Fatal work injuries hold steady, Pennsylvania ranked 6th in fatalities

The United State Department of Labor and Industry released data today that confirmed 4,679 fatal injuries in the workplace in 2014.  That number is essentially the same as 2013, in which here were 4,585 fatal injuries, but 2014 saw more an increase in total work hours.  The rate of 3.3 fatalities to 100,000 full time equivalent was unchanged from 2013 to 2014. The areas of occupation that reported the larger increases are significant industries in Pennsylvania.  Those areas are:  Mining…

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HAPPY LABOR DAY!!!

Today is a day to honor the hard working, dedicated workers of this great Commonwealth and nation.  As an Attorney that represents injured workers, I wish many employers got to know the many employees I have come to represent over the years. Unfortunately, through my work, I too often see the opposite.  I see dedicated workers who suffer an unfortunate accident on the job that caused significant injury, pain, and go through significant physical, emotional, and financial pain.  Many times,…

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PA Court clarifies Construction Workplace Misclassification Act for Contractors

The Pennsylvania State Legislature enacted the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act in 2010 in an effort to clarify whether an injured party is deemed to be an independent contractor or an employee.  Most typically, we see these issues arise in the construction industry where a General Contractor believes they have hired a person as a Subcontractor.  I've had my share of these types of cases. The Misclassification Act defines three elements to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor or…

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Must I attend an IME Exam in Pennsylvania?

The questions I get from clients and potential clients are --- what is an Independent Medical Examination, otherwise known as an IME, and must I attend the examination? First, what is an IME examination?  In workers compensation litigation, both the Claimant and the Employer are provided an opportunity to litigate, or "put on", their case.  Many cases revolve around medical issues, such as, whether there is a casual relationship between the injury and what you testified to about how you…

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Staffing Agencies and workers compensation in Pennsylvania

Is an injured workers who works for a temporary agency covered by workers compensation benefits?  Its a question I am often asked. The answer is --- more than likely, yes. There are some instances where an individual working for a staffing agency may very well be an independent contractor, and thus not covered by the Workers Compensation Act.  We can help answer those questions for you.  However, in most instances, especially in our area, you will likely be covered with…

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Low wages and frequent injuries for nursing home employees in Pennsylvania

A guest column by Bill Parkinson in the Carlisle Sentinel caught my eye.  The essence of Mr. Parkinson's article is the pathetic nature of the low wages paid to nursing home employees. There’s clearly something terribly askew about a system wherein the individuals we trust to care for those we love aren’t paid a living wage. That inequity speaks volumes — tearfully sad volumes — about our priorities, our respect for our relatives and ourselves. How right he is. I…

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When Will I Get My First Workers Compensation Check?

One of the most frequently asked questions my office receives is --- when will I get my first workers compensation check?  Frequently, the answer I provide is not what the injured worker wants to hear.  Let me explain. First and foremost, the first thing to understand is that any payments that may be due you may not begin flowing until after three weeks.  Why?  The Statute provides the employer a 21 day window to investigate the work injury claim.  The…

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Will Workers Compensation Carriers See More Reporting Requirement to Social Security?

According to a paragraph in the Social Security Administration's (SSA) proposed fiscal 2016 budget,  SSA would require “private insurers that administer” workers comp and public disability benefits to report data on those benefits to SSA.  This reporting requirement would be a new mandate placed on workers compensation insurance carriers. “It would require insurers or others covered under this proposed rule to determine the Social Security status of a particular workers compensation claimant. So it would certainly add a burden in…

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PA Workers Compensation rates reduce nearly 6%

Some injured workers that come in and see me have feelings of guilt because they were injured at work and are being told by their employer that they are costing them money.  They are being told that workers compensation insurance rates are spiraling upwards. First and foremost, get rid of the guilt.  Remember, you did not ask to go to work the day and become injured.  It isn't your fault.  In many cases, it may even be the working conditions,…

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Former Pittsburgh Steelers player granted workers compensation benefits

Former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Chukky Okobi has been awarded workers compensation benefits for injuries sustained to his back, neck, and arms, that ultimately shortened his career.  The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed the decision by the Workers Compensation Judge and the subsequent decision of the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Appeal Board.  Okobi was on the Steelers' roster from 2001 to 2007, in which he was released in 2007.  He subsequently played for Arizona and Houston in 2007 and 2008. They key focus of…

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