Workers Compensation Jurisdiction

Date: June 23, 2011
Posted In: DLP Law

 

            Tony was hired to work at the natural gas extraction sites In Pennsylvania at his home in Texas. When Tony signed the employment agreement, he stated that he would submit any Workers\’ Compensation case to the state of Texas since his employer was principally based in Texas. Tony did not realize that the reason for this clause in his contract was because Texas Workers\’ Compensation benefits for injured workers are far less comprehensive than those for injured workers in Pennsylvania.

            Tony was involved in heavy physical work on the jobsite and while lifting he sustained several herniated discs in his back. Tony was told that he had to pursue his compensation claim in the state of Texas and under the laws of that state.

ISSUE:          Is Tony\’s employer correct?

ANSWER:     No. In the state of Pennsylvania, regardless of where the contract was entered into, an employer cannot compel an injured worker to only pursue compensation benefits as this employer attempted to do in one state. Pennsylvania has jurisdiction over any injuries occurring within the state of Pennsylvania regardless of where Tony\’s employer is based. Tony would be wise to utilize the laws of Pennsylvania as opposed to the laws of Texas. For example in Texas if Tony is advised by any doctor including the doctor hired by Tony\’s employer that he Tony has recovered, Tony\’s medical and loss wage benefits would stop automatically. In Pennsylvania Tony would be allowed a hearing and would be allowed to present his own testimony including his treating physicians.

 

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.