Pottstown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
In Pottstown and surrounding communities, the law firm Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC has been representing injured workers and their families in workers’ compensation insurance cases for more than 40 years.
In those four decades, the firm has proved itself to be a determined advocate for injured workers in all kinds of industries in the community. Although Pottstown has a long history of agriculture work, much of the population of Pottstown is now employed in the health care industry, schools, private businesses, and manufacturing. Although physical labor jobs may present more of a likelihood of injury, accidents can happen in any workplace.
Protecting workers has always been a focus at the firm since they first opened their doors to clients in 1978.
Do I Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Almost all workplaces across the state of Pennsylvania must provide coverage for injuries, accidents, and diseases that workers might get on the job. There are some exceptions, but his state-mandated insurance package covers medical costs and provides compensation when a worker is recuperating.
This is mandated by the state to reduce problems from workplace accidents for both the employee and the employer. Much like a no-fault insurance policy, the coverage applies regardless of who caused the accident, even if it was the employer’s fault or a mistake the worker made that caused the injury or illness. In exchange for this coverage, the employee is signing off to not sue the employer for injuries. Because it is mandated for almost all employers in the state, it is likely that the paperwork for workers’ compensation insurance was signed right away, along with a pile of other forms, likely on the first day of work. The program covers workers after the first day of work as well.
Besides being covered for the cost of medical care, the injured worker receives regular income until they can return to work, about two-thirds of the worker’s regular salary, or 60 percent of income.
Another important benefit that workers’ compensation insurance offers is a death benefit for the worker’s family if the worker dies because of the incident.
One of the biggest benefits of no-fault car insurance is that it covers everyone, no matter who caused the accident. Workers’ compensation is the same. However, like no-fault auto insurance, workers’ compensation insurance offers limited benefits.
What Are the Benefits for Workers?
A few important features of the workers’ compensation insurance package include the following:
- Regular income. The injured worker or the injured worker’s family will receive regular income, the wage benefit portion of the workers’ compensation insurance package, while the worker is recuperating.
- Medical expenses. Bills from doctors, physical therapists, surgeons, hospitals, pharmacies, and other medical services will be covered. Also covered are needed medical devices and equipment such as braces, walkers, and wheelchairs.
- Rehabilitation. Once a patient is out of the hospital, they may be sent to what is sometimes referred to as step-down care. This may be a rehabilitation hospital or an outpatient care facility. It often means physical and occupational therapy, and it may include vocational rehabilitation to relearn certain tasks, personal grooming skills with the injury, and possibly, learning new job skills
- Temporary partial disability. When an injured worker can return to work, but only part time or at a different job than before the injury, the worker will be bringing home some salary plus collecting benefits equal to two-thirds of the income for the reduced hours. This benefit can continue until a doctor gives approval for a full return to work.
- Permanent partial disability. Some injuries limit workers from doing certain types of work for the rest of their life. Some injuries require surgery, and this can also be a permanent partial disability.
- Permanent total disability. There are injuries that mean the worker will never return to work. When this happens, the worker qualifies for permanent and total disability income. To receive this benefit, a doctor needs to deem the injured worker as unable to return to work. Some of the injuries that could result in this diagnosis are traumatic head injuries, amputations, and paralysis.
- Disfigurement and specific loss. There are injuries that damage not just the ability to work, but the life the person had before the accident. Disfigurement and specific loss benefits help those who have suffered permanent impairments.
- Death benefits. In the worst-case scenario, when a person dies as the result of the incident, the worker’s family will receive a death benefit. This benefit will include a funeral expenses allotment.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Benefit the Employer?
As noted above, the workers’ compensation system was mandated by the state because it serves the employee as well as the employer in the event of an accident or injury on the job. Here are some of the ways it benefits employers:
- Lawsuit protection. Regardless of the cause of the accident or the severity of the injuries, the employer cannot be sued by the worker or, if the worker dies because of the injuries, by the worker’s family members. The signature of acceptance from an employee on the insurance package offered by the employer means the employer is shielded from lawsuits regarding the incident.
- Insurance at a controlled cost. This is intended to cover the bills, possibly many bills, that result from workplace accidents. Paying the premium to cover employees via workers’ compensation insurance is far less expensive than covering a multitude of medical bills from injuries on the job.
- A benefit that employees want. Because the employer covers the cost of work injuries and accidents, workers have less fear about taking on a job. It shows that the employer is interested in protecting employees, besides being mandated under Pennsylvania law for most employers.
Steps Needed to File for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Although it is often the case that an accident or injury on the job was immediately reported to the employer to get emergency medical assistance on the scene, sometimes that does not happen. The employer may not be on site, the worker may be at a distant location, or communication may not be possible.
Many times, a disease results from a workplace incident, which may not have been reported at the time of exposure or the incident, because it was unknown that a disease would result. This kind of case requires figuring out the cause of the disease and where the exposure may have happened, such as a toxic chemical stored at work that perhaps was spilled accidentally or released into the air. In situations such as this, neither the employer nor the employee might know the exact time of the incident.
Keeping in mind that extenuating circumstances may impact when the employer is informed of a workplace incident, Pennsylvania requires that work injuries are reported within 21 days.
There are situations in which the injury or illness needs to be reported to the employer by a coworker or loved one of the injured worker. But no matter who reports the incident, pertinent details of the accident need to be shared, preferably in writing, to the employer, as soon as possible. This can be done by email, as sending a letter by regular mail may take too much time.
When the employer has been informed, management needs to file a claim with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This too, is often done right away in an emergency.
Pottstown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Fight for Injured Workers
If you have been injured while performing the duties of your job, reach out to the Pottstown workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC. We will investigate the cause of the accident and fight to secure the benefits for which you are entitled. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation today. We are in Exton, Pennsylvania, where we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.