Q: My job as a nurse’s assistant requires me to help lift and move patients. Recently I experienced acute back pain while working. My supervisor told me it’s my own fault for not following hospital safe lifting protocols. Does this mean I don’t get workers’
As a general rule, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you are a worker in a business with more than one employee and if your illness or injury occurred in the course of your work duties.
In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. That means the employee will receive benefits to cover his or her legitimate medical expenses regardless of who was responsible for the injury—the employer, a coworker, the business owner, or a manager. It’s important to assign blame for the injury only if someone outside the company may be responsible; in that case, an injured worker may have a valid legal claim for compensation from that outside party.
So your supervisor is probably wrong. You probably can file for your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits and expect to receive them.
No doubt you noticed that we used the word “probably” twice in the previous paragraph. That’s because there are always exceptions to general rules. In some cases, you may not be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania. Here are some possible reasons why:
- If your injury actually occurred during a break or recreational period, you might not be covered, even if you were on your workplace premises at the time.
- If using illegal drugs or alcohol was a factor in your injuries, you may be denied Pennsylvania workers’ compensation coverage.
- If your injury was intentionally self-inflicted, you will not receive benefits.
- If you have a history of violating safety rules—especially if you have been disciplined in the past for ignoring proper workplace safety—then you may be ineligible for worker’s comp benefits for an injury you caused while acting in an unsafe manner.
As you can see, it’s important to investigate every detail of your job-related back injury to make sure that you qualify for disability benefits. That’s just one reason why you should protect your interests by talking with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Harrisburg early on. Contact the team at Schmidt Kramer by calling 717.888.8888 locally or 888.476.0807 toll-free to schedule a free, confidential case review. At your request, we will even send you a copy of our informative brochure, Who Pays The Bills When You Are Injured At Work? completely FREE to help you understand your legal rights.