
We Handle All Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Matters
If you’ve been injured or developed an illness because of your job, the attorneys at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC are here to help. We handle all workers’ compensation matters, including those involving:
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Broken bones
- Eye injury
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Neck and back injuries
- Head injuries
- Brain injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Occupational disease
- Construction injuries, and
- Fall and elevated fall injuries.
It doesn’t matter if you were injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident or fell on a Philadelphia construction site. If you suffered an injury at work, our experienced personal injury lawyers will fight to maximize your workers’ compensation award. Give our Philadelphia law firm a call today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.