Pennsylvania court reverses decision about funeral expenses for worker

In 2009, a Philadelphia man arrived at work early to help his manager fix a broken cash register. The Pennsylvania Record states that a customer tried to reach over the counter while he was stocking shelves. This event occurred before the official start of his shift. After he chased the thief out of the store and was killed by being run over by a vehicle, the workers' compensation board agreed that because chasing the robber out of the store was not part of his employment duties, they would not cover the man's burial and funeral expenses.

Recently, Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court overturned this decision made by the workers' compensation board. Because the man was keeping the interests of the business in mind when he chased down the robber and not his own, he was eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits.

Workers' compensation benefits

According to section 301 of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, employers are required to provide their injured employees with benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, these benefits do not apply if the employee caused intentional self-harm, was illegally using drugs or other controlled substances or if the employee violated the law in any way.

There are several different types of benefits employees are eligible to receive if they incur a workplace injury. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, some of the benefits provided include:

  • Payment for lost wages. If an employee is rendered unable to work following the accident, they may be able to receive a portion of their pre-injury earnings.
  • Death benefits. If an accident causes an employee to die, their surviving dependents may be eligible to receive certain benefits.
  • Medical care. Workers' compensation benefits cover the costs of all surgical and medical services provided to the injured employee that are intended to help them recover.
  • Specific loss benefits. A specific loss award may be given to an employee who loses a body part such as their thumb, finger, hand, arm or leg.

In order to qualify for workers' compensation benefits, employees must report their injury or work-related illness as soon as possible. After notification, employers are then required to file a report with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. Failing to do this quickly could end in the employee's claim getting denied or delayed.

Consult with an attorney

In some cases, an injured employee may be denied benefits if the workers' compensation board does not believe that the injury was work-related. If you were injured at work, consult with an attorney who can help you obtain proper compensation for your injuries.