In Borough of Heidelberg v. W.C.A.B. (Selva), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld an injured EMT’s right to collect workers’ compensation benefits. The case is significant because the EMT was injured while working as a volunteer. The Court noted that it is the intention of the Workers’ Compensation Act that members of a volunteer fire department or fire company are deemed employees and that when they are injured in the line of duty, they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if they are paid no wages for compensation by the municipality for their services.
The next question then is what amount of workers’ compensation benefits are they entitled to as they have no historical wages to base their benefits upon. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Borough of Heidelberg ruled that injured volunteer fire and ambulance company workers are entitled to wage loss benefits based on the statewide average weekly wage for purposes of computing their compensation. The Court further held that such injured volunteers are entitled to receive workers compensation benefits regardless of whether the injured volunteer has any other employment at the time he/she is injured.
If you or someone you know suffers a work-related injury which causes a disability, including an injury suffered while volunteering for a fire company, call the DLP team of Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation regarding your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
John P. Finnerty, Esquire