Workers’ Compensation Lawyer & Employment Law in Pittsburgh
As Americans, we spend nearly one-third of our lives working. Having steady employment gives us a sense of personal pride and self-worth, and allows us to earn a living and provide for our families.
When we go to work each day, the last thing on our minds is worrying about getting injured or being mistreated. We automatically assume that our employers have taken the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and non-hostile work environment.
Unfortunately, the unexpected can and does happen in the workplace. Employees:
- get physically injured
- develop illnesses
- endure sexual harassment
- may even be discriminated against or wrongfully terminated
If you or a loved has been a victim of a workplace-related incident, it’s critical that you reach out for legal help as soon as possible.
Your employer and their insurer will have an experienced attorney by their side; you deserve to have legal representation to level the playing field.
For the past 18 years, Employment Law and Workers’ Compensation Attorney, Sean A. Casey, of Casey Law has exclusively dedicated his practice to protecting and enforcing the rights of employees in Pittsburgh, PA.
Depending on your specific situation, Casey can help you obtain workers’ compensation, social security disability benefits, or damages for unfair employment or discrimination practices.
Casey is a skillful negotiator who has taken part in nearly 200 mediations to amicably resolve conflicts. If mediation does not work in your case, he will not hesitate to aggressively litigate for your rights in court.
Call (412) 201-9090 or (888) 658-0041 today to receive a Free case evaluation.
Are You A Victim of Workplace Discrimination?
Despite strict state and federal laws designed to protect workers from experiencing unfair treatment or discrimination in the workplace, it still does occur.
Sean A. Casey, Esq. has spent nearly 20 years advocating on behalf of workers who have endured employment discrimination.
He handles a wide variety of cases involving:
- Discrimination based on
- Sexual harassment
- Wrongful termination
You may have legal recourse against your employer for on-the-job discrimination.
Being the victim of discrimination in the workplace can make you feel violated, frustrated, angry, and ashamed. It can be scary and intimidating to share personal details of the mistreatment you have experienced.
Attorney Casey wants you to know that you are not alone, and he will will stand with you as you take the necessary legal steps to seek justice.
Filing A Discrimination Claim
In Pennsylvania, a discrimination claim can be filed either:
- with the the state administrative agency –the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission (PHRC) or,
- the federal administrative agency — the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Without the assistance of a qualified Employment Law Attorney, the claims process can be very confusing and difficult to navigate.
Attorney Casey has filed countless claims and knows how to avoid missteps and errors that could jeopardize your chances of receiving compensation. His in-depth knowledge and experience will help you build the strongest claim possible.
In 2014, there were 88,778 charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission across the U.S. Of those charges:
- 35% were based on race
- 29.3% were based on sex
- 10.8% were based on national origin
- 4.0% were based on religion
- 3.1% were based on color
4.6% of U.S. charges, a total of 4,045, were filed in Pennsylvania.
Of those charges:
- 28.4% were based on race (3.7% of the U.S. total)
- 27.2% were based on sex (4.2% of the U.S. total)
- 7.4% were based on national origin (3.1% of the U.S. total)
- 3.7% were based on religion (4.2% of the U.S. total)
- 1.9% were based on color (2.8% of the U.S. total)
Do You Believe You Were Wrongfully Discharged From Your Job?
Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state, meaning your employer can terminate their
relationship with you at any time. Having said that, there are certain statutes and laws that protect you from wrongful termination and hold your employer liable.
If you feel you have been fired or let go due to unjust or discriminatory reasons, you may want to consider filing a lawsuit. You may be able to get your job back, or receive compensation for the financial hardship you endured following your termination.
Contact Attorney Sean A. Casey at (412) 201-9090 or (888) 658-0041 for a Free consultation to discuss your legal options.
Unlawful Reasons For Termination
- your race, nationality, disability, religion, gender, or
- your refusal to do something illegal
- filing a complaint
- taking job-protected leave
- filing a workers’ compensation claim
- whistle-blowing on safety violations or illegal practices
Were You Sexually Harassed At Work?
Employees are protected from actions by an owner, supervisor, co-worker or client that constitute harassment.
- sexual assault
- unwanted advances
- inappropriate touching
- lewd comments
- offensive material and other behavior that is threatening, degrading or creates a hostile work environment
- unwanted requests for dates and requests for sexual favors in return for a job or promotion
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, you may be entitled to legal recourse and compensation. Don’t suffer in silence. Attorney Casey can protect your rights and hold the wrongdoer accountable.
Protecting You Against Retaliation
Did you finally get up the nerve to assert your rights by opposing discrimination and harassment in the workplace only to have your employer “retaliate” against you?
You may be a victim of an unlawful employment practice called retaliation.
The basis of a retaliation claim states that an employer may not fire, demote, intimidate, harass or retaliate against you if you filed a claim of discrimination or participated in an investigation regarding a discrimination claim.
Too many victims of workplace discrimination and unfair employment practices stay silent for fear of being punished by their employer. You have every legal right to speak up! Attorney Casey will protect your rights and work with you to gather evidence to support and strengthen your claim.
Pittsburgh Workers Comp Attorney
I’ve Been Injured On The Job, What Are My Rights?
In Pennsylvania, if you have suffered an on-the-job injury or occupational disease, you are entitled to benefits under the workers’ compensation law.
Workers’ comp is a state-funded insurance program that was designed to provide financial assistance to injured employees to help cover medical expenses and replace some or all of the income lost while out of work.
As a trade-off for bearing the costs associated with your injury or illness, your employer is exempt from being sued.
Workers Not Eligible For Workers’ Comp
Most employers in Pennsylvania provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees regardless of whether they are full or part-time. Coverage begins on the first day of employment.
However, there are a select few employees that may not be covered such as:
- Federal employees
- Railroad workers
- Shipyard and Harbor workers
- Agricultural laborers
Making Sure You Get Nothing Less Than What You Deserve
The process of filing a workers’ comp claim can be very complex. Don’t attempt to tackle the system alone. The slightest misstep or error can make it difficult to receive benefits or be denied altogether.
Without the help of a qualified workers’ comp attorney, you could end up getting only one quarter of the benefits you are actually entitled to.
Workers’ Comp attorney Sean Casey will do all the legwork for you, so you can focus on your recovery.
He knows the Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp system inside and out and will help you build the strongest claim possible. He will make sure your claim meets all the appropriate deadlines and includes all the necessary documentation.
Genuine Commitment To Your Health And Recovery
I understand how a work injury or illness can turn your life upside down. My goal is to make sure your medical and financial needs are being met during this difficult time.
Give me a call today to (412) 201-9090 or (888) 658-0041 to begin the process!
Maximum Recovery Can Be Yours
- Reimbursement for medical expenses (full coverage)
- Wage replacement benefits — up to two-thirds of your pre-injury wage
- Vocational or medical rehabilitation to return to work
- Permanent Partial Disability benefits (for periods where you have suffered lost wages but are still able to work at a lighter duty or lesser paying position)
- Permanent Total Disability benefits (if you are unable to work in any capacity, you can receive lifetime benefits)
- Survivor/death benefits — funeral expenses and lost income awards to dependent family members
- Special Effects — if you have lost the permanent use of all or part of your thumb, finger, hand, arm, leg, foot, toe, sight, hearing or have a serious and permanent disfigurement on your head, face or neck, you may be entitled to a specific loss award.
When You Can Sue Outside of Workers’ Comp
While it’s true that you cannot sue your employer for any punitive damages (pain and suffering), there are certain circumstances when you may be able to sue a third party who bears some responsible for your injury.
Situations that may warrant a third party claim
- If a defective piece of equipment/machine part used at work injured you, you may be able bring a product liability suit against the manufacturer
- If you were driving while on a job assignment and got hit by another motorist, you may have a personal injury lawsuit against the person who hit you
- If a toxic substance caused your illness, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of that substance
Is My Injury or Illness Covered?
The majority of all injuries and illnesses are covered under the Workers’ Compensation law in Pennsylvania. Even if you are at fault for your injury, you can still be approved for workers’ comp.
Categories of Injuries Covered by Workers’ Comp
- Specific incidents that cause an injury.
- Repetitive actions resulting in an injury such as conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome caused by repetitive movement.
- A pre-existing condition that has been aggravated by work activities. This may include conditions like arthritis or heart disease. The pre-existing condition does not have to be work-related for the aggravation to be covered under workers’ compensation.
If your illness was aggravated or caused by your employment, you may be eligible for workers’ comp.
Additional Requirements For Illness Coverage
- Illness must have occurred within 300 weeks of your last employment in an occupation where you were exposed to the hazard.
- For certain lung diseases, you must have worked in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in an occupation that exposed you to silica, coal or asbestos for at least two years during the ten years prior to your disability.
No Coverage is Provided if:
- An injury or death was intentionally self-inflicted
- There was a violation of the law including but not limited to illegal use of drugs and alcohol
Common Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
- Neck or Back injury
- Head injury
- Eye injury
- Brain injury
- Shoulder or knee injuries
- Broken bones
- Stress fractures
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hearing loss
Catastrophic Injuries Suffered on the Job
- Traumatic brain injury
- Amputation/severed limb
- Severe burns, scars and disfigurement
- Exposure to toxic or hazardous substances (asbestos, lead poisoning, etc)
- Black lung syndrome
Common Causes of Workplace Injury or Illness
- Slips, Trips, and Falls
- Falling from heights
- Collapsing structures
- Forklift accidents
- Equipment/machinery defects
- Falling objects
Dangerous Occupations With High Risk of Injury
- Construction workers
- Industrial and manufacturing employees
- Factory and warehouse workers
- Commercial drivers, delivery drivers
- Airport employees
- Health care workers
- Municipal employees: police officers, firefighters, corrections, and road officers
- Service industry workers (cooks, waitresses, maids, janitors, child care workers)
How Will I Know If My Claim Has Been Accepted?
Once you report your injury to your employer, the insurance carrier will either accept or deny the claim through one of the following documents:
- Notice of Compensation Payable (NCP): This document states that you will be provided payment for medical expenses and lost wages. At the time that an NCP is issued, you will receive a Statement of Wages (SOW) which will outline the calculation of your Average Weekly Wage (AWW) and compensation rate.
- Temporary Notice of Compensation Payable (TNCP): Your claim has been accepted on a temporary basis with medical expenses and lost wages to be paid for 90 days.
- Medical Only Notice of Compensation Payable: Allows insurance carriers to assume responsibility for medical costs but not lost wages.
- Notice of Denial: The insurance carrier has denied liability for your work injury and will not pay medical benefits or lost wages.
Do I Have To See The Insurance Company’s Doctor After My Injury?
When you suffer an injury or illness on the job, your employer will most likely require you to be treated by one of their designated health care providers for the first 90 days.
It’s important to comply with this provision because failure to do so may result in the insurance company being relieved of their obligation to pay for your health care services.
Your employer should have a list of six or more physicians for you to choose from, and it should be posted in your place of employment.
When the 90 days is up, you may see your own doctor.
If, however, your employer does not have a list of physicians posted or they have not acknowledged in writing their desire for you to see one of their doctors, then you may seek initial treatment with your doctor.
What Is An Independent Medical Examination?
Once you begin receiving workers’ compensation benefits, your employer or its insurance carrier is permitted to send you to an independent medical evaluation (IME).
An IME may be used to assess any progress you may have made with your injury or illness. The insurance company may use the results of an IME to modify or terminate your benefits.
If you refuse to appear for this examination, the employer may seek an order from the Workers’ Compensation judge requiring you to attend the examination. Repeated refusals to attend the examination, may result in a suspension of benefits.
When Will I Receive My First Workers’ Comp Check?
In Pennsylvania, you can receive workers’ compensation payments if a doctor places you on medical leave from work for more than 7 days. To be paid for your first seven days of missed work, you would need to be off work and under a doctor’s care for 14 consecutive days.
You should expect to receive your first check sometime after 21 days following the date you informed your employer about your injury.
How Much Will My Weekly Check Be?
Weekly benefits for wage loss are equal to approximately two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW), up to a pre-set maximum for the year of injury. In 2015, the weekly maximum is $951.
Your wage loss benefits may be offset by:
- 50% of Social Security benefits
- employer paid portion of a pension
- severance pay
- unemployment compensation
- earnings from employment
Attorney Casey will make sure your employer’s insurance carrier has correctly and fairly calculated your AWW.
Disability lawyer in Pittsburgh – call today for help!!
How Long Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
You can continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits as long as you are considered disabled.
Returning To Work In A Limited Capacity?
If, at some point you are able to return to work but only in a light-duty or lower paying capacity, Attorney Casey can help you obtain Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits.
These wage loss benefits would be based on a percentage of the difference between your previous and current wages.
Partial Disability benefits are payable for a maximum of 500 weeks.
Permanently and Totally Disabled, Unable To Work
If your injury or illness is so severe that it prevents you from reentering the workplace indefinitely, Attorney Casey will fight for your right to receive Permanent Total Disability benefits over the course of your lifetime.
You become eligible for PTD benefits after a doctor has determined that you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), meaning you have stopped making progress in your recovery and this is as “good as you’re going to get.”
Your doctor will assign an impairment or disability rating to your injury or illness which will largely affect your ability to receive PTD and in what amount.
Is A Lump Sum Settlement Right For Me?
Has your work-related injury or illness kept you out of work for more than four months? If so, you may be able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company for a lump sum.
A lump sum is payment the insurance company would make to you now to cover expenses they would owe you in the future.
This would replace your weekly or bi-weekly workers’ compensation checks, medical bills or both.
Lump sum settlements can be collected as
- a single lump sum final payment or
- periodic guaranteed payments in an annuity-like structure
If you accept a lump sum of money for your medical expenses, it’s important to know that you will not be able to collect any more money from the Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp system.
After a settlement has been reached, the insurance company is under no further obligation to pay your bills. This is true even if you develop future complications arising from your work-injury or illness.
That’s why it’s so important to adequately plan for any potential future medical expenses. You don’t want to be left holding the bill!
Factors to consider before accepting a settlement
- what is the likelihood of you working again?
- do you think you may require more surgeries?
- will the settlement be enough to give you financial security?
How Much Money Can I Expect To Receive In A Settlement?
A number of factors go into calculating the value of your settlement. Some of these include:
- your pre-injury average weekly wage
- your age
- ability to work
- your residual earning power
- the amount of years you have been receiving benefits
- whether there is litigation pending
- whether there exists an Independent Medical Exam which offers an opinion different than that of the treating physician
- whether Medicare needs to approve the settlement
A final settlement must be approved before a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation judge at a hearing on the record.
At Your Service!
Contact Employment Law and Workers’ Compensation Attorney, Sean A. Casey for any legal questions or concerns you may have regarding your employment.
Call us at (412) 201-9090 or (888) 658-0041
Receive a Free consultation to discuss such issues as: discrimination and harassment in the workplace, filing a workers’ compensation claim, or wrongful termination.