In any employment situation, both the employee and the employer have obligations to each other. One obligation that Pennsylvania employees and their family members should be able to count on is proper help after a workplace injury or illness occurs. This can often come in the form of workers’ compensation benefits and is something that many people assume will always be there if and when they should ever need it.
Sadly, that is not always what happens. The case of one Pennsylvania family illustrates this all too well. In 2003, a man who had been working at an industrial factory began exhibiting odd and inexplicable signs of mental confusion. Within months after cleaning up a chemical spill, his condition was so severe that he was unable to continue working. It was three-and-a-half years later that his wife first filed a workers’ compensation claim after receiving information that workplace exposure could be the cause of his illness which had progressed to the point that he was living in a nursing home by this time.
His employer rejected the claim and also refused to disclosure requested exposure records. When an award authorizing workers’ compensation was received, they attempted to block payments for the time before the claim was filed. This period alone cost the family over $360,000 for medical expenses. In 2014, the man died and a coroner’s report stated that exposure to materials on the job caused his death. His widow is today still attempting to collect from workers’ compensation.
Families facing a serious illness that may be related to a job situation deserve help. Talking with an attorney experienced in workers’ compensation claims may be beneficial.
Source: Slate.com, “Worked to Death,” Jamie Smith Hopkins, November 5, 2015