Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorney
As the economy continues to recover, more people are eager to get back into the workforce. Jobs are necessary to help us provide for ourselves and our families, but many occupations come with the risk of injury. Additionally, the process of receiving workers’ compensation can be long and difficult. Sometimes workers’ compensation claims are even unjustly thrown out.
Contact our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you need workers’ compensation, the legal experts at Ciccarelli Law Offices will make sure your claim is heard and that you receive what you need. Let our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys give you the necessary information to prepare for your case. If you have suffered an injury, disease, or disability at work and need workers’ compensation but are having a hard time getting your claim processed, contact our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers. We will help you win the compensation you need. (215) 228-0100
Why Choose A Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer From Ciccarelli Law Offices?
When you turn to the Ciccarelli Law Offices, you will find compassionate and experienced Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers who will work to meet the needs of you and your family. We understand how much a work injury can derail your life, and we want to help you get everything back together. Lee Ciccarelli founded this firm to ensure that the needs and priorities of the clients come first.
- At the Ciccarelli Law Offices, you are gaining years of experience. Lee Ciccarelli began this firm after years of litigation experience in trial and at the negotiating table.
- Lee Ciccarelli has extensive knowledge of the personal injury and workers’ compensation process and will use that knowledge to get the compensation you deserve.
- At the Ciccarelli Law Offices, our accident lawyers in Philadelphia will vigorously negotiate on your behalf and will be ready to take your case to trial if a fair settlement is not offered.
- Lee Ciccarelli founded this firm on the principles of integrity, passion, and experience; all qualities needed to successfully help you through this workers’ compensation case.
- We charge no fees unless we Win
Our Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Have a History of Won Cases
The clients we help truly appreciate the passion with which the Ciccarelli Law Offices bring to the table. Our construction accident lawyers in Philadelphia are successful in over 95% of our personal injury cases. Some of the feedback we have received from clients.
- “Ciccarelli Law Offices was extremely helpful in guiding me through this nerve-wracking experience. All the attorneys made me feel very comfortable about the court experience, and their fees were not unreasonable in any way. I will definitely come back to Ciccarelli Law Offices for any legal matters in the future.” – Anonymous
- “Your professionalism and basic concern for my son turned an unhappy event into a valuable and meaningful experience. My hope is to be able to recommend your firm with highest praise. We are thrilled with your expert representation and extraordinary results. Thank you immensely!” – Janice E.
- “Lee Ciccarelli, in my opinion, is the best lawyer I’ve ever known. He’s always taken very good care of me, he’s given me great advice, and he’s always answered every one of my questions with clarity. He’s always taken me in the right direction, he cares personally for his clients, as he’s done with me.” – David H.
Workers’ Compensation Statistics in Philadelphia
Although most employers are diligent in keeping their employees safe, serious and fatal work injuries are common in Pennsylvania and across the United States. For example, there were 175 fatal work injuries reported in Pennsylvania in 2020. Over 4600 fatal work injuries were reported nationwide that year, as well. Of the injuries reported in Pennsylvania, 74 were related to transportation (i.e., traffic accidents). Another 29 fatal work injuries were related to objects and equipment (i.e., equipment malfunctions or falling objects). Slips, trips, and falls resulted in 25 more fatalities in Pennsylvania.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that any organization with more than 10 employees report both injuries that could result in workers’ compensation claims, and “near-misses,” wherein an injury could have easily occurred but did not.
Although employers are encouraged to assess their own health and safety risks regularly, these assessments are often not conducted as thoroughly as they should be. In addition, the nature of some occupations requires repeated exposure to objects, materials, or environments that could cause disease or injury, leading to workers’ compensation claims.
High-Risk Occupations In Philadelphia Workers’ Comp Cases
Naturally, some occupations lend themselves to these claims more than others. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, we find that many of our clients work in similar industries, which include but are not limited to:
- Construction: Construction work is probably one of the most dangerous jobs in existence right now. Construction workers risk slips, trips, and falls, especially from scaffolding or roofs. Falling debris and objects and equipment malfunctions are also common. If a construction team is working on an older building, exposure to asbestos and other harmful materials may occur. This can lead to a variety of cancers, respiratory diseases, and other serious conditions.
- Transportation industry: As noted, traffic accidents and other transportation incidents commonly result in workers’ compensation claims in and out of our service area. Equipment malfunctions are often to blame. The requirements of some transportation companies can be held responsible, too. For example, a trucking company requiring its employees to drive excessive hours has an increased risk of injuries and fatalities.
- Farming and ranching: Anyone working in the agricultural industry risks being injured due to equipment issues, slips and falls, or other mishaps. In addition, the constant presence of hay, manure, and other materials can lead to infections such as farmers’ lungs.
- Law enforcement officers and other emergency workers: Working as a police officer, paramedic, or firefighter is naturally high risk. However, that doesn’t mean these workers cannot or should not be compensated for injuries. Traffic accidents, shootings, burns, cuts and bruises, and trips or falls are all risks. Additionally, paramedics and medical workers in particular are at risk for contracting patient diseases or sustaining injuries from upset or violent patients.
Even if you have a “desk job,” you are not exempt from the need for workers’ comp. Employees working in offices report back and muscle injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other conditions which result in chronic pain or disabilities that may keep them out of work for days, weeks, or even months at a time. Certain employees, such as older or obese people, are more likely to miss copious amounts of work due to these injuries and need compensation to cover their daily expenses. Call our Philadelphia injury attorneys today.
Compensation After a Work Injury In Philadelphia
If you are eligible for compensation after a work injury, you may wonder exactly what is covered by those benefits. In Pennsylvania, there are various types of compensation you can receive. Specific amounts will vary depending on the severity of the injury, but you can typically expect the following:
- Medical benefits. Workers’ compensation will pay for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment needed for the work-related injury. As long as this treatment is authorized, you will be covered.
- Total disability benefits. Pennsylvania workers’ compensation pays wage loss and benefits to those who need more than seven days off of work due to injuries. The first seven days are not paid at all. However, if you end up missing 14 or more days of work, the first seven days will be retroactively paid.
- Total disability benefits equal two-thirds of your weekly average wage, but they cannot exceed a maximum amount set each year. For 2019, the maximum benefit is $1,049 per week.
- Partial disability benefits. These benefits are designed to be paid if you are able to return to work but are earning less than you normally do if you receive a disability rating of less than 50%. These benefits are two-thirds of the difference between your wages before your injury and what you are able to earn after the injury.
What Kinds of Work Injuries are Eligible for Workers Comp Benefits?
There are various types of work injuries that are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The most common types of injuries people think of when it comes to workplace incidents are traumatic injuries caused by things like:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Tool mishaps
- Falls from ladders
- Cuts from a knife
- Getting stuck by an object
However, work injuries do not have to be caused by sudden accidents in order to be qualified for benefits. There are other types of injuries that are eligible, including:
- Repetitive motion injuries. These injuries are common in the workplace and are caused by a worker repeating the same motions over and over again. This can include typing, stocking shelves, factory work, and more. These injuries can be painful and debilitating.
- Occupational Illnesses. Workers’ compensation will usually cover diseases and illnesses that employees develop as a result of long-term exposure. This can include a wide variety of incidents, such as lung disease in miners, asbestos exposure in factory workers, and more.
- Hearing and vision loss. Similar to occupational illnesses, many jobs expose employees to environments hazardous to their hearing or vision. Hearing and vision loss is gradual and may not be noticed right away, but it can be detrimental to a person’s ability to work and enjoy life.
- Pre-existing conditions. Having a pre-existing condition that is aggravated by a work incident does not mean you are not entitled to benefits. If the work incident “lit up” the pre-existing condition, you should be covered.
- Stress–related injuries. We are learning that long-term exposure to stress on the job can have detrimental effects on a person’s physical and psychological health. First responders, police officers, firefighters, and more all have very stressful jobs, but anyone can experience workplace stress. Traumatic events, such as a clerk being robbed at gunpoint, can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
How Long Does Workers’ Compensation Last In Pennsylvania?
Workers’ compensation time limits differ depending on what type of benefits you are receiving. All of your medical bills related to the work injury will be covered by workers’ compensation. There are specific time limits for wage payments depending on what type of benefits you receive, total disability or partial disability.
For total disability, you will receive these benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement or until 104 weeks have passed. If you receive a disability rating of 50% or higher, you will continue to receive disability benefits for life. For partial disability, these payments end when you earn your normal wages or after 500 weeks, whichever comes first.
How to File a Workers Compensation Lawsuit in Philadelphia
For a workplace injury, you must go through the workers’ compensation system to receive coverage for your losses. In most cases, you cannot directly file a lawsuit against your employer. In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that it does not matter whether your employer’s negligence caused your work injury or not. In most cases, it also does not matter if the worker caused their own injury. They will usually be entitled to benefits.
There are times when a lawsuit is appropriate. If you are not covered by workers’ compensation (independent contractors, volunteers, etc.), you can file a lawsuit against the person or company who caused your injury.
You can also file a lawsuit if your employer intentionally acted to cause you harm. You will have to prove they acted with intent, such as physically pushing or striking you. In these cases, you may have a claim against the person who harmed you as well as your employer.
If a third party was responsible for your work injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit against that party. This would be more common at a construction site due to the abundance of third-party contractors often brought in to help with a project.
What If My Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?
If a workers’ compensation claim is denied in Pennsylvania, there can certainly be an appeal of the decision. If the initial claim is denied, individuals could still receive workers’ compensation benefits, but there is a specific appeals process, and we strongly encourage individuals to reach out to a work injury lawyer who can help them through this. Individuals in Pennsylvania have up to three years to file an appeal if their workers’ compensation claim is denied, but we do not recommend waiting long at all. The sooner the appeals process gets started, the better.
It is up to the employee who received the workers’ comp denial to file the appeal. An attorney can help file the appeal and put together a solid case. Individuals have a much better chance of having their appeal heard if they have an attorney working by their side. The appeal will be made to the Workers’ Compensation Bureau, and the Bureau will try to choose a judge near where the individual lives. The judge will assign a date for the hearing.
Preparing for the hearing can be challenging, but an attorney will help with this process. They will collect all important information related to the work injury, including medical records and any evidence related to the actual incident. This can include video or photo surveillance, statements from coworkers or other witnesses, and company records. An attorney may ask you to keep a journal in anticipation of the hearing where you can keep information such as doctor visits and a narrative about how your day-to-day life has been affected as a result of the work injury.
The workers’ compensation judge may attempt to settle the issue through mediation, but if that does not work, a judge could issue a ruling after the evidence has been presented. If the judge denies the claim, you can make another appeal, which must be done within 20 days. The appeal will go to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board and will be done by filling out the form Appeal From the Judge’s Finding of Fact and Conclusions of Law (form LICB – 25/26).
In the event the WCAB also rules against you, you will have 30 days to file an appeal with the Commonwealth Court. The court will examine the arguments and facts of the case before issuing a written decision. In most situations, the appeals process will not go past the Commonwealth Court, but if that court denies the case, individuals will have 30 days to appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is the final Ave. of appeal.
Can You Be Fired Over A Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The answer to whether or not an individual can be filed after sustaining a work injury can be complicated. Individuals cannot be terminated because they sustained a workplace injury or because they reported the injury to receive their rightful benefits. This would be considered retaliatory and illegal.
However, Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state, which means employers can essentially terminate a person’s job for any legal reason, so long as they do not violate state or federal employment law. Working to understand whether or not a termination occurred as a result of a workplace injury and the person receiving benefits can be challenging. For example, all the employer has to say is that they no longer want the person to be employed and that the termination had nothing to do with the injury or the person reporting the injury.
The most difficult part of this process would be proving that the employer terminated a person’s position specifically because of the injury and/or collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
We do want to point out that the individual who sustained the workplace injury will continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits even if their employer terminates them. These benefits will continue until the person reaches what their doctor considers maximum medical improvement.
Steps to Take to Help Ensure a Smoother Process
There are various steps that individuals can take to help ensure a smoother process when they file a workers’ compensation claim. Some of these steps may not seem like something you would think about after an injury, but we think they are important to point out.
- Continue all medical treatment. Individuals need to continue all medical treatment until the doctor says they have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This means that the doctor does not think continued medical treatment will improve the situation any further. MMI does not necessarily mean a person has reached a full recovery, just that it is unlikely the individual will see additional improvements with continued care. Discontinuing care before reaching MMI could significantly reduce how much compensation a person receives.
- Stay away from social media. We encourage work injury victims to avoid social media posts until they have recovered and their claim has been finalized. It is not uncommon for social media posts to become front and center with various types of injury claims, often used as evidence by insurance carriers or attorneys to show that the individual is not as injured as they claim to be. For example, even posting something about taking your children to a museum or going to a ball game could be used as evidence by an insurance carrier to show that a person is not truly harmed if they can participate in these activities.
- Limit conversations with your employer or supervisor. We encourage individuals to limit the conversations they have with employers, supervisors, and even coworkers. Just like posting on social media, individuals could say something that jeopardizes their claim. For example, if a person says they are “ready to come back to work,” this could be taken as a sign by an employer that the individual is healed and no longer needs workers’ compensation benefits period in reality, this could just mean that a person is bored or is tired of sitting at home, not that they have fully recovered.
Contact a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today | No Fees Unless We Win
Injured and still have questions regarding your workers’ comp lawsuit? Our Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers will help you get the compensation you deserve. We offer free consultations and will not charge unless we win your case. Schedule your call today with an award-winning personal injury attorney.