Workplace accidents involving spinal injuries are quite common, usually due to falls, equipment, unsafe conditions, lack of proper safety, and other circumstances. In severe cases, spinal cord injury can result, leading to devastating consequences for the victim. He or she may suffer severe pain, requiring medical care and surgery. Plus, an victim is often unable to work, which has a serious financial impact on a household income.
Pennsylvania law does allow the victim legal remedies when a workplace accident leads to spinal cord injuries. However, there are restrictions on how to pursue a claim for compensation because of workers’ compensation regulations. If you’ve sustained spinal cord injuries in a workplace incident, the lawyers at Cohen, Placitella, & Roth, P.C. in Philadelphia can advise you on your options.
General Rule on Spinal Cord Injury Due to Workplace Accidents
Under Pennsylvania law, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for the benefit of their employees. If a spinal cord injury occurs while on the job and the accident is the result of negligence, an employee can file a claim with the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to obtain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Because the employee’s losses are compensated by the workers’ compensation insurance policy, that person cannot also sue their employer to double the recovery.
Exceptions to Workers’ Compensation Rules
Under certain circumstances, you may be able to recover directly from your employer based upon one of the exceptions to the general rule.
- The Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer failed to do so in violation of the law, the immunity from a lawsuit no longer applies. You may sue directly to obtain compensation for a spinal cord injury that’s due to the employer’s negligence.
- Workers’ compensation immunity for employers does not apply in cases involving recklessness or intentional conduct in the workplace.
Third Party Claims
A different rule applies where a third party’s negligence causes your spinal cord injury. For instance, a non-employee is unloading cargo from his or her own truck in your workplace, and accidentally drops the load on you. You may be able to make a claim for workers’ compensation because your spinal cord injury occurred at work. In addition, you may be able to bring a third-party action against the non-employee for damages.
Schedule a Consultation with a Philadelphia Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Today
Employers have a duty to keep the workplace safe and carry proper workers’ compensation insurance. The failure to abide by legal requirements may allow you to recover for losses when you suffer a spinal cord injury on the job, but there are complicated rules that determine how you can proceed. For more information on whether you can pursue your employer directly after sustaining a spinal cord injury due to a workplace accident, please contact Cohen, Placitella, & Roth, P.C. Attorneys at Law. Our experienced attorneys can answer your questions and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.