Court: PPL exonerated from paying $2.5 million to pole painter

The Pennsylvania Superior Court exonerated PPL from having to pay a $2.5 million verdict to an injured workers that was painting a utility pole and fell tot he ground, suffering significant lower extremity and back injuries.   The injured worker was not an employee of PPL, but of a painting contractor.  In an earlier trial, a Jury found PPL 51% liable for damages, and the injured employee 49% liable.

The main issue int his case was ‘retention of control’ and whether PPL retained control over safety issues and matters at the work site.  Retention of control issue is based on a century old decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in that was clarified  Beil v. Telesis Constr. Inc., 11 A.3d  456 (Pa., 2011).

This foundational law is based upon the long-standing notion that one is not vicariously liable for the negligence of an independent contractor, because engaging an independent contractor “implies that the contractor is independent in the manner of doing the work contracted for. How can the other party control the contractor who is engaged to do the work, and who presumably knows more about doing it than the man who by contract authorized him to do it? Responsibility goes with authority.”

The Court clarified the rule in Biel.

The primary question in many premises cases, as is the issue before us, is whether the property owner hirer of the independent contractor retained sufficient control of the work to be legally responsible for the harm to the plaintiff  . . . Such a general right is usually reserved to employers, but it does not mean that the contractor is controlled as to his methods of
work, or as to operative detail. There must be such a retention of a right of supervision that the contractor is not entirely free to do the work in his own way.

The Superior Court found that ashen considering all the facts and factors into retention of control, that PPL did not maintain sufficient control over the painting contractors as to bring about liability upon them.



Pennsylvania Workers Comp: Can I refuse medical treatment?

MA110x75ORGI frequently get asked questions about medical treatment.  One of those questions revolves around surgery and whether an employee must undergo surgery or some other medical treatment.  The easy answer is, yes, you can refuse any medical treatment you do not want.  HOWEVER, the important follow up question to that is, will a refusal of medical treatment impact my workers compensation benefits?  That answer is, yes, it may have a substantial impact on your benefits.   Let me explain.
In Pennsylvania, you may forfeit benefits by refusing ‘reasonable medical treatment’.   The appropriate section of the law is
§306(f.1)(8) of the PA Workers’ Compensation Act.  The law states that an injured workers who refuses reasonable medical treatment forfeit their rights to compensation for the injury or for any increase in their incapacity that results from refusing the treatment.  The phrase “reasonable medical treatment” has been defined by PA Courts to mean treatment that is “highly probable to cure the health problem and enhance the injured worker’s prospects for gainful and fulfilling employment.”
It is important to note that reasonable medical treatment would be treatment recommended by YOUR doctor.  If your doctor recommends a specific treatment, such as surgery, a test, injections, or some other treatment that would help you get better, and you refuse, your workers’ compensation benefits will most likely be terminated.   Equally important for you to understand is that the reasonable medical treatment comes form your doctor, not from the insurance adjuster, nurse case manager, or your employer.
Workers Compensation rights are extremely valuable rights.  It is important before you sign anything, consult an experienced workers compensation attorney.    If you insurance adjuster, employer, or nurse case manager is causing you problems or stress, it’;s simple, call Mooney & Associates right now.   If you’ve been injured at work and live in the Waynesboro, Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Carlisle, Harrisburg, Gettysburg, Hanover, or
areas, don’t wait to protect and get the benefits you deserve.  Call Mooney & Associates at 1-877-632-4656 for a FREE CONSULTATION.  Your insurance carrier likely has an attorney constantly reviewing your claim and file, you should have your own!