West Chester Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
The law firm Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC has been representing injured workers of West Chester for more than 40 years. We are proven advocates for residents in and around West Chester since we have opened our doors in 1978, and we will continue to work diligently with injured workers and their families with a strong focus on workers’ compensation insurance.
With a population of over 100,000 people and growing, West Chester is Pennsylvania’s tenth largest city. It is a small city with historic ties to the beginning of this country. There are many businesses here, ranging from large corporate entities like QVC to privately owned boutiques. The West Chester workers’ compensation lawyers here at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC are proud to represent this beloved city.
Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania
Almost every employer in the state of Pennsylvania is required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their workers. This insurance coverage covers medical costs as well as lost wages for the worker.
Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation package is meant to reduce confusion for both employer and employee when the worker is injured. Similar to a state’s no-fault car insurance policy, workers’ compensation in the state is also considered “no-fault”, whereas there is coverage regardless of who is at fault for the injury or illness.
In exchange, the employee signs a contract when they are first employed to not sue the employer for any injuries they sustain. And workers’ compensation coverage begins on the first day. Instead of their full pay, an injured worker is given about two-thirds of their salary while they recuperate. Furthermore, an employee’s family also receives a death benefit if the worker suffered a fatal injury.
What Benefits Do Workers Have?
Some important features of the workers’ compensation package include:
- Medical bills – Any medical bill that the injured worker takes on is covered by the workers’ compensation package, including surgery, prescriptions, hospital visits, and other expenses, such as walkers, canes, or wheelchairs.
- Income – The injured worker is given regular payments about two-thirds of their salary while they are recovering from their injury or illness.
- Treatment and rehabilitation – Some injuries require further rehabilitation, which may include physical and occupational therapy. These treatments are covered as the injured worker may have to relearn different skills they may have lost due to the injury.
- Temporary partial disability – This benefit is given if the injured worker can return to work but in a limited status. The employer may have the worker perform a different role or they may have their original role but in a part-time schedule. The worker can still receive the two-thirds income while collecting from the new partial job, and this continues until a doctor gives clearance to return to work.
- Permanent partial disability – This benefit is given if the worker is limited to only certain jobs for the rest of their life, or their injury requires surgery, which is also seen as permanent partial disability.
- Permanent total disability – Permanent total disability benefits are given to the worker if the injury they sustained prevents them from ever returning to work, which must be determined by a doctor. Injuries that warrant permanent total disability include traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, or permanent illnesses.
- Disfigurement and specific loss – A worker can suffer an injury so severe that it not only prevents the person from working but also prevents them from living the life they once had before the injury. These types of benefits are designed to help those who have suffered permanent impairments such as disfigurement.
- Death benefits – If the worker passes because of their injuries or illness, then the worker’s family receives death benefits, which also include coverage for funeral expenses.
What Benefits Do Employers Have?
Employers gain benefits from the workers’ compensation package in Pennsylvania as well:
- The workers’ compensation system helps protect the employer from lawsuits regarding an accident or injury to a worker and a worker’s family, who would receive benefits in the case of death. The employee accepts this deal when they are first hired, and in exchange, the employer is protected from any injury-related lawsuit from the employee.
- Workers’ compensation is similar to any other insurance plans for an employer, as in it covers their injured workers medical bills. All the employer would have to pay is the premium to cover those bills, instead of paying a multitude of medical bills that would be far more expensive if they were not covered.
- Almost all employers in Pennsylvania are required by law to offer the workers’ compensation package, which is attractive to prospective employees. The coverage eases any fears an employee might have should something go wrong on the job.
Who is Exempt from Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
Not every employer is required to offer workers’ compensation coverage in Pennsylvania, as some are exempt:
- Railroad workers, federal employees, and longshoremen: These industries are covered under another workers’ compensation law that is separate from the state.
- Domestic servants: Employers can offer workers’ compensation coverage but are not required to do so for domestic servants.
- Agricultural industry: Workers in the agricultural industry who work fewer than 30 days or make less than $1200 in 12 months do not qualify for workers’ compensation coverage.
- Executives: Executives of a company may be exempt.
How Do I Apply for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Ideally, a workplace injury is reported to the employer immediately, but that is often not the case. Many companies are different and reporting an injury may not happen as quickly as one would hope. An injury could occur off-site away from the employer, or the worker is unable to communicate at the time of the injury, and so forth. Luckily, Pennsylvania law requires that all work injuries to be covered by the workers’ compensation insurance be reported within 21 days.
It does not matter who reports the injury, whether it is a coworker or loved one. But important details must be reported, in writing, including the name of the injured employee, witness names, location and date and time of the incident and what may have been the cause. With this information, the employer can then contact their insurance carrier and file a claim.
West Chester Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Help Protect the Rights of Injured Employees
If you have been injured at work, contact our West Chester workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC right away. Call us today at 610-594-1600 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With our offices located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve all clients of Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchland, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.