Under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law, an injury is defined broadly to include aggravation of a pre-existing injury or acceleration of disease. Section 301(c)(1) of the Workers’ Compensation Act provides that an “injury…shall be construed to mean an injury to an employee, regardless of his previous physical condition, arising in the course of his employment and related thereto, and such disease or infection as naturally results from the injury or is aggravated, reactivated or accelerated by the injury; and wherever death is mentioned as a cause for compensation under this act, it shall mean only death resulting from such injury and its resultant effects, and occurring within three hundred weeks after the injury.”
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law & Compensable Injury – Accident at Work
The majority of work injuries occur as a result of an accident that occurs at work and is work-related. For example, a worker who is injured after falling down a flight of stairs while on the clock would be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In this example, the employee may also have an additional claim against a maintenance company or the owner of the building for negligent maintenance. Such a claim may be made in addition to the workers’ compensation claim.
On the other hand, a worker injured in a car accident driving to a regular office job would not be injured in a compensable work-related accident, unless travel was a necessary and indispensable part of the job duties (i.e., traveling nurse). This worker is not likely to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law & Compensable Injury – No Accident
Some injuries or diseases occur over a period of time and are not caused by an actual accident. Many workers are unaware of their right to collect workers’ compensation benefits in these kinds of situations.
Under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law, there is no requirement that there be an accident or specific event which triggered the injury or disease. The cumulative effect of trauma which results from work-related duties can be compensable.
For instance, repetitive motions over the course of time may cause a shoulder or wrist injury. Carpal tunnel is a common example of an work place over-use injury. In these cases, it is important to prove and establish the repetitive nature of the work. In the case of work-related carpal tunnel, it would be important to establish the same hand movements, over a certain period of time.
Workers’ compensation claims must be timely made or they may be waived. In addition, there may be additional claims against other non-employer parties. It is vital to have a potential case reviewed by a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.
Call Schwartz & Blackman as soon as possible to discuss any questions you may have. 215.925.4451
The workers’ compensation and social security disability lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman handle cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area, including:
- PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
- NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities
*This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is important to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Published: August 6, 2012