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Are there exceptions to the exclusive remedy provision of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act?

Workplace and work-related accidents occur every year and result in injuries to and deaths of employees. While some of the accidents are unavoidable, many are preventable. The types of job-related accidents include slip and falls, falling objects, lifting heavy objects, and motor vehicle accidents. Nearly 900,000 employees required days off from work after their accident. On average, the injured workers missed eight days of work.

The employees incurred financial costs for treatment of their injuries. Their injuries may also require prolonged periods out of work, which may affect their earnings. The injured worker may seek compensation for the missed workdays and medical care and bills. If the treating doctor determines that the employee has a temporary or permanent disability, the employee may also receive disability benefits for a certain length of time. The exclusive remedy in Pennsylvania for work-related accidents and injuries is workers’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance an employer must carry to cover the employees’ injuries and illnesses from work-related accidents. In Pennsylvania, the employer must have the insurance policy through an insurance agency or have self-insurance approved for wage compensation, medical care and costs, and disability for approved work accident claims. Under the exclusive remedy provision in the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation, the employees lose the option of filing a civil lawsuit against their employers.

Pennsylvania law does provide exceptions to the exclusive remedy provision. If a third party caused the employee’s work-related accident and injuries, state law allows the worker to file a lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault party. Unlike workers’ compensation claims, the injured employee can seek compensation for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering in addition to medical care and other financial losses.

Under state law, an employer must have workers’ compensation insurance coverage through the state fund or an insurance agency. The employer may decide to have self-insurance covered and paid out by the employer. If the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, the worker has the option to file to sue the employer in a civil lawsuit. Failure to insure by an employer is also a criminal offense.

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The highly competent lawyers at Petrillo and Goldberg represent clients with personal injury claims, workers compensation claims, slip-and-fall cases and automobile accident victims. We work for you, and take our job of getting the best possible results for you seriously.

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