Protecting the Rights of Those Who Protect Us
Security guards have one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. They are often the first ones to respond to crises and are at risk of being injured or killed in the line of duty. Both public and private security guards who are injured on the job may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. are dedicated to helping Pennsylvania security guards collect compensation for their work injuries.
Hazards of the Job
There are approximately 18,000 public sector law enforcement agencies in the U.S., the majority of which are comprised of state and local police forces. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also reports that there were 1.1 million security guards employed in the U.S. as of 2016.
Security guards face many hazards of the job, including:
- Car accidents – First responders are required to respond to the scene of accidents quickly, which can lead to accidents. Car accidents are the most common cause of fatal injuries among security guards.
- Overexertion – Security guards often work long hours, in all types of weather. This, combined with the fast-paced nature of the job puts them at risk of overexertion injuries.
- Slips, trips, and falls – As with many other occupations, slips, trips, and falls are one of the most common hazards security guards face. Inadequate lighting, uneven walking surfaces, and heights can all lead to this type of workplace accident.
- Toxic exposure – When security guards respond to scenes of crimes or accidents, they may be exposed to harmful substances. Chemical spills, toxic fumes, and transferrable diseases all pose a danger.
- Workplace violence – Security guards often confront criminal suspects who may assault or violently attack them. Those who are on duty at night or overnight are at highest risk for physical attack.
Common Security Guard Injuries
Both private and public security guards may sustain serious work-related injuries. However, according to a study published in the journal Injury Epidemiology, private security and law enforcement (SLE) more likely to have first reports of injury resulting in awarded benefits than public SLE.
Some of the most common security guard injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Gunshot/stab wounds
- Occupational illnesses
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Workers’ Compensation for Security Guard Injuries
In Pennsylvania, security guards must inform their employers of work injuries within 120 days to be covered under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). Under the Act, workers may be eligible for medical expenses and wage loss compensation, as well as additional benefits depending on the severity of their injuries.
Families of those who are fatally injured in the line of duty may also be entitled to death benefits and up to $3,000 in funeral expenses. The amount awarded will depend on the number and type of beneficiaries who wish to claim benefits.
Independently Contracted Security Guards
Independent contractors are typically not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania; benefits are only available to full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees. Security guards who are hired as independent contractors are therefore not covered by workers’ compensation in most situations.
To be considered an independent contractor, a worker must be:
- free from the direction or control of their employer as to the performance of their duties; and
- customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business.
The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide injured employees with financial compensation for their workplace injuries regardless of fault. In exchange for immunity from personal injury lawsuits, all Pennsylvania employers with more than one employee must carry workers’ compensation insurance.
However, if a third party other than the employer is responsible for a worker’s injuries, they may be held liable in a third-party claim. In Pennsylvania, such claims may be filed simultaneously with workers’ compensation claims. To prevail, a worker must be able to show that the third party either negligently or intentionally caused their injury. Damages available in a third-party claim may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Proudly Represent Security Guards
If you or a loved one suffered an injury as a security guard, contact an experienced and knowledgeable Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our seasoned attorneys have over 35 years of experience handling workers’ compensation as well as third-party claims and we can help you get the maximum benefits to which you are entitled. We represent security guards throughout the state from our offices in Philadelphia, Bensalem, Lansdowne, and Reading. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
We assist injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.