Today we will be talking about workers’ compensation law and some of the legal challenges that can arise when a person is injured while on the job. My guest is workers’ compensation attorney Debra Matherne and she’s going to talk with us about this topic, so Deb thanks for being here today.
Deb: Thank you for having me.
Dei: Deb what if an injury didn’t happen after a one time occurrence but from long term activities?
Deb: Under Pennsylvania law if you have an injury where it’s your regular work duties or some type of repetition work that you do over and over throughout your work day, that can also be considered a work related injury. It doesn’t have to be an occurrence, an event, a slip and fall, it can also be just doing your regular duties – under the theory that each day you’re working you’re essentially injuring your body.
Dei: And if an individual’s injury is mental not physical, could they still be eligible for workers’ compensation?
Deb: Yes, generally it is more difficult to prove a mental injury. In certain circumstances you have to show that there were actually abnormal working conditions that were considered abnormal not just by you and your own subjective perception but objectively abnormal working conditions which can be difficult to show. But if you do have a case where you think you do have a mental injury this is something that can be evaluated by an attorney.
Dei: Now is there a difference in the claim if an injury was the workers fault, the employers fault, or a co-workers fault?
Deb: Absolutely not. In most cases it’s a no fault workers’ compensation system so it does not matter if it’s your fault, or the employers fault. There are some exceptions but they are usually fairly extreme exceptions such as horse play or if you’re doing something where you’re violating a positive order from your employers – something you were told not to do. But generally it’s a no fault system.
Dei: And if an individual’s workers’ compensation claim is denied what should they do?
Deb: If their case is actually denied and they receive a denial notice from the workers comp insurance carrier, they should contact an attorney. At that point they will have to then file a claim petition to take their case before a workers’ compensation judge so that the case may be litigated and the judge can decide that case.