An insurance company has a duty to act in good faith and fair dealing in both the defense and indemnity of third party claims (claims of others against you, as an insured) as well as a duty to pay for first party claims (your claims against others). When the insurance company fails to live up to these duties when a valid claim exists, then a case of bad faith may exist.
Friday & Cox LLC Workers' Compensation, Personal Injury and SSD/SSI Blog
Pennsylvania residents should be aware that in 2012, an astounding 4,383 workers lost their lives at their workplace. Interestingly, 708 of those fatalities, 16%, involved a temporary worker. In a time when the percentage of temporary workers is steadily on the rise, this is one major concern that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) plans to address in 2014.
The federal agency is cracking down on employers and temporary staffing agencies that fail to meet safety standards at workplaces. OSHA's initiative has already resulted in a number of employers being cited for safety violations, including a $135,200 fine to a vegetable processor and staffing agency in Texas, and a $40,600 fine to a cereal maker in Georgia. OSHA also cited five companies, including four staffing agencies, for the death of a worker at an Amazon facility in New Jersey.
One of the fundamental responsibilities of an organization is to ensure the safety and security of its workers when they are on the premises of the company. Sadly, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, occasional reports of an industrial accident occur. In some of these incidents, the employer cannot be blamed; but there are often cases when a negligent employer is liable for an on-the-job injury.
Recently, a flash fire broke out at a chemical plant in Saegertown, Pennsylvania. The company, a manufacturer of adhesives and coatings, has not released the identity of the worker, but stated that the worker suffered burns from fire that started during the process of cleaning mixing equipment in the factory. The worker was airlifted to a hospital for treatment.
When a worker in Pennsylvania suffers from any injury at work, the law allows for the injured worker to collect workers' compensation from the employer. Such compensation can cover wages lost while the worker is recovering from injuries and it can also be used for meeting medical expenses incurred due to the workplace injury.
However, sometimes a workers' compensation claim is not always well received by the employer, who may seek reprisal against the worker, translating into workplace discrimination or even termination. A series of reports recently released by the Workers Compensation Research Institute reveals that when a worker is afraid of employer reprisal, it may take the worker a longer time to heal from injuries suffered. Workers who feel secure in their employment exhibit shorter durations of disability, conversely.
No employer in Pennsylvania finds it acceptable for an accident to occur in the workplace of his or her business. A work-related accident may raise questions about the standard of workplace safety and often is likely to open an investigation by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. It may lead to more workers getting injured, requiring the employer to pay hefty workers' compensation and penal citations from the OSHA.
Amazon, a globally renowned company, is recently facing investigations about its labor practices after two of their workers recently died in their distribution centers. The latest death occurred in Pennsylvania on June 1, 2014. This prompted the U.S. Department of Labor to launch an investigation into Amazon's distribution centers.
Highways and turnpikes in Pennsylvania require construction work and maintenance on a regular basis. With vehicles constantly rushing by at high speeds, however, workers at construction sites often find themselves in dangerous situations. As a result, construction injuries are not uncommon at these sites.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike recently witnessed a tragic construction accident when a worker, while engaged in construction work in a closed lane, was hit by an oncoming tractor-trailer. He later died of his injuries. Another construction worker was injured in the accident, but survived.
When a worker suffers from an accident in the workplace, the law requires the employer to provide compensation to the worker for the pain and suffering endured, as well as the lost wages and medical expenses incurred. Yet workers' compensation benefits may not always be easily forthcoming. In order to receive workers' compensation, the worker must go through certain procedures, often taking quite some time. Meanwhile, the injured worker is left with no option but to incur the expenses and hope to get reimbursed once the workers' compensation insurance money arrives.
If a worker is faced with such a problem, he or she may have no other option than to spend as little as possible. It is often unlikely for the worker to have savings large enough to take care of the costs of expensive medicines that he or she might have been prescribed. A recent report from Pennsylvania highlights this concern. According to this report, workers injured in this state get about 38 to 42 percent stronger doses of painkillers per claim on average compared to other states.
Chest pain is the second most common complaint of patients that present to the emergency room. Sadly, most medical malpractice claims arise from the failure of the emergency room team to provide a proper and timely diagnosis of the life-threatening cause of the chest pain.
Pennsylvania workers work every day to earn profits for their employer. They put their own lives at risk. Therefore, it seems only reasonable for their employer to take care of any medical expenses, lost wages and other financial needs these workers may need, if they were injured at work.
Sometimes, employers question whether they should still pay workers' compensation to these worker or their family members. This is especially true if the accident arose from an action on the worker's part that was in the interest of the employer, but may not have been strictly within their responsibilities.
Of the different workplaces that are prone to workplace accidents in the state of Pennsylvania, construction sites along highways may be among the highest risk. The workers, who are employed to carry out construction and other activities along these highways, often fall victim to work injury.
A workplace accident may lead to the injured worker undergoing financial hardship in the form of medical expenses incurred as well as lost wages. If the worker suffers from permanent disability or a loss of life because of the accident, the surviving members of the worker's family are also likely to face steep financial challenges due to loss of earnings. Because of these reasons, the employer or insurance companies may be required to pay compensation to the worker or his or her family members.