New ruling grants workers’ compensation for nurse

New ruling overturns denied appeal for workers’ compensation giving Pennsylvania nurse benefits for on-the-job illness.

A recent article in The Washington Times notes that the cost of workers' compensation insurance to employers in Pennsylvania is set to decrease for the fourth straight year. While rates for coverage from insurance companies are expected to be nearly six percent lower than previously, the article notes that payments to claimants should remain unchanged.

As noted by the Social Security website, employers can fund workers' compensation themselves, through private insurance companies or through a state fund.

Costs do not tell the whole story

This statistic, however, does not reflect any status on those claims that are denied and then later appealed by workers. Receiving workers' compensation is not always an easy process. A nurse in Pennsylvania knows this all too well. After a lengthy battle, she has finally been awarded compensation for an illness sustained while employed at a hospital five years ago.

Her story began in the spring of 2010 when she sought emergency care for the first of three times for asthma symptoms. She later concluded that the cause of the problem was the specific floor wax used by the hospital. After leaving her job at the hospital due to the problem, she filed for disability benefits under workers' compensation. Her claim was denied.

The woman pursued her claim and roughly a year and a half later was awarded partial disability benefits. After that, she appealed for total disability benefits but was denied by the state Workers' Compensation Appeal Board. That final denial was overturned by a panel of three judges representing a state appellate court providing the woman the compensation she deserved.

Partial and total disability under workers' compensation

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry website notes that total disability benefits are provided to persons deemed unable to work at all. Partial disability benefits are given to those people who may be able to work in some capacity. The delineation of one level of disability can be adjusted based upon the condition of the patient.

For example, someone who originally is granted total disability benefits may improve to the point where some the diagnosis warrants a partial disability status. The same can happen in reverse if a person's condition deteriorates. Any condition which is deemed to have been made worse or caused by a situation at work is known as an occupational disease.

What injured or ill workers should know

Obtaining workers' compensation may not always be easy. For this reason, it is important to work with an experienced attorney when making a claim for worker's compensation in Pennsylvania.

Keywords: workers' compensation, on-the-job, health care, nurse