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Workers' Compensation Archives

Making Sense of the Proposed Revisions to the Federal Overtime Rules

In June of this year, the United Stated Department of Labor, at the direction of the Obama administration, announced proposed revisions to the "white collar" exemptions to the federal overtime regulations. The proposed revisions, if enacted, will be the first update to those federal overtime exemptions since 2004. The proposed revisions, explained in detail below, are dramatic and demand attention from employers of all types and sizes because the proposed revisions are projected to mandate the payment of overtime to 4.6 million workers in the United States who are not currently receiving overtime, and the news attention alone is likely to cause many employees to questions whether they should be receiving overtime under the current or proposed rules. Employers who ignore this potential development do so at their own risk!

Workers' compensation claims not always straightforward

If you have ever been injured on the job or become sick because of the work you do, you know that workers' compensation laws are not always clear and concise. They are full of pitfalls that can make it difficult, if not impossible, to claim your injury or illness. One of those injuries could very well be a crush injury.

Can I choose my doctor?

If you're injured on the job in Pennsylvania, you may want to pick out your doctor rather than taking one that the company or insurance company directs you to. Are you allowed to choose your personal doctor or is this choice made for you by those who are footing the bill though workers' compensation?

Pennsylvania workers' comp disputes don't have to be adversarial

Sometimes, employers and workers' compensation insurers don't agree with an employee's claim. They may believe an injury didn't actually take place at work, or that an illness wasn't caused by a workplace hazard. They may try to blame the sick or injured employee. They may even deny the worker was actually an employee and claim he or she is a contractor. Or, they may simply dispute the amount of benefits the worker deserves.

Can my workers' comp benefits be cut if I get SSDI benefits, too?

Sometimes, a workplace injury or illness is so serious that it causes a permanent disability. If it meets the Social Security Administration's definition of disability, the injured person may well qualify for benefits through Social Security disability, usually through Social Security Disability Insurance. Yet injuries and illnesses caused by workplace activities are covered by the Pennsylvania workers' compensation system, too.

Can I get workers' compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder?

Generally, in Pennsylvania, the Workers' Compensation Act does not allow for mental injuries stemming from the workplace. In other words, the legislature has been very hesitant to allow injured workers in Pennsylvania to claim a psychological injury related to work unless very specific factors are met. This makes sense that because it appears that the legislature did not want the common employee to be able to bring a claim for mental stress related to a "mean boss", or a very stressful job. If that were the case, the courts would be flooded with thousands of disgruntled employees who simply hate either their job or their immediate supervisor. Thus, the law requires a heightened standard for mental injuries stemming from mental stimuli at work. In other words, we are talking about injuries that are psychological in nature, and caused by some type of psychological stimulus. That heightened standard, which must be proved by an employee claiming this type of so-called mental-mental injury, is an "abnormal working condition."

Why is it different to be hurt at work rather than somewhere else?

If you were to take a serious fall after a local store neglected to clean up a spill, you might file a slip-and-fall accident claim in order to get compensation for your medical bills and other losses. If a drowsy driver slammed into your car, you could sue that driver and his or her insurance company. If you're hurt at work, though, do you have to sue your boss?

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