Nursing Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Claims in Pennsylvania

March 21, 2017

Nurses are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania if they are hurt on the job.

Nurses include people who service patients in hospitals, nursing homes, health care clinics, doctor’s offices, ambulatory surgery centers, and any health care facility where their help is needed. Just as with other workers, nurses are entitled to 2/3 of their lost wages and medical payments for the health care they need to get better. Nursing accidents and nursing injuries are quite common. Many nurses lose large amounts of time away from their job due to nursing accidents.

Common nursing injuries and illnesses

Injuries can occur because the nurse slips and falls on liquids or loose objects. Nurses might be injured when a gurney runs into them or a piece of medical equipment falls on them. Nurses often suffer back, spinal, and neck injuries because of the work they do. Herniated discs, ligament damage, sprains, cuts, and bruises are also common.

Nurses routinely have to lift, move, push, carry, and position patients. Many of these patients are not able to help the nurse because they are sick, which means the physical pressure is all on the nurse. Nurses need to be especially careful with patients. Construction workers may be able to drop a piece of wood or a tool – but if a nurse drops a patient, the patient could suffer injuries or die. Some patients weigh a lot more than the nurse. Better equipment and more nurses can help reduce the risk of patient transport injuries.

Workers, including nurses, are entitled to work injury benefits if they suffer an occupational illness. A major health concern for nurses is exposure to illnesses. Exposure to infections and diseases normally qualifies as an occupational illness. The key requirement that our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers work to prove is that the illness is related to the nurse’s work duties – and not to exposures outside of the workplace. Sometimes we argue that there is no other logical reason for the nurse to have acquired the infection other than her/his work duties.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is a common risk for nurses and other health care professionals. MSRA infections can cause painful abscesses that may be life-threatening. Surgical draining is used to drain the abscesses. C.diff infection, which can cause intense abdominal pain, fever, and long-term diarrhea, is another common risk for nurses.

Unique problems

Nurse injuries are often different than other types of injuries:

  • Back injury cases can be hard to prove because the employer may argue that the injury occurred over a lifetime of moving patients. We work with medical professionals to help prove the injury was caused by just one incident.
  • Nurses typically can’t be retrained to do a less stressful job. Either they work as a nurse or they don’t work at all. There aren’t many full-time desk nurse jobs.
  • Nurses generally can’t be partially healthy and muscle through their work. They are working with live people. Nurses can’t be physically sick and they can’t work if the patient would be at risk because the nurse isn’t strong enough.

Any nurse or health care provider who is suffering or has an illness should feel free to contact the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates. We have extensive experience fighting for injured workers and helping them get all the medical and wage benefits they deserve. For strong representation, please contact or call us at 888.PITT.LAW to discuss your claim. We serve clients throughout Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.