Court rules in favor of worker injured during rescue efforts

Workers throughout Pennsylvania may take notice of a recent ruling on workers' compensation benefits by a Pennsylvania court. The court ruled that a worker who suffered an injury while trying to rescue a co-worker could not be denied workers' compensation benefits, despite arguments from his employer that the worker was not really on duty at the time of his injury in 2010.

The worker's injury came when he and two other co-workers tried to rescue a fourth worker who had fallen into a pit at a job site. Unfortunately, they were not able to rescue the man, whose body was later recovered from the bottom of the pit. The worker who filed suit against his employer and its insurance carrier was climbing out of the pit when he was overcome by methane gas. In the resulting fall he suffered injuries to his left leg, knee, foot, ribs, head and lungs.

After the worker filed his claim, the Pennsylvania's Workers' Compensation Appeals Board ruled that he should receive benefits as stipulated by state law. The employer and the insurance carrier disagreed and appealed, arguing that the worker had abandoned his job when he made the rescue attempt. The court upheld the appeal board's ruling. The judge said the injured worker was only 30 feet away installing a pipeline, and thus was still on the job when he attempted to rescue the victim from the pit.

This case is an example of how some employers and their insurers will attempt to deny workers' compensation benefits to their workers, regardless of the severity of their injuries. However, appropriately argued and presented cases, such as this one, are more likely to see injured workers obtain compensation.

Source: PennLive.com, "Worker injured during rescue bid can't be denied workers comp, Pa. court says," Matt Miller, July 7, 2015

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