A worker who spends a major part of the day in a hazardous work environment always runs the risk of meeting with an accident. A work injury can pose a multitude of problems for an injured worker, including lost wages, pain and suffering, accident trauma and heavy medical expenses. Additionally, the injury may be grave enough to cause permanent or temporary disability or even claim the worker's life.
Erie Workers' Compensation Law Blog
For many workers involved in manual labor, the threat of workplace injuries always looms large. Such an injury can render a worker temporarily or permanently unfit for work, thereby resulting in lost wages. The most serious accidents claim lives.
Given the financial impact of such events, Pennsylvania law requires employers to pay workers' compensation if an employee is injured at the workplace. A recent accident near Pittsburgh will undoubtedly put the workers' comp process to work.
The possibility of a work-related accident taking place depends on several factors, ranging from the hazardous nature of the activity, the degree of adherence to safety protocols, the negligence on the part of the worker and the amount of effort made by the employer to make the workplace less prone to accidents. A worker who has suffered from an accident on the job may even end up dying, depending on the severity of the accident. Even if a worker is fortunate enough to survive, the good fortune may not stretch far enough to escape permanent disability. At the very least, a worker may incur considerable medical expenses and loss of wages for being unable to work during the period the injury is being treated. Under such circumstances, it seems only fair that the injured worker is provided with adequate compensation to make up for the losses, especially if employer negligence is the cause of the accident.
A possible instance of such an accident recently occurred in Pennsylvania, when two workers seeking to repair the roof of a carport in a hotel got injured when the roof collapsed on top of them. Preliminary reports indicated that the collapse might have taken place owing to the accumulation of ice and damage caused by water to the roof.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this month on whether or not the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) prohibits negligence suits against railroads for property damage caused by water diverted off their land due to poor track maintenance. Currently, common law negligence suits brought by adjoining property owners against railroad companies are typically preempted/prohibited by federal law. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution provides that federal law trumps state law when the two are in conflict. Here the FRSA trumps state law thus prohibiting citizens from bringing negligence claims the arise from an area covered by the federal law.
In representing our clients, we travel around Western Pennsylvania from Pittsburgh to Erie to Smethport to Bellefonte to Bedford and beyond on a daily basis. While driving around, I (Paul G. Mayer, Jr.) try take a minute every once in a while to appreciate the beautiful scenery and interesting people of our Commonwealth. In "Hittin' the Road with Friday & Cox", I'll give you the highlights. Hope you enjoy it.
It is quite possible for any worker to fall victim to an accident in the workplace. However, for those who work in a construction site, the chances of such an accident increase due to the inherently dangerous nature and surroundings of the worksite.
If a worker suffers from a construction accident, that worker has to bear not only the associated pain and suffering from the injuries, but also the considerable amount of medical expenditure that is incurred in order to recover from such injuries and get back to work. Moreover, workers may also end up losing wages for the work days lost due to undergoing treatment. When a worker suffers an injury due to a construction site accident, that worker will most likely be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, including medical care, paid by the employer.
Recalls on automobiles are not uncommon. Today's vehicles are equipped with numerous electrial components that tell the vehicle everything from how to steer, when to apply the breaks and even the temperature to heat the cabin. As consumers we expect the carmakers to design safe, reliable automobiles. We expect them to be on the watch for problems or defects. We believe that the companies will recall the automobile as soon as a problem is detected. Unfortunately companies may cut corners and delay a recall to save their bottomline. If injury occurs because of a faulty automobile the injured party may have a product liability case against the manufacturer.
Working in a hazardous environment and doing jobs that arguably dangerous often bring along with it the chances of injury and even fatality for a Pennsylvanian worker. While an on-the-job injury does mean the possibility of obtaining workers' compensation benefits, which can recompense for the medical expenses incurred and the lost wages, it is always better that the workplace remains safe and hazardous activities are minimized and proper safety protocols duly observed.
Unfortunately, one of the prime industries in Pennsylvania, the oil and gas industry, often employs a technique called fracking, which is arguably compromising worker safety and giving rise to unfortunate side effects in the health of the workers as well as environmental concerns. The industry has, according to reports, one of the highest fatality rates among all its counterparts.
A property owner is required to make the premises safe for vistors and workers invited onto the property. If the owner fails to make the premises safe, he can be held liable if someone sustains personal injury on the premises. A recent Somerset County case involves a roofer injured when he fell through a rare, over 100 year old skylight. The injured roofer, who was working for an independent contractor at the time, filed the lawsuit against the building owner. Typically when a worker employed by an independent contractor is injured on the the job, the owner of the premises will not be held liable if the worker is injured by the negiglience of the independent contrator. Here, the injured worker argued that the roof on the building was unqiue and the repair work was governed by Occupational Safety Health Act (OSHA). He also argued that the owner of the building knew that the independent contract was not complying with OSHA work standards.
The concern about workplace safety and the aim to minimize the number of accidents occurring in the workplace led to the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the U.S. Department of Labor. The objective of OSHA is to ensure a reduction in workplace safety hazards and implement programs related to workers' health and safety, thereby curbing any work injury in the process.
A worker who has been injured on the job suffers not only from the injury but also financially because he or she is generally unable to earn a living while recovering from the injury. If the workplace accident that caused the injury can be attributed to the employer's negligence, the worker would be entitled to receive appropriate workers' compensation benefits from the employer.