If you or a family member works as a nurse in Philadelphia or elsewhere in Pennsylvania, you already know your job is an important one that can be immensely rewarding. You also know that it can be physically demanding. At times, it can even be dangerous.
Many different things can go wrong on-the-job in the healthcare industry. If you get hurt while working as a nurse, you need to understand your legal rights.
At Shor & Levin, P.C., our attorneys help injured nurses to get their medical costs covered and disability income through the PA workers’ compensation system. To find out what we can do for you, contact us today. Our consultations are always free.
Common Causes of Injury to Nurses
A nurse can be hurt due to unsafe work conditions, bad safety policies or dangerous patients. Some of the most common ways for a nurse to get hurt on-the-job include:
- Overexertion or putting too much stress on your joints – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that nurses and nurse assistants face an especially high risk of suffering musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). In fact, the risk is seven times higher than the risk faced by workers in other fields. These injuries can come from moving or repositioning patients, heavy lifting or repeatedly doing the same tasks.
- Workplace violence – Assaults against nurses are far too common. A nurse can be victimized by patients or by patients’ family members. Patients suffering from dementia may strike out violently against a nurse. Nurses who work in clinics and hospitals are also in danger of becoming victims. Criminals may come in looking for drugs or violent offenders can be taken to the hospital for treatment.
- Fall injuries – Clinics and hospital rooms can be busy places. Liquids or other slippery items can fall on the floor and not get cleaned up immediately. As a result, nurses are frequently injured in slip-and-fall accidents.
- Needles – Nurses routinely use needles to draw blood or administer medication. Puncturing the skin with a needle or other sharp metal instrument can also be dangerous if working with contaminated material that could spread disease.
These are just some of the different hazards that nurses face every day. Hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers are required by law to follow strict safety standards to avoid injury to staff and patients. Unfortunately, this sometimes doesn’t happen. Nurses get hurt as a result. Of course, even in the safest workplaces, accidents can still happen.
What If You Are a Nurse Who Was Hurt?
If you are a nurse who was hurt on the job, you have many different legal options:
- You can file a PA workers’ comp claim – You can make a claim with the hospital or clinic’s workers’ compensation insurer. (Many large hospitals are self-insured). You can have your medical bills covered. A portion of any wages you lose while recovering can also be replaced. You won’t have to prove your employer was negligent or that dangerous conditions led to your injury. You are eligible for workers’ comp in Pennsylvania regardless of who is at fault.
- You can file a personal injury claim – Under PA law, you cannot sue your employer for an on-the-job injury if you receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you get hurt because of someone besides your employer or a co-worker, you can file a lawsuit for damages that workers’ comp does not cover, such as pain and suffering. For example, if you are a nurse who was injured due to a defective device you were using at the hospital, you could possibly sue the manufacturer of that device.
Our Lawyers Help Nurses Who Are Injured on the Job in Pennsylvania
It can be difficult knowing what to do after an injury at work. You should not make any decisions until you have first talked with a lawyer and understand your rights and options.
At Shor & Levin, our attorneys have helped many nurses in Pennsylvania who were hurt on the job. Call today, schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can put our legal knowledge to work for you.
For More Information
- Safe Patient Handling, Occupational Safety & Health Administration