Things to Know About Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Laws
Workers Compensation is legislated under two separate Acts. The Workers Compensation Act was adopted in 1915. Originally, it was known as the Workmens Compensation Act. It has been amended many times since its original enactment. Occupational diseases are governed by the Occupational Disease Act of 1939. The administration of both Acts is under the supervision of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry which has extensive rule and regulation making powers.
At its simplest, an employee injured in the course and scope of his employment is entitled to receive payment of wage loss benefits and payment of medical expenses. When an injury occurs, the employer is required to report the injury to the Workers Compensation Bureau. The employer can accept liability and file the appropriate document which will result in payments beginning to the injured employee and payments of medical expenses paid directly to the medical providers. In this situation, an injured employee rarely requires consultation with counsel.
However, when an alleged employer fails to accept responsibility for the injury, the employee is required to file a Claim Petition. At this point, even the most sophisticated layman will find himself or herself trapped in a maze that cannot be navigated without the help of counsel knowledgeable in the interpretation of the Statues as amended and the case law that has developed over many years. A workers compensation lawyer nashville tn can help with such cases.
Examples of hurdles that may be encountered are: distinction of employee versus independent contractor, was the injured individual within the course and scope of employment when the injury occurred, and did the injury occur while on or off the premises. The Accident Reports NY has regular updates on the accidents that take place.
Most injuries which occur on premises are compensable, while many off premises are not. In a case recently handled by our firm, we were able to extend the definition of on premises to an unusual situation.
In summary of that case, a worker parked her car in a garage off the employer’s campus at a reduced rate as an employee benefit. The employer provided shuttles from the garage to the employer’s campus. The employee parked her vehicle at the garage and slipped on sidewalk ice as she prepared to board the employer-provided vehicle. After being denied benefits by the Workers’ Compensation Judge, the Board on appeal reversed the decision and benefits were granted.
The Board reversed the WCJ and concluded that the claimant sustained her injuries on the extended premises of the employer and her injuries were compensable. The Board found that the employer posted “drop off and pick up” areas where
employees were required to board and disembark from the company-provided shuttle. The Board found the claimant’s injury was caused by the operation of the Defendant employer’s shuttle bus at that location. In short, the Board found that the shuttle pickup
and disembark area was an extension of the employer’s property and the employee was injured as a result of the condition of the extended premises. The lesson to be learned is that consultation with counsel should always be had in cases where an injury occurs when going to or leaving employment.
The Workers Compensation Law is extremely complex and issues arise constantly over the benefits owed to claimants who are injured in their employment. Some of those issues are:
- Compensation for Specific Loss such as:
- Disfigurement and determining the amount of compensation
- Benefits in respect to fatal injuries, accruing to the employee’s
- (a)thumb, fingers and hand;
- (b)forearm and arm;
- (c)lower leg or leg
- (d)toes and foot
surviving spouse and children, parents and brothers and sisters.
Settlement of Claims
By Section 449 of the Act, settlements for the first time were sanctioned, and as amended in 2006, the settlement approval process was streamlined. This procedure is known as a Compromise and Release Agreement (C & R) and in the proper case, will provide a lump sum payment to the claimant. It is also used in disputed cases to obtain a final resolution.
In summary, counsel should be consulted immediately in the event the employer disputes an injury claim. Counsel is also desirable in all cases when a Compromise & Release Agreement has been offered or suggested by the employer or its carrier.
If you have a Workers Compensation issue, you can’t afford to make the wrong decision in choosing a lawyer. Contact us today for your free no obligation evaluation.
Update Regarding Workers’ Compensation Act
Protz V. Workers Compensation Appeal Board (Derry Area School Board)
On June 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found Section 306(a.2) of the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act to be unconstitutional. This Section allowed employers to demand that claimants undergo an impairment-rating evaluation (IRE) to determine the claimant’s “degree of impairment” due to the claimant’s compensable injury.
In almost every case, the degree of impairment found was less than 50%, which permitted the employer or its insurance carrier to change total disability benefits to partial disability benefits, limiting disability payments to 500 weeks.
With the decision in Protz, an injured claimant can continue receiving total disability benefits for as long as the work-related disability prevents a claimant from returning to work regardless of the degree of impairment.
Employees who, in the past, have had their benefits limited by IRE findings or have otherwise entered into settlements influenced by IRE evaluations or the expected results of an IRE Evaluation should have our firm review your case for possible re-opening.
The Heart and Lung Act
It should be recognized at the outset, that The Heart and Lung Act is somewhat of a misnomer as it applies to injuries sustained by certain public servants engaged in hazardous occupations. It would include, and you can find more about this on the official source, but is not limited to, the State Police Force, Enforcement Officers and Investigators of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, Department of Corrections Employees, Special Agents at the Office of Attorney General, and many other officers engaged in hazardous occupations at State, County and Local Municipalities.
The Heart and Lung Act provides for what is essentially a salary continuation during temporary disability without the deduction of taxes.
While Heart and Lung benefits and Workers’ Compensation are separate programs, benefits can be received concurrently and upon happening of an injury in the course of employment, a claim should be made by personal injury attorneys from Austin for both The Heart and Lung Act Benefits as well as Workers’ Compensation Benefits.
Heart and Lung Act Benefits are paid only during the period of temporary disability, and should that temporary disability become permanent, The Heart and Lung Benefits will cease; however, Workers’ Compensation Benefits will continue.
Charged With A Crime? Here’s What Happens Next.
Getting arrested can be a frightening experience, especially with everything that can follow — being taken by police car to a detention center, getting booked, and likely being put in jail. Because getting arrested is a trying time, if you’re arrested you may be tempted to say or do anything to get out of the situation. But if you’re ever arrested, it is important under these difficult circumstances to think clearly and try to protect your rights. Here are some important things to know if you are arrested as well as key steps to protect your rights.
What Is An Arrest?
Just because you are stopped by the police for something does not mean you are under arrest. An arrest generally refers to the point at which you are taken into custody, meaning you are unable to freely leave the scene. Police usually don’t need a warrant to arrest you — they can arrest you as long as they have probable cause to believe you have committed or are about to commit a crime (an arrest made at your home generally does require a warrant unless there’s a belief you will run away, destroy evidence or harm someone).
If you are arrested, don’t try to run away or resist, as this will only make the situation worse and lead to additional charges. Though it may be difficult, try to remain calm and not get into an argument with the officer. Be careful about your body movements, and don’t threaten to file a complaint against the arresting officer. If you feel the officer has violated your rights, you can file a formal complaint later.
Your Right To Remain Silent
As most people know from watching television crime shows, if you’re arrested you have to be read your Miranda rights by the police before they can question you. These state that:
- you have the right to remain silent;
- anything you say can be used against you;
- you have the right to an attorney; and
- if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
Miranda rights are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. They must be given to you whether you are a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen. If you are arrested and not read your Miranda rights before police start questioning you, statements you make cannot be used against you. However, this does not mean your case will be dismissed, as there can be other evidence sufficient to find you guilty.
Ask To Speak To A Lawyer Immediately
According to the elder law lawyers in San Diego, CA once you are under arrest, take advantage of your right to remain silent and don’t answer any questions (you can give your name and personal information). Ask to speak to a Chicago car accident lawyer immediately, and don’t say anything until you have talked to a lawyer . An arrest is an emotional time and can cause you to not think clearly, and it’s easy to accidentally say something that hurts your case. You may think you can persuade the police officer to let you go, but this is highly unlikely. What is a lot more common is that the person being arrested says something that makes things worse. Any statement you make will go into the police report and be used against you later. Because of this, it’s much better to consult a lawyer before you say anything. According to this informative post, your lawyer can advise you what to say — or not say — to law enforcement officers so that it will not hurt your case.
Invoking your right to know What I need to do when charged with a dangerous offense? And to remain silent is easy. Just simply tell the officer “I don’t want to say anything until I talk to my lawyer,” or “I am invoking my right to remain silent” or “I have nothing to say.”
If you’re arrested, law enforcement officers can question you without a lawyer present only if you waive your right to remain silent. If you answer some questions and then decide you don’t want to answer any more until talking to your lawyer, the questioning must stop.
In some arrests, like an arrest for drunk driving, the police officer will ask for physical evidence, such as a blood, breath or urine test. All states have implied consent laws, which are based on the principle that as a condition to obtaining a driver’s license, people implicitly agree to take a test to determine the alcohol content of their blood if they are suspected of drunk driving. But laws vary between states regarding the penalties for refusing to take a blood alcohol content test. Almost every state imposes administrative penalties, like fines and losing your driver’s license for a certain time, for refusing to take the test. Some states also impose criminal penalties for refusing to take a test.
When you are arrested, the police will likely search you. Depending on where the arrest occurs, they may also try to search your car or home.
With regard to body searches, if you are arrested a police officer is legally entitled to search you — without a warrant — for weapons or evidence.
If you’re arrested while driving, you are not legally required to consent to a search of your vehicle, and to protect yourself, you should not consent to a search. Generally, the police are entitled to search your car without a warrant and without your consent only if there is probable cause to believe it contains illegal items or evidence.
If you are arrested at home, an officer without a warrant can generally search only the area near your (depending on the circumstances, this may mean just the room you are in). However, if the officer believes evidence will be destroyed and it’s an emergency situation, your home may be searched without a warrant and without your consent.
If you are the victim of an illegal search, a court may not allow as evidence anything obtained during the search.
After The Arrest
After the arrest, you will be taken to a detention center for booking. It is important to continue to maintain your silence, as the statements you make not only at the time of the arrest but also elsewhere can be used against you. Booking is the process of fingerprinting, photographing you and processing you into the system. At the detention center, you will be granted the right to make at least one phone call. That call should be to a loved one, friend or a lawyer, who can start the process of protecting your rights.
Being arrested is a frightening and confusing time. But knowing and invoking your rights if you are arrested — especially your right to remain silent and your right to a lawyer — can help prevent the situation from getting worse.
Contact an attorney at Eddy DeLuca Gravina & Townsend today. Please call us for all your legal needs. We offer a full range of legal services to individuals, families and businesses, including personal injury, estate planning, real estate, family law and business matters. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality legal services at a reasonable cost.