School Safety: Workers’ Compensation for Pennsylvania Educators

April 20, 2017

Educators have rights to workers’ compensation when they have been injured at the workplace. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, educators are provided with medical expenses and wage-loss compensation benefits when suffering from an injury or work-related illness. Public and private educators include teachers, aides, principals, and administrators, and they are often at risk of injury due to the nature of their job.

Potential workplace injuries for PA educators

For teachers, missing school can be a nightmare. Time out can mean disruptions to their students’ learning process, which can impact their standardized testing, graduation rates, academic achievement and comprehension, and more. Teachers’ investment in their students alone makes missing work a situation to avoid at all costs.

However, teachers and other school employees are at risk for certain workplace injuries. Our Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys have brought numerous claims for the following injuries and conditions on behalf of PA educators:

  • Chemical exposure can have lasting health effects that severely impact the body. Exposure to dangerous toxins is more common among laboratory science teachers who may use chemicals for educational purposes. Immediate health effects include rashes, cramps, nausea, headaches, blurry vision, and muscle spasms. Long-term health effects include depression, fertility problems, and cancer.
  • Slips, trips, and falls are common causes of work-related injuries. Educators can suffer from sprains, bruises, and fractures from liquids on the floor, poor lighting, loose cords and clutter, and improper treatment of weather hazards, such as black ice.
  • Stress is one of the most common causes of workplace injuries because of all the shoes educators try to fill. Educators must teach their subject, create detailed lesson plans—including accommodations for student requiring them—manage their classroom, assign grades, talk with parents, and more. A hostile work environment, shortage of necessary teaching materials, overcrowded classrooms, discrimination, and a lack of support can dramatically increase stress, leading to psychological effects. Stress can also cause physical problems, such as high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Violence against teachers is more common than we may think. In fact, experts say that violence has reached a level of a “national crisis.” According to the American Psychological Association, eighty percent of teachers who were questioned admitted to being victimized at least one time in the current or previous school year. Assaults, property damage, and threats may be made by students, parents, and/or community members as well.

Educators may also be entitled to further compensation if the injury is permanent, produces scarring, or involves head trauma. Pennsylvania educational workers are at greater risk of injury than the national average, per the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers assist families in tragic cases where injuries prove fatal.

Some educators believe that they are at fault for their injuries and that they are unable to collect workers’ compensation. But, if you are forced to miss at least seven days of work due to a work-related injury, you are entitled to benefits.

To learn more about workers’ compensation, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates. For representation, contact us at 888.PITT.LAW. We serve clients in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.