Protecting Your Interests After You Have Been Injured At Work
An accident at work can have lasting consequences. You may be unable to work for a period of time after the accident. You may need ongoing medical care for your injury or even suffer a permanent disability.
I am attorney Gregory Stapp. I have been helping injured workers to secure the full medical and financial benefits from workers’ compensation for over 20 years. You can depend on me to work hard to ensure that you are able to receive the maximum benefits allowed by law. When you consult with me at my Williamsport office, I will review your case and explain your rights and answer your questions.
Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system was developed to ensure that employees are able to promptly and efficiently receive fair compensation for injuries and illnesses suffered at work. Unfortunately, this process can be complicated if you are not familiar with state guidelines and procedures. Some employers are more concerned with saving costs than in helping an injured worker. I will provide competent legal counsel to guide you through the workers’ comp system.
What To Do If You Have Been Hurt On The Job
If you have been involved in an accident or suffered an injury during the course of your employment and are wondering what to do, you should immediately:
- Notify your employer of the nature of your injury
- Seek medical treatment
- Fill out an incident report
Your employer will secure first aid and provide appropriate medical care for your injury. In an emergency, proceed directly to the nearest emergency care facility. As soon as your injury is stabilized enough to contact me, call to schedule a consultation so that we can discuss your workers’ compensation claim.
Strict time limits apply. Your employer’s insurance company will always be working against your best interests to offer the lowest possible payment for your injury. I can evaluate your claim to determine what options you should pursue to secure maximum compensation, including filing a lawsuit in court.
Workers’ Compensation Disability And Medical Payments
The most common claims for workers’ compensation benefits involve traumatic work-related accidents at hazardous locations, which include construction sites and oil and gas sites. Workers’ compensation awards may include a variety of different financial benefits, depending on the severity, effects and duration of the injury. Injured employees may be eligible to receive:
- Permanent disability benefits
- Temporary disability benefits
- Payments for the time unable to perform work
- Compensation for injuries suffered
- Medical treatment payments
- Loss of use of a part of your body
I am here to help you determine what benefits you qualify for and how to pursue them most effectively. When you consult with my law firm, I will conduct an inventory of the key factors that may affect your case outcome. Some of the issues that we will discuss include:
- Whether or not your injury was work-related
- How your injury occurred
- Whether your injury may or may not relate to a prior injury or pre-existing condition
- Whether or not you were technically “on the job”
- The extent of benefits that you may be entitled to
Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be eligible for temporary or permanent disability benefits and/or a fair value for settlement for your injuries.
Common Questions About On-The-Job Injuries And Workers’ Compensation
The short answer is no in most cases. Instead, you should file a workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ compensation system was designed to prevent excessive lawsuits against employers and to ensure that injured workers get the medical care they need and other benefits, depending on the facts of the case.
Does it matter what caused the accident?
The cause of a workplace accident may not matter when it comes to qualifying for workers’ compensation. As long as the injury happened while you were engaged in work activities, benefits should cover your medical care and replace some of the income lost because of your time off, if applicable. Whether you tripped on something or suffered an electric shock or developed carpel tunnel syndrome through your word processing activities, the fact that your injuries happened on the job is what matters. There are limited exceptions. If your employer was grievously negligent, such as by blatantly disregarding OSHA guidelines, you may have a cause to bring a lawsuit. However, such cases are rare.
What if a third party is partly or fully responsible?
You may have a legitimate third-party liability claim if someone other than your employer was partially or fully at fault. The third party may have been an equipment manufacturer, a government entity responsible for putting signs on the highway, a delivery company or a subcontractor. If you have a third-party claim, it will be a personal injury case separate from and in addition to your workers’ compensation case.
What if my employer terminates me because of my injuries or because of my workers’ compensation claim?
This question gets into several aspects of employment law.
For one thing, an employer should not dismiss a worker solely because he or she was injured on the job or initiated a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. If possible, once the employee can work again, the employer should try to accommodate disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If the employer determines that the worker cannot fulfill job duties even with accommodations, then a legal dismissal is possible.
A diligent attorney can help such a worker explore and exhaust all avenues of relief in such a case, including a negotiated change in duties on the job, a lump-sum disability payment through workers’ compensation, severance pay from an employer, a payout through a private disability insurance policy and/or Social Security Disability benefits. These are some common sources available to workers who are no longer able to work as they did before an injury on the job. Dispute resolution with regard to the employer’s actions should also be considered.
What if the workers’ compensation insurer insists that I am ready to go back to work before I am actually ready?
This is when you really need the help of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. Contact my law firm to learn how I can advocate for you in this situation. I have successfully helped many previous clients fight back in similar cases.
What if the workers’ compensation insurer abruptly stops paying?
Please contact my workers’ compensation law firm without delay if this has happened to you. There may be a misunderstanding or miscommunication somewhere – or you have a cause to bring a lawsuit against that workers’ compensation insurer. I will gladly evaluate your case to determine why your payments have stopped and how to get them restarted if possible.
Recovering From A Workplace Injury? Get A Lawyer’s Perspective Before You Sign Any Forms.
Pennsylvania workers have three years from the date of their injury to file their workers’ comp claim. Don’t put your claim at risk by acting without an attorney’s guidance or by delaying action. Call me at 570-980-1865 or email me using my contact form.