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Pennsylvania resident wins workers' compensation appeal

A Westmoreland resident recently won an appeal in Commonwealth Court to receive workers' compensation benefits. The appellant worked as a caregiver for her 33-year-old son for nine months in her home. Her son had myriad significant health issues that qualified him to receive care in a private residence under a state contract. In April 2009, he entered his mother's bedroom and stabbed her in the throat and chest. The attack caused her to sustain grave physical injury and post-traumatic stress issues. Her son was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault and is serving a sentence of 12 to 25 years in state prison.

Since the mother was paid to care for him in her home, she applied for and won workers' compensation benefits based on the fact that this was a workplace injury. Her son disagreed with the decision and challenged it in an appeal and won. His mother argued that while she was injured in her home, she was paid to care for her son at her residence and hence she was injured at work. The Commonwealth Court agreed and her benefits were reinstated.

This case illustrates the concept of work-related injury. A worker can file for workers' compensation if he or she is injured at work. If eligible, the worker is entitled to be paid lost wages and medical compensation benefits. However, a worker may lose the right to sue his or her employer for an injury directly related to the employer's negligence. Sometimes, the decision to confer workers' compensation benefits is challenged in the courts and must be resolved.

A workplace injury can be traumatic and cause significant financial difficulty. An attorney can help injured workers understand their rights and assist in both the filing and appeal processes.

Source: Pennlive.com, "Woman stabbed by own son must get workers comp, Pa. court says", Matt Miller , January 08, 2014

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