Pennsylvania's Alternative Compensation Programs
In addition to the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, there are other compensation programs that can provide benefits to injured workers. These programs can compliment an injured worker's rights under the Workers' Compensation Act or may supersede those claims.
Heart And Lung Act
For example, in Pennsylvania the Heart and Lung Act applies to police officers, firefighters, and other specifically designated workers. There are similar provisions that apply to county jail employees and to state mental hospital employees. The Heart and Lung Act co-exists with the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act and provides for full salary and continuation of employee benefits to those injured workers who fall under its jurisdiction. The underlying reason for the Heart and Lung Act is to allow for full compensation to individuals considered to be "important public safety personnel." Unlike the Workers' Compensation Act, the Heart and Lung Act provides benefits only when disability is temporary in nature and does not apply when disability is permanent. It should be noted that recovery under the Heart and Lung Act is limited to injuries occurring in the performance of one's duties, while the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act allows for recovery for injuries arising in the course of one's employment. These two phrases, while similar, are not equivalent.
In addition to the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act and the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act, there are certain federal laws that pre-empt the state law. These workers are excluded from coverage under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act but have alternative remedies.
Federal Employee Compensation Act
Federal civilian employees are covered by the Federal Employee Compensation Act, which is a program similar to the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act. This Act applies, for example, to employees of the U. S. Postal Service.
Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA)
Railroad workers who are employed in interstate commerce are covered by the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA). Under the Federal Employer's Liability Act, an injured railroad employee can bring a civil action for loss of earnings, medical expenses, other out-of-pocket expenses, pain, suffering, inconvenience and embarrassment for injuries caused by the "negligence" of the railroad. Inter-related with the FELA are the Federal Safety Appliance Act and the Boiler Inspection Act.
Longshoreman And Harbor Workers Compensation Act
Maritime workers or individuals who work on or near navigable waters or in the ship building industry are covered by the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. This Act, while independent of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, does not necessarily preclude concurrent jurisdiction with the Pennsylvania law. The Longshoremen and Harbor Workers Compensation Act provides for benefits in much the same manner as the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act but generally applies to a different class of employees, i.e., "maritime workers."
Seamen are covered by the Jones Act. An injured seaman will traditionally receive what is commonly known as "maintenance and cure" for injuries occurring during the course of their employment. However, seamen may bring a civil action against their employer under the Jones Act for injuries that are due to the unseaworthiness of the vessel upon which they were injured. In this respect, the Jones Act is similar to FELA in that the employee can sue their employer for work-related injuries.
Defense Base Act
Finally, employees of contractors working on military bases outside of the United States are covered by the Defense Base Act and not by the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act. The Defense Base Act is similar to the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers Act and provides for pre-determined benefits for work-related injuries.
If you have been injured at work, no matter what you do for a living, you should seek advice from the experienced workers' compensation attorneys at Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C. They are well-versed in all types of compensation.
Contact A Workers' Compensation Attorney Today
Contact the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia workers' compensation lawyers at Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C., by calling us at 412-567-1232 in Pittsburgh or Western Pennsylvania, 215-792-6153 in Philadelphia or Eastern Pennsylvania or toll free at 866-466-5789. You may also complete our online contact form. Initial consultations are free and confidential.
For your convenience, we are available to come to your home, hospital or union hall to talk with you and your family about your rights under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Laws.