Steppacher Law
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today 570-800-2600

Scranton Workers' Comp And SSD Law Blog

What type of benefits does workers' compensation offer?

If you work in the state of Pennsylvania, you should learn about the types of programs available that protect you in different situations. One of these programs is workers' compensation. The objective of this program is to provide assistance to you or to your family members if you develop a work-related illness or experience a work-related injury. Such an illness or injury may be short-term or may even be fatal. 

As explained by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, in the event of a fatal illness or injury, your surviving spouse or dependents may be able to receive financial compensation in the form of death benefits. Any medical treatment associated with your illness or injury may be paid for via the workers' compensation program. This is so for fatal or non-fatal incidents.

Understanding asbestos exposure

If you work in the construction or demolition industries, a common word that you may hear in the context of a safety hazard is asbestos. Many who perform your same type of work have come to us here at Steppacher Law knowing that asbestos exposure can be dangerous yet not fully understanding what it is and/or why it presents hazards to your health. Educating yourself about it not only can help you be more vigilant of it but also understand whose responsibility it is to protect you from it.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that is heat resistant and thus is used in many building materials as a method of fire protection. At the height of its use, over 3,000 products incorporated asbestos into their design. However, breathing in asbestos particles and fibers was shown to contribute to serious lung diseases, which lead to the Environmental Protection Agency seeking a ban on its use. While a ban was never enacted, manufacturers drastically cut back on its use. Some build products today do still contain asbestos, but their concentrations are minimal.

Anxiety due to work

Most in Scranton might assume that a workplace injury would have to be something tangible that causes damages that can be empirically verified. Anxiety would not seem to fall into this category. Yet millions suffer from workplace anxiety that can dramatically impact both their ability to do their jobs to the best of their abilities as well as their overall quality of life. Proving that one’s anxiety is due to the stresses that they experience in the workplace might be difficult, yet that does not mean that they do not have a case to be made. 

Indeed, tension and stress related to one’s career has been identified as one of the main causes of anxiety in American adults. Per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the most common causes of workplace anxiety include: 

  • Dealing with deadlines
  • Relationships with coworkers
  • Managing staff
  • Dealing with interoffice issues

Drivers that construction workers should look out for in the fall

Now that the summer months are over, many construction projects in Pennsylvania are nearing their final stages. Local contractors are trying their hardest to make sure these important roads are ready before the snow starts falling on the ground.

Even though summer has the highest motor vehicle fatality and accident rates out of all the seasons, construction workers performing road repairs should still remain cautious. Autumn comes with its own seasonal hazards for various drivers in Pennsylvania. There is a yearly average of 1,872 crashes and more than 20 fatalities in the state’s work zones, and not all of them are from the summer. Those involved with the industry should understand which drivers pose a threat for them as they continue road work into the colder seasons of the year.

SSD benefits due to asthma

It has been our experience here at Steppacher Law that a great deal of misinformation exists about Social Security Disability benefits and the people who are awarded them. Many might think that if you are seeking such benefits due to illness that it is simply because you tend to be prone to sickness. Yet one cannot secure such benefits by claiming that they are too sick to work. Indeed, a clinical diagnosis is required to qualify for SSD, along with certain exacerbating conditions that make it difficult for you to perform the normal functions of a job. 

Respiratory illnesses are among the major contributors to impairments that prove to be disabling. Even something as seemingly minor as asthma might make it difficult for you to work. Of course, you simply having asthma may not qualify you for disability benefits. Rather, you must meet the case standards established by the Social Security Administration

Important facts about workers' comp in PA

Workers' compensation insurance benefits employers as well as employees. This insurance covers lost wages and medical costs for workers injured during the course of work. Additionally, fault is not usually a factor when an employee is injured. There are a few important points to consider, particularly when it comes to employer exemptions in Pennsylvania. 

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, some employers are not obligated to carry this insurance. For example, federal employees are covered by other laws governing workers' comp. The same is true of railway employees and longshoremen. In this case, state coverage would not be necessary for employers to remain in compliance with prevailing laws. Farmworkers are also exempt under certain circumstances. If a farmworker earns less than $1,200 during a single year for a single employer, this worker would not need to be covered. Coverage for domestic workers is also optional under existing laws. 

How can I appeal a denied claim?

When applying for Social Security disability coverage, you must be prepared for your claim to be denied. In this case, you can launch an appeal to ask that your claim is given further scrutiny to determine its merit. The appeals process can be very meticulous, so it's important that you understand what will occur so you can take the proper steps to prepare your case. The Social Security Administration offers the following information on appeals. 

There are actually four levels to the appeal process, each of which will review your claim to make a determination on its validity. The first level is reconsideration. This entails a new review of the evidence regarding your disability by a person who was not involved in the initial review. Reconsideration may also occur if you're told that your benefits are being revoked due to an improvement of your medical condition. Once the reconsideration process is complete, you'll receive a decision on your case. 

What fall protections are required in the construction industry?

Everybody experiences a fall at some point during their lives. In fact, falls in Scranton may seem so routine that it comes as a surprise to you to learn that they are among the leading causes of workplace injuries and fatalities. In most cases, it is not so much the fall itself that is dangerous, but rather the circumstances in which it occurs. Many of the workplace falls that produce serious injuries and fatalities occur in the construction industry. If you happen to work in that sector, then you will no doubt want to know what fall protection measures your employers is required to provide for you and your coworkers. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets the standards for fall prevention. When regulating the construction industry, the magic number is 6 (6 feet, that is). That is the height above which your employer is required to provide you with fall protection when working with the following elements: 

  • Roofs and leading edges
  • Hoist areas
  • Holes and excavations
  • Ramps, runways and walkways
  • Forms and precast concrete structures
  • Dangerous equipment

Lawmakers look to expand first responder workers' comp coverage

Just a few weeks ago, comedian Jon Stewart was in the news because he made a passionate plea to Congress to fully cover health care costs for 9/11 first responders. A significant number of them have died or are dying from cancers and illnesses they most likely developed because of long-term exposure to hazardous materials at the 9/11 cleanup sites.

In the last few years, both federal and state lawmakers have debated about what types of health conditions worker’s compensation will cover for first responders.

What health provider information should an employer give you?

When you are hurt on the job and are looking for the right doctor under the state’s workers’ compensation law to treat you, you want the right information available to you without any hassle. That is why Pennsylvania law requires that employers create a list of health care providers for a worker to choose from. This list comes with certain stipulations that an employer must follow to make the selection as clear as possible to employees.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry website, an employer has the duty to make the employee aware of his or her rights and duties at the time of hiring, which includes a list of designated health care providers. The employee has to sign the notice at the time of being hired. However, an employee may have to sign the notice again if the list is changed or if the employee is injured.

Tell Us About
Your Case!

Our dedicated team of experienced attorneys bring years of successful litigation and courtroom experience to offer a fresh outlook for all your legal matters. Regardless of the complexity of your situation, our team can provide you with a thorough evaluation of your case and current legal standing. To request additional information regarding our services, please reach out to our offices at your earliest convenience by calling (570) 800-2600.

Email Us For A Response

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Steppacher Law

224 Adams Avenue
Courthouse Square
Scranton, PA 18503

Phone: 570-800-2600
Fax: 570-348-2177
Scranton Law Office Map