Bucks County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault insurance system that is used to support and treat workers who have been injured on the job. This is a system that is often required by state law, and that is why workers should be prepared to work with an attorney if they are not receiving the coverage or care that they deserve. Coverage begins the day that the worker is hired, and there should be no lag time in their coverage. Only a small percentage of workers do not qualify for this coverage, and there are federal laws designed to protect workers in specific fields.

The Bucks County Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. provide clients with the aid they need when they have issues with Workers’ Compensation claims. We can support someone who has been injured on the job or families who have lost loved ones to work-related accidents. It is important to remember that suing an employer is not an option. There are many things that could occur, and liability in these situations can be quite complex. Clients can work with us to learn how coverage and benefits should have been provided. We will hold employers and insurance companies liable for the coverage that we know clients deserve.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Do?

Workers’ Compensation is a system required by state law to provide injured workers with medical care and lost wage benefits. The system is simple. A worker who has been hurt on the job can do the following:

  • Report the injury to their supervisor
  • Receive coverage through the company-paid system or insurance carrier
  • Receive lost wages that are calculated according to state law

Workers’ Compensation should begin immediately once the accident has been reported, and the employer should have a mechanism for reporting these injuries. Anyone who is not aware of how to report injuries or receive benefits should reach out to their supervisor. If someone has been injured and still does not know how to report their injuries, they should contact a Bucks County Workers’ Compensation lawyer for assistance. Workers’ Compensation provides death benefits for a worker killed in a work-related accident and there are also provisions for workers who die of injuries sustained in work-related accidents.

What is the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act?

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act governs how compensation will be provided to injured workers. The state requires businesses to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance for all employees with only a few exceptions. At Freedman & Lorry, P.C., we have an intimate understanding of how this law works. We help people who have not been categorized properly and explain how the law works.

Some instances are unfair but not illegal; other instances skirt the spirit of the law, and we want to hold the responsible parties accountable for coverage that workers deserve. Insurance companies will have a team of lawyers on their side. Clients are urged to work with us to ensure that the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act is executed properly when an injury or death occurs.

Are There Other Forms of Workers’ Compensation?

Although the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act is used for most traditional businesses in the state, there are other forms of compensation in which workers and their families should be aware. Compensation for injured workers or deaths on the job might also be provided by the following:

  • Maritime law: Requires ship owners and employers to provide lodging, medical care, and a place to recover for those hurt on the job. State Workers’ Compensation does not apply, even though every boat in the United States is registered in a particular state.
  • The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act: This law is structured differently than traditional Workers’ Compensation and applies to anyone who works in and around the docks or coastlines of America.
  • The Defense Base Act: This Act covers government contractors and military personnel who are working on a military base or overseas installation. The Defense Base Act notes that people who are stationed overseas often are never off the clock.
  • Asbestos funds created by bankrupt entities: Many people will be diagnosed with mesothelioma long after they stopped working. The employer may have gone bankrupt in the interim, but these companies are required to establish trust funds to pay for claims of asbestos exposure and/or a mesothelioma diagnosis

There are families that do not understand how their loved ones should be covered when they are incapacitated or deceased. Families that try to file for Workers’ Compensation when they should file under other forms will delay their compensation. A Workers’ Compensation lawyer will point clients in the right direction.

Common Workplace Accidents

Workplace accidents should be on the minds of employees and employers. Although employers should provide quality tools and equipment, employees should be aware of their surroundings. No one wants to be injured, and there are a few injuries that are easy to avoid if the worker knows how to stay safe. Common workplace accidents include the following:

Slip and fall accidents: Standing water can cause slip and fall accidents, and workers might fall out of rigging, scaffolding, or from ladders. If employees work together, use the proper safety equipment, and wear proper work attire, they can avoid injuries.

Electrocution: Electrocutions can occur when workers are near or in standing water, using faulty power sources, or using tools that have frayed power cables. Anyone who works with tools should ensure that the cables are intact, the power sources are dry, and there is no standing water in the area.

Injuries caused by faulty tools: Employers should train their employees to use each tool before putting them to work. Even so, some workers may be injured by malfunctioning tools. The manufacturer of the tool can be held accountable for these injuries or incidents. The claim becomes even more serious if the manufacturer did not recall faulty products.

Overexertion: Workers should be aware of how much they can do when they are on the job. Working as a team can prevent overexertion if the body is strained to its breaking point. Many packages are labeled for team lifting, and certain jobs should not be done alone. An employer can assign workers in pairs to certain tasks and company safety policies can help prevent these injuries.

What is a Work-Related Accident?

A work-related accident occurs during work hours while the employee is doing their job. Workers who are outside of their work hours or simply commuting to and from work are not on the job. Some situations are complicated, and that is why a lawyer should be retained when a worker has been denied coverage for what they believe is the wrong reason. Workers are not covered under the following circumstances:

  • Engaging in horseplay
  • Not executing their work duties
  • Intoxicated or otherwise impaired
  • Engaging in criminal activity when the injury occurs

These situations should be avoided at all costs, and workers should do all they can to avoid colleagues who might pull them into dangerous situations. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act does not provide coverage for anyone who is not doing their job in good faith.

How Do Occupational Diseases Differ from Other Injuries?

Occupational diseases do not present themselves immediately. Although the statute of limitations is three years for these cases, some employees may not be diagnosed for several years after the initial exposure. Workers could have retired or moved on to another career before their diagnosis, and we will help trace the disease back to where that worker was exposed.

In certain cases, workers were exposed to dangerous chemicals without their knowledge, and we will hold employers accountable for improper management of their facilities. In this instance, we are filing a claim against the employer because they violated the trust of their employees. This employer will still need to pay for Workers’ Compensation coverage, even after we have uncovered any malfeasance. An affected worker should bring the claim to our legal team so that it can be reviewed. We will work with medical experts to learn how the disease was caused, prove that exposure caused the disease, and file the claim accordingly.

Who Receives Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation is available for anyone who has been classified as an employee of a business. Contractors or outside help are not covered under Workers’ Compensation. Executives, day laborers, housekeepers, and anyone who makes a very small salary during the year will also not be covered under Workers’ Compensation. Some employees even have the right to forgo their rights under the system. Some workers do not realize that they are not covered. When a client visits us for assistance, we will review the case to ensure that we can move forward. Anyone who is not an eligible employee will have their claim denied, and we cannot proceed.

Can Workers Sue Their Employers?

Workers cannot sue their employers since Workers’ Compensation insurance allows companies to avoid liability for accidents by paying for lost wages and medical care. This, however, does not mean that a company can avoid liability if they suppress a worker’s rights. Companies that abide by the laws of Pennsylvania and provide Workers’ Compensation insurance are protected. Companies that intimidate their employees, ignore injuries, or engage in workplace retaliation can be held accountable for their actions. Although employers cannot be sued in most cases, a third party may be held liable for damages, such as a colleague that caused an accident and tried to cover it up or if the insurance company is not providing proper coverage.

How Does the Reporting Process Work?

The reporting process for these accidents should be seamless and easy to understand. If injured workers do not know how to report their accidents, they can work with us to file a report. In a traditional setting, an injured worker should go to their supervisor to file a claim. The supervisor will report the accident to the insurance provider, who will then give the worker a list of doctors to choose from to receive medical care instantly.

If, at any time, an employee is not allowed to report an injury or receive medical care, they should reach out to a Workers’ Compensation lawyer for assistance. We can file the claim or communicate with the insurance company to help our clients receive coverage.

What is the Timeline for Reporting Injuries in Bucks County?

There are three different deadlines in Pennsylvania that Bucks County workers must consider when they are injured on the job. Workers must learn the following deadlines:

  • Workers have 21 days to file their original claim and report their injury. In this timeframe, the worker will receive full benefits, including lost wages and medical coverage.
  • There is a deadline of 120 days to file a claim for any benefits. Retroactive lost wage benefits could be forfeited, but medical coverage may still be offered.
  • Claims against businesses or insurance companies that did not allow for injury reporting have a three-year statute of limitations. Someone may have been injured while working and soon left that job, but experienced great difficulty. That person has three years to file a claim for Workers’ Compensation, which should have been provided at the time of the accident.

Once a case passes the three-year statute of limitations, it can be difficult to petition for the needed coverage. We can fight for our client’s right to coverage under the law.

Is a Lump-Sum Payment Better Than Continued Coverage?

Taking a lump-sum payment may be necessary if the employee does not want to be tied to a Workers’ Compensation doctor or the insurance company. These settlements can also help workers who can no longer continue in their jobs, need to go on disability, or need to continue a treatment plan.

Lump-sums are useful for people who know that they cannot go back to work, or they might help families that do not want to continue to file insurance claims or deal with the employer. For example, certain Workers’ Compensation insurance companies require a claim to be filed for every single item that is done to help the worker recover. If the worker does not have the time or energy for this, they can request a lump-sum. Lump-sums are also paid when it is clear that the insurance company or employer somehow blocked the coverage that was required under the law.

When can Employees Return to Work?

Employees are often cleared to return to work by the doctor they have chosen or the doctor that was approved by the Workers’ Compensation insurance provider. Employees can choose to return to work when they are ready, and their lost-wages benefits will cease. However, a worker may need further medical treatment. Workers’ Compensation insurance will pay for what the worker needs so long as all treatment is approved by a doctor who works within the network of the insurance provider. There are workers who could be in treatment for years, even though they are employed.

Employees who believe they were forced or pressured into returning to work should reach out to a Workers’ Compensation lawyer for assistance. Employees may have also been mistreated by a doctor or were cleared to return to work long before they were ready to do so. We can bring a case against the insurance company or the doctor when necessary.

Retaliation at Work

Retaliation might include pressure on employees to not report an accident to improve the company’s image. We understand that certain workers may have been told that they caused their accident, or the accident occurred outside of normal work duties. We have worked with clients who were driving as part of their work duties when they were involved in an accident, and we have helped clients who were told they were not covered or classified as an employee when they should have been covered.

It is also possible that a colleague caused the accident or tried to cover it up. Although clients cannot sue their employers, they can file suit against a coworker or third party that caused the accident or disparaged the employee’s good name. Any form of retaliation is illegal, and we will uncover the truth of the accident and the coverage that should be provided to these employees.

Bucks County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Assist Injured Employees

When workers are hurt on the job, the Bucks County Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. will protect an injured worker’s rights, as well as the rights of a grieving family. Call us today at 888-999-1962 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.