Home Healthcare Worker Injury Attorney in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania
The demand for home healthcare workers continues to rise as nearly 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65, the age of retirement, every day. It is estimated that, by 2029, 4.6 million such workers will be needed. However, being a home healthcare worker can be challenging, and many end up getting injured or falling ill on the job. In 2018, for instance, BLS reported 49,040 home healthcare workers suffered illnesses and injuries on the job.
Aides who are employed by home healthcare agencies generally will be covered by workers’ compensation should something happen, but those who work as independent contractors will be on their own should they fall ill or become injured. They may have to seek legal action against their employer – in other words, the person they are providing care for.
If you have been injured or fallen ill while performing your duties as a home healthcare aide and you need help with your workers’ compensation claim in or around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, contact us immediately at H. Rosen Law, P.C. Our legal team has been helping clients navigate the workers’ compensation system for more than two decades, and we have the knowledge, experience, and resources to assist you in obtaining the medical and lost-wage benefits you deserve.
H. Rosen Law, P.C. serves clients not only in the Philadelphia area but also throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg and Scranton.
Common Injuries and Illnesses Affecting Home Healthcare Workers
Leaving aside the issue of COVID-19, which hit the elderly extremely hard and thus posed risks for healthcare workers in general, those aides who work in homes face risks and challenges of an ongoing nature. According to an analysis by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), home aides “have little control over their work environment,” which may present multiple safety and health hazards.
According to the 2018 BLS statistics, the most frequent type of injury for aides involved strains, sprains, and tears. Some of the hazards they face include:
Bloodborne pathogens and other biological hazards
Ergonomic hazards from lifting patients
Exposure to second-hand smoke
Unhygienic and dangerous conditions
Of those injured on the job, almost half require five or fewer days away from work to recover, but a quarter (26 percent) required 30 or more days. Underreporting, however, is a problem, and these statistics may not represent everyone injured while performing their duties. Some may simply opt to live with the pain.
Back Injuries & Stress
One common injury among home healthcare workers is back injuries from repeated physical strain. Healthcare workers are constantly helping lift others (sometimes lifting people bigger than themselves), and the repeated stress on back muscles and the spine can cause both short-term and long-lasting injuries, sometimes making it difficult to lift, walk, or even move.
Violence & Sexual Misconduct
Violence in the workplace is another threat, which may not always result in physical harm but can make dealing with those the aides care for extremely challenging. According to a study done by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), many workers experience some sort of violence:
50.3 percent of those surveyed reported verbal aggression on the job.
26 percent reported workplace aggression.
23.6 percent reported actual violence.
Sexual harassment (25.7 percent) and sexual aggression (12.8 percent) were also reported.
One of the other consequences of injuries suffered by home healthcare workers is potential addiction to painkillers, specifically opioids, which are initially prescribed to deal with ongoing pain. The AIHA study showed that 18.9 percent of home healthcare workers are prescribed opioids as part of their treatment.
Workers’ Compensation for Home Healthcare Workers
Those aides who are employed by organizations that provide home healthcare services will likely be covered by workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that pays for medical expenses and for wages lost due to being unable to work. Being no-fault means the employee cannot sue the employer for damages, nor can the employer sue the employee.
As for lost wages, Pennsylvania pays two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage but caps the dollar amount. In 2023, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry placed the cap at $1,273 a week, though this would affect only certain higher-income individuals. The average home healthcare worker, as noted earlier, makes about $14.15 an hour, so a 40-hour workweek would yield a salary of roughly $566 would be available for lost-work compensation. This means the two-thirds amount would be $377 per week.
How an Attorney Can Help
Not all workers’ compensation claims sail through the system and grant the benefits the injured or ill employee needs from day one. There may be further requests for medical evidence. Appeals may need to be filed.
Also, since home healthcare workers work alone, it is possible that if they make a claim, there may be no witnesses. The person being cared for may not be physically or mentally capable of corroboration, or may simply not have been aware of the incident. Worse, they may simply refuse to cooperate. Whatever the case, it makes it harder for the injured or ill aide to provide supporting evidence for their claim.
An attorney can help you assemble the medical and other evidence necessary to support your claim. Your attorney can also help you deal with additional requests for evidence, including further medical examinations and physician testimony.
Home Healthcare Worker Injury Attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If you are a home healthcare worker who has suffered an injury or fallen ill while on the job in or around Philadelphia – or anywhere in Southeastern Pennsylvania – contact our attorney at H. Rosen Law, P.C. to help you file your claim and deal with any further requests for evidence. With more than two decades of experience, we can help you navigate the system to seek the benefits due you.