Although many employers in Pennsylvania follow the laws regarding workers'
compensation, sometimes business owners and insurance companies make the
process of filing for benefits difficult for injured workers. Some of
the problems that injured workers may face include the following:
- Denied claim by the insurance company
- Insurance company is not paying for medical treatment
- Insurance company has petitioned to modify the benefits
- Insurance company has petitioned to terminate the benefits
But in a recent case, a company with employees in Pennsylvania went as
far as firing workers who had been
injured on the job. Norfolk Southern Railway Co. employs individuals across numerous states,
but the case involving a Pennsylvania man concluded with the company being
forced to pay the injured worker over $265,000.
The man, who was a railroad conductor, reported suffering a head injury
after he blacked out while walking down a set of stairs. The injury occurred
in July 2010, and Norfolk Southern claimed that the conductor falsified
his injury report. The company also alleged that he failed to report the
injury in a timely manner and that he made conflicting and false statements.
The employee was promptly fired because of those claims.
However, OSHA investigated the situation and determined that the employer's
findings were incorrect. Prior to the injury, the man was a standout employee.
OSHA proceeded to rule that Norfolk Southern should pay $265,000 in punitive
damages, back wages and compensatory damages.
Employees in the Pittsburgh area who have been denied a workers' compensation
claim should be aware of their options for challenging an employer. Just
because a claim is initially denied does not mean the employer's claims
are grounded in facts.
Source: LEX18.com, "Norfolk Southern Ordered To Pay More Than $800K After
Firing Injured Workers in Kentucky, South Carolina and Pennsylvania,"
June 18, 2012