Compensation for Forklift Injury at Work...

by Jim
(Allentown, PA)

I had a work related injury on 8/15/10 while operating a high reach forklift. I herniated two discs and had SLAP tears in my shoulder (Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior). I also had Anterior cervical discectomy and Fusion of the C5-C6 C6-C7 vertebrae. I've been out of work 5 months from my Fusion and I now have a 43mm plate and six screws.

My shoulder pain didn't go away and I just had an MRI showing a Labral Slap Tear. I may need shoulder surgery now. My Doctor tells me I may not be able to do forklift work anymore.

My workman comp rate is $410.00 a week. Can I be fired for being off to long from work if I end up off 2-6 more months? It will be almost a year since my injury and the insurance company hasn't made any offers. What do you think is a fair settlement for the wage I'm being paid from workers compensation?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Compensation for Forklift Injury at Work...":


Presently Pennsylvania is not a “right to work" state. Although your Governor Tom Corbett is doing all he can to have the Legislature pass new legislation (House Bills 50-53), which will make Pennsylvania a right to work state, as far as we know those Bills are still pending.

That means you normally can’t be fired without good cause and will have your union behind you handling your case and any appeals if they become necessary. Additionally, if you can show your employer terminated you or took action against you because you became injured at work or because you filed a workers’ compensation claim, you may be able to file a lawsuit for the wrongful termination.

Also helpful is the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If your Employer has more than 50 employees she is subject to the Act. Although some people think the Act is only for family matters, such as pregnancies, in fact the FMLA applies to private-sector employers who employed 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

The Act covers "serious health problems" during the time of your employment. The Act would seem to cover you because you are the victim of a serious health condition and are unable to perform the “essential functions” of your job.

If your employment is covered by the FMLA, to be eligible for leave without termination of your employment you must also:

1) Have worked for your employer for a total of 12 months; and

2) Have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months.

From the facts you present it is not possible for us to accurately gauge your settlement amount because there are many other factors( which we have listed below) to be considered.

At least we can help you with the general calculations. In Pennsylvania if you are injured at work, two benefits are available to you under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act - a weekly disability check and payment of medical bills.

Your Average Weekly Wage (AWW) figure must include all of the following amounts received during the 12 months before you were hurt including: wages, vacation pay, tips, overtime, holiday pay, profit sharing, bonuses, incentive pay and sickness and accident benefits.

Calculating Workmans Compensation settlement amounts is a complex endeavor. To accurately calculate the amounts it would be in your best interest to visit with a skilled Workmans Compensation Attorney. Most will not charge for an initial consultation.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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