Scranton Workplace Injury Attorney
According to Pennsylvania law, employers are legally bound to create a safe place for their employees to work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets minimum guidelines for work environments, with specific procedures for particular industries. Some workplaces are naturally more hazardous than others, but anyone can be injured on the job.
Common workplace hazards include dangerous chemicals, heavy machinery, and environmental hazards such as exposure to elements leading to dehydration. Some of the most dangerous workplaces include:
- The construction industry. Workers are exposed to dangers routinely from operating heavy machinery, exposure to the elements, and falling pieces of construction debris.
- Logging is the most dangerous job in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over 100 loggers died in 2015 from falling branches and rough terrain.
- Fishing industry workers face harsh conditions on the water and exposure to the elements.
- Truck driving is one of the nation’s most dangerous professions, with workers driving long hours that leave them prone to accidents. Additionally, truck drivers face poor health consequences associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
- Police officers routinely face dangers on the job, becoming the 15th most dangerous profession in 2015.
- Agricultural professions see injury from operation of heavy machinery, as well as chronic conditions from hard labor.
- Oil field workers are vulnerable to explosions and electrocution, making it one of the most dangerous occupations.
While some industries are more prone to injury than others, even office workers can face negative health consequences on the job. Examples of office injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, and defective chair collapses. If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim under Pennsylvania law. Contact our Scranton workplace injury attorneys for a free consultation.
Scranton Workplace Injury Legal Resources
- Why Choose Us?
- What Is Workers’ Compensation?
- What are Common Causes of Workplace Injuries?
- What Damages Can I Recover After a Workplace Injury in Pennsylvania?
- Who Is Responsible for a Workplace Injury in Pennsylvania?
- What Should I Do After a Workplace Injury in Pennsylvania?
- Contact Us
Why Choose Us?
- Our law firm focuses exclusively on personal injury cases. We leverage all of our resources and experience to help injured victims and their families recoup damages.
- We have helped recover more than $100 million in damages for injured victims.
- Our attorneys only collect money if our clients are awarded damages. No win no fee.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides benefits for your medical expenses, and in the event you are unable to return to work, provides compensation for lost wages until you can return. Death benefits are also available for dependents, in the event of a catastrophic work accident.
Private insurance companies provide workers’ compensation for your company, but your benefits may also come from the State Workers Insurance Fund.
What are Common Causes of Workplace Injuries?
Workplace accidents can result in devastating physical and psychological harm. The most common causes of workplace injuries include the following:
Exposure to Harmful Substances or Environments
- Hazardous substances (e.g., toxic chemicals, infectious diseases such as COVID-19)
- Electrical accidents
- Working in extreme temperatures
- Exposure to radiation
- Extremely loud noise on the job
- Excessive air or water pressure changes or lack of oxygen
- Witnessing traumatic or stressful events
Slip, Trips, or Fall Accidents
- Slippery floors
- Objects in the walkway
- Working from heights
- Collapsing structures
- Excessive lifting, pushing, carrying, turning, throwing, or holding.
- Repetitive motion: Repeating the same movement on the job (e.g., frequent lifting, holding awkward postures, using vibrating equipment, etc.)
Contact with Objects or Equipment
- Falling or moving object striking a worker
- Bumping into, kicking, stepping on, or being pushed or thrown into an object
- Being crushed, pinched, squeezed by, or in between equipment
- Excessive vibration can disrupt the muscular, nervous, or vascular systems
In 2020, the number one cause (36.1%) of workplace injuries that led to days away from work was exposure to harmful substances or environments. Previously, this cause was ranked sixth, but because of COVID-19 cases, it has taken the top spot.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Workplace Injury in Pennsylvania?
In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, you may have the right to recover damages from a third party. For example, if another individual or company outside of your employer contributed to your accident, you might be able to hold them accountable for:
- Total Lost Wages and Benefits: Beyond what workers’ compensation covers since it only pays for a portion of your weekly wages.
- Loss of Future Income: If your injury keeps you from working in the future.
- Diminished Earning Capacity: If the injury affects the level of income, you can earn now compared to before the accident.
- Current and Future Medical Expenses: Any medical treatment that is not covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain you have had to endure.
- Emotional Distress: If your workplace accident resulted in any psychological conditions (e.g., depression, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, etc.)
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If your injury prevents you from enjoying any activities you were able to participate in prior to the workplace accident.
- Punitive Damages: Additional compensation that is only awarded in cases involving a defendant (at-fault party) who exhibited extreme recklessness.
There are no caps on the amount of damages an injured worker can recover in Pennsylvania unless the claim is against a government agency or employee.
Who Is Responsible for a Workplace Injury in Pennsylvania?
Any party outside of your employer can typically be held responsible for your workplace injury if they were entirely or partially responsible for causing your accident. Parties that are commonly named as defendants in third party claims for workplace injuries include:
If you were working on another person’s or company’s property when your injury occurred, the property owner may be liable. They owe a duty to provide a reasonably safe environment for workers. As a result, if they were aware of a hazardous condition or should have known about it and failed to fix or warn of it, they may be responsible for the resulting damages.
If you were severely injured in an accident while driving for work, the other driver might be responsible if they were at fault. Similarly, if you were working and hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian, the driver could be held liable in a third-party personal injury claim.
General Contractor, Construction Manager, or Subcontractor
Several contractors can work on a single construction site. As a result, one may be responsible for a workplace injury if they or one of their workers caused or contributed to your accident. Construction workers have a right to work on safe construction sites and must be warned of any hazards with or where the work is being performed. This duty falls on general contractors, construction managers, and/or subcontractors, who are legally obligated to ensure a construction site and workers are safe.
Product Manufacturers and Suppliers
These parties may be held responsible for a workplace injury caused by defective or malfunctioning machinery, equipment, or materials (e.g., defective tools, a toxic substance with no warning label, an office chair that collapses, etc.)
Employer or Co-Worker
It is unlikely that you will be able to sue your co-worker or employer as long as they carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, it may be possible in situations where they willfully or intentionally caused you harm.
What Should I Do After a Workplace Injury in Pennsylvania?
If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, take the following steps:
- Report the incident. As soon as you suspect an injury, report it to your employer. The state of Pennsylvania allows an employee 21 days to report an injury. A delay in reporting may cause a delay in your benefits, or even a denial. Acting quickly is in your best interest.
- Seek care. When you sustain an injury at work, seek medical attention as soon as possible. The workers’ compensation program is designed to pay your medical expenses retroactively, so don’t worry about how you’re going to pay for it. Ask your employer to provide you with a workers’ compensation approved provider, and get the help you need.
- File a report. Your employer will fill out a claim report and have you fill out the employee section. Be as thorough as possible. Once your employer files the claim with the insurance company, you should have an approval or denial within 14 business days.
- Know how to handle a denial. Unfortunately, there’s always a chance your claim may be denied. This may be because an employer didn’t file the paperwork carefully enough, or submit the claim within an appropriate time frame.
Contact Our Scranton Workplace Injury Lawyers
When this happens, you’ll need the help of an attorney with experience in workplace injury. Rosenbaum & Associates has been helping Wilkes-Barre & Scranton area families resolve their workplace injury claims for over 25 years. Let us do the same for you. Contact our Scranton workplace injury attorneys for your free consultation.