Worker Wins Workers Comp Appeal After Being Injured Shortly After Quitting

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth court ordered a Pennsylvania health care firm to pay workers compensation benefits to a former employee who was injured just moments after resigning from his position as a driver technician.According to court filings, Paul Marazas arrived to work to receive his daily itinerary after having been on-call the previous weekend. After realizing the number of stops on the list would take him until midnight to complete, Marazas asked his manager to remove stops, as he was still tired from having been on-call.

When the manager refused Marazas’ request, Marazas informed his manager that he was unable to work under such conditions, according to records. He then proceeded to resign by turning in his keys and company phone. The manager then told Maraza she would escort him to remove his personal belongings from his company truck.

Shortly after removing items from the truck, Maraza tripped over a pallet jack located on the company’s premises. The manager involved in the case, witnessed Maraza fall and injure his left side. Records show that when Maraza called the manager a few days after the incident in order to request a physician referral, he was told that the company only provides physicians for active employs. Maraza then filed a civil suit, seeking liability for his fall.

The company argued that Marazas was working at the time of fall, and therefore workers compensation was the only option for his injuries, filings shows. Marazas then withdrew his lawsuit and filed a workers compensation claim for injuries to the left side of his body, including his ankle, knee, and back.

“A Worker can still prevail on getting his Worker’s compensation benefits even after, he or she has been fired,” says Craig L. Cook,Attorney at Law. “It does not cost anything to file a claim for the worker.”
Worker’s compensation benefits were awarded to Marazas for a period of time based largely on the fact that the manager witnessed the fall, however, the company later appealed this decision, arguing that Marazas’ injuries occurred after he had already terminated his employment.What followed was a series of back and forth appeals made by both Marazas and his former employer. Ultimately, a three judge panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court unanimously ruled that Marazas is entitled to workers compensation benefits. In its decision, the court claimed that Marazas was presented with inconsistent arguments from the company when they advised Marazas that workers compensation claim was his best option while he was under his civil suit, but then later claimed Marazas’ resignation prevented him from being considered an employee for workers compensation benefit purposes.

The court also found that employment termination doesn’t bar workers compensation benefits when a worker is still acting under an employer’s direction on the employer’s premises. The ruling states that although Marazas resigned prior to being injured, he was still under the scope of employment because he was acting under the company’s direction and therefore furthering their interests.

Worker’s in a similar situation, or those who have questions regarding their eligibility to receive workers compensation benefits are encouraged to speak with an attorney who has experience dealing with workers compensation claims. Choosing a lawyer who understands the nuances of worker’s compensation laws and practices is imperative.

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