We expect that the businesses that operate in our communities are responsible about operating safely and in compliance with applicable laws. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Even when a company does maintain strict standards, defective equipment, human error, and unforeseen events can cause serious industrial accidents.
If you were a worker injured in a worksite mishap, you should consider speaking with an Altoona workers’ comp attorney to discuss legal restitution. An Altoona industrial accidents lawyer could review your circumstances and help you obtain a fair and appropriate award of monetary damages.
Worker’s Compensation Benefits for Industrial Employees
In most cases, the first place an injured employee should look for compensation is his or her worker’s compensation insurance. All employers must insure their workers under this program, and in return, the worker cannot sue the employer for damages.
Under the workers’ compensation program, employers must pay an injured worker’s necessary medical expenses as long as he or she seeks treatment from a list of employer-approved providers. The program also pays the employee two-thirds of his or her salary for a period of time if he or she is temporarily unable to work full-time at his or her previous job. More substantial benefits are available if an employee is permanently disabled as a result of the work-related injury.
However, employers and their insurance companies often attempt to limit an employee’s benefits unjustly. For example, they might deny that an injury occurred at the industrial site, question the severity of the injury, or insist a worker is ready to return to his or her job prematurely. An Altoona attorney with experience in industrial accident cases could advocate for the employee’s eligibility for all the worker’s compensation benefits to which he or she is entitled.
Third-Party Claims in Worksite Accident Cases
Although injured employees may not sue their employer, some situations could allow a worker to sue a negligent third party for his or her injuries. A seasoned attorney in the area could advise an injured industrial employee whether such a lawsuit might be possible in his or her specific circumstances.
In general, a worker could bring a third-party claim if someone other than his or her employer or a fellow employee was negligent, and that negligence was a direct cause of the employee’s injury. Employees may be able to bring a claim for an industrial accident if:
- A defective piece of equipment caused the worker’s injury, resulting in the manufacturer being liable;
- An independent contractor at the worker’s job site negligently created the condition that led to the event;
- Poor maintenance of property or a piece of equipment owned by a separate company was responsible for the accident.
Damages in third party claims could include the portion of the worker’s lost wages that worker’s compensation did not cover. Damages also could include payments to compensate the worker for his or her pain and suffering, mental anguish, and any diminishment of the employee’s quality of life resulting from the injury.
Statute of Limitations in Altoona
To secure worker’s comp benefits, employees must promptly notify their employer of their injuries. If the worker notifies the employer within 21 days, any benefits for lost time at work will revert back to the date of the injury. If the employee misses the 21-day window, he or she could still receive benefits if he or she notifies the employer within 120 days. However, the wage benefit would begin on the date of notice, not the date of injury.
If filing a third-party claim, 42 P. S. §5524 allows an injured person only two years to bring a lawsuit seeking damages for personal injuries. Industrial accident lawyers in Altoona could ensure these strict deadlines are met.
Team Up with an Altoona Industrial Accident Attorney
The worker’s compensation system is not always fair to the people it is designed to protect. Employers and their insurers might try to deny an industrial employee the benefits they are entitled to receive.
An Altoona industrial accident lawyer could push back against the employer to ensure the worker gets the financial support he or she needs and deserves. An attorney could also investigate the circumstances of the worker’s injury to determine whether a third-party claim might be appropriate. Call the office of Marcus & Mack to schedule a consultation and get a committed advocate working for you.