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Philadelphia Worker's Compensation Law Blog

SSD and SSI Payments to Increase in 2015

At the end of October 2014 the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a cost-of-living (COLA) adjustment for recipients of Social Security Disability benefits for 2015. The increase, which also applies to recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Monthly benefits will increase by 1.7 percent beginning on December 31, 2014.

The Big Four in Construction Accidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified the most common fatal construction accidents, known as the "Big Four." These are:

Falls from heights

Struck/hit by something at the work site, such as falling tools, equipment, building supplies or swinging beams, pipes and other crane-carried material, and construction vehicles

Caught in between something moving and an unmoving object; examples include being pinned to a wall by a vehicle or motorized construction equipment or being pinned by a collapsed wall or construction material, or being crushed when a scaffold collapses.

Electrical hazards that include coming into contact with power lines, power tools with defective cords, wiring and switches, improperly grounded outlets, and temporary wiring.

What types of workers’ compensation benefits are available?

If you are injured at work, your employer’s workers’ compensation policy must pay for your medical care, but your benefits may go much further than doctors’ appointments and health care. Depending on the type and extent of your injuries, you may be eligible for different types of financial benefits. Below, we outline four financial benefits for which workers and their families may be eligible:

Total Disability Benefits: If you are unable to return to work in any capacity after a work-related accident, you will be considered totally disabled and can qualify for Temporary Total Disability benefits.

More than Ebola: Nurses face daily dangers at work

The news that two nurses caught Ebola after caring for a man who later died of the infection at a Texas hospital has alarmed nurses and health care officials nationwide. Investigators are looking into how the women contracted the infection, saying that a breach of protocol is to blame. Nurses spoke out about a lack of training and confusion in the isolation ward where the women worked on the man.

In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new rules for workers who come into contact with Ebola patients, including requirements to wear double sets of gloves, hoods with full face shields and special masks.

House Bill 1846 on Physician Dispensing Passes the House

On Monday, October 20, 2014 House Bill 1846 was signed and sent on its way to Governor Corbett for his signature. HB 1846 is described as an "Act amending the act of June 2, 1915 (P.L.736, No.338), known as the Workers' Compensation Act, further providing for schedule of compensation and for use of savings." You can read the final version of HB 1846 here.

UPS driver who found murder scene is eligible for workers’ comp

A UPS driver came upon the worst when he stopped for a delivery on his usual route. Inside the home, he found a 65-year-old woman lying on the floor with a fatal gunshot wound to her face. He cried and threw up while waiting for emergency responders to arrive. A month later, the driver filed for workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The workers’ compensation commission in Virginia, where the case occurred, ruled that the murder scene was so shocking and unexpected that the man was eligible for benefits for PTSD. UPS appealed – arguing that the driver had only seen the body briefly and that it was not the kind of sudden shock or fright that would qualify a worker for benefits based on psychological injuries. 

Kansas Supreme Court rules that FedEx misclassified drivers

Another appellate court has ruled that FedEx misclassified hundreds of delivery drivers as independent contractors. The ruling, issued this month, the Kansas Supreme Court, is the second major decision to come down against FedEx in recent months.

Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that 2,300 drivers in California and 363 in Oregon are employees rather than independent contractors. The delivery giant has faced multiple class actions throughout the U.S. as current and former drivers challenge the company’s classification as independent contractors.

Job safety for older workers

As an older worker, you may be less likely to be injured in a job-related accident. Often, age comes with experience, focus and attention to detail. At 63, you may be a more precise worker than you were at 23.

However, you may face other risks, studies show. When accidents do happen, older workers are more likely to be severely injured and to require more time off work to recover. Further, chronic and repetitive injuries may be more likely to occur as bodies age.

Martin Law's Matt Wilson Talks Certification on 'CBS 3'

On September 25, Matthew Wilson made an appearance on CBS 3's Talk Philly to talk with Pat Ciarrocchi about the importance of certification when it comes to choosing an attorney for your workers' compensation case.