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Injured Pennsylvania worker's lawsuit moves through courts

A Pennsylvania man's lawsuit for compensation for workplace injuries is headed back to state court after a recent ruling by a federal judge. The injured man's lawyers had sought the return of his lawsuit to the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court because complete diversity was not present. While granting the victim's motion, the judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied the defendants' request to dismiss claims against them.

The man sustained serious injuries to his spinal column when a piece of heavy equipment fell on him as he was welding for a U-Haul location. The situation is complicated because the man was not a regular U-Haul employee, but rather was working at the U-Haul site as a contractor employed by a temporary staffing agency. This involves the concept of 'borrowed servant,' so arguments are centered around who the man's real employer was, the contracting agency or the company he was doing the work for.

The man's lawyers originally filed suit in the Common Pleas Court. The defendants, however, were successful in getting the lawsuit bumped up to federal court because not all defendants are located in Pennsylvania. The case is now back in the initial court.

Not all workplace injury claims are this complicated. Many workers' compensation claims can be settled without lawsuits, but when they can't, a workers' compensation attorney may be able to stand up for the worker's rights and ensure they get the benefits they're entitled to. These benefits include medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs and disability if the worker cannot return to work. Problems can occur at any point in the claim process, which is why many injured workers feel the need to hire legal representation.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Workers' injury case against U-Haul others sent back to Phila. Common Pleas Court", Jon Campisi, July 17, 2013

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