Are you or a loved one suffering an injury or illness from refinery work? You may be worried about what comes next:
- How can I be compensated for injury expenses?
- What if I'm permanently unable to work?
- Are there other forms of compensation?
- Do I need to meet with a lawyer?
We understand the difficulties injured refinery workers face. We're prepared to help you deal with them.
The experienced work injury lawyers at Monheit Law are prepared to help refinery workers earn the compensation they deserve.
Refinery workers are routinely exposed to hazardous conditions on the job, including toxic chemicals and the risk of fires and explosions. When something goes wrong, there is the potential for extremely serious injuries and multiple fatalities.
Despite these risky conditions, the refining industry is actually one of the safest manufacturing sectors in the United States because of extensive safety measures. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, serious work-related injuries and fatalities in this industry have been in decline for the last 20 years.
However, people still make mistakes and refinery accidents still happen. When one of these workers is injured badly enough to miss time from work or even killed in an accident, it's important that their family doesn't have to worry about getting by without a regular paycheck. Workers' Compensation is intended to protect injured refinery workers and their families after a serious injury.
Issues With Workers' Compensation
Ideally, Workers' Comp laws are in place to protect both workers and their employers. In exchange for providing guaranteed coverage for seriously injured workers, your employer is usually protected from a work injury lawsuit. However, many injured workers discover that the claims system is more complex than they expected.
Remember, Workers' Compensation is a form of insurance. Even though it's no-fault, your employer's insurance carrier will still look for reasons to deny or limit your coverage. Insurance representatives and lawyers are paid to boost the insurance company's bottom line by denying claims.
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Reasons A Claim Could Be Denied
The claims process is strict and requires injured workers to provide detailed information related to the injury. Failure to meet the standards of the PA Workers' Compensation Board frequently results in denied claims. Common reasons your claim could be denied include:
- Failure to report the injury
- Reported the injury too late
- Insufficient medical records of the injury
- Inconsistencies between doctor's report and injury report
- Employer disputed the claim
When dealing with such a complex legal process, it's often necessary to have the guidance of an experienced work injury lawyer. The right lawyer will know how the system works and how to anticipate and respond to efforts to deny coverage.
Hazards Faced By Refinery Workers
While the refining industry has greatly improved workplace safety over the years, these environments are still littered with potential hazards which could cause an injury. These plants rely on heavy machinery, heating equipment, flammable substances, and toxic chemicals.
But according to the New York Times, driving is the deadliest job in the oil industry, as in the past decade more than 300 oil and gas workers have been killed in highway crashes. Oil field truckers are exempt from the safety rules which govern other truckers. Employers frequently abuse these exemptions by asking workers to drive after working 20-hour shifts. Fatigued driving is extremely dangerous, and studies have shown that the effects are similar to driving drunk.
Even responsible and well-trained workers are at risk of injury while working at a refinery. Common injuries which often result in Workers' Comp claims include:
- Mesothelioma and respiratory complications due to asbestos exposure
- Crushed by heavy machinery
- Hearing and vision problems
- Chronic pain from repetitive motions
- Traumatic brain injuries
How A Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a refinery accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed. The emotional stress following a serious accident is bad enough as it is, but the worries about surviving financially can be equally taxing. It's important to be aware of your rights and to fight for the compensation your family needs.
At Monheit Law, we have knowledgeable attorneys who specialize in securing fair compensation for injured workers. We know how to help you prepare the necessary documents for a successful claim, how to get a denied claim accepted during the appeals process, and how to identify possible forms of compensation outside of Workers' Comp.
If a negligent third party contributed to your injury, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. Possible third parties include manufacturers of defective products and negligent drivers who cause accidents with oil trucks. If your injuries are severe enough to prevent you from working for over a year or permanently, you may qualify for Social Security Disability.
We also offer free consultations and only require payment after we've successfully won your claim. That way, you don't need to worry about money until you've already received the compensation you need for your injury expenses.