Workers’ Compensation for Education Professionals in Pennsylvania

June 20, 2024
Stern & Cohen
Teacher reading a book to students

The education sector, encompassing roles such as teachers, teachers’ aides, and other educational staff, experiences a significant number of work-related injuries. These injuries often result from the demanding physical and mental requirements of the profession, including classroom management, repetitive tasks, and interactions with students. In many cases, principals prioritize the interests of students and parents over those of their employees when addressing work-related injuries.

Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, all employees in the state may be eligible to recover benefits for work-related injuries that occur within the course and scope of their employment. This includes injuries that happen within the classroom, as well as those occurring outside of school, such as on field trips, if they fall within the scope of employment.

Common Injuries

Education professionals may experience unique workplace injuries compared to other professions, often depending on the subjects they teach. For instance, a science teacher might be exposed to toxic chemicals, while a physical education teacher could sustain an athletic injury during class activities.

Slip and Falls

Education professionals are at risk of various accidents caused by slip and falls. They may slip in hallways due to spilled water, outside during recess on ice or snow, or even within the classroom on furniture, children’s legs, or students’ belongings. These accidents can lead to injuries ranging from twisted ankles to head injuries.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Teachers often spend much of their day sitting at desks, standing at whiteboards, or bending down to assist students. These repetitive motions put significant strain on their backs, shoulders, and necks, which can adversely affect their posture and overall musculoskeletal health.

Dangerous Chemicals

Science teachers frequently conduct laboratory experiments using potentially toxic or dangerous chemicals. Repeated exposure throughout the day can be harmful, and chemical burns may occur as part of their regular job duties.

Athletic Injuries

Physical education classes involve facilitating sports activities like volleyball, football, soccer, and tennis. PE teachers can easily be struck by sports equipment or suffer injuries from the slick gym floors. These incidents are considered work-related injuries and are covered accordingly.

Stress or Emotional Trauma

Physical attacks or threats of such attacks can leave many teachers feeling scared or anxious about going to work. They continue to put themselves at risk for the benefit of their students, leading to potential long-term emotional trauma.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you are injured on the job as an education professional, there are many workers’ compensation benefits that you may be eligible to receive. You are entitled to benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act if you miss at least a week of work due to a work-related injury. These benefits can include:

  1. Wage loss benefits: Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured worker can receive 66% of their salary
  2. Paid medical expenses: These expenses can include medications, physical therapy, hospital treatments, etc.
  3. Temporary or permanent disability payments
  4. Specific loss benefits

It is crucial to notify your employer as soon as possible because, under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, injured workers have 120 days to report their injury to be eligible for benefits.

Next Steps

An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, like the team at Stern & Cohen, can help you obtain the workers’ compensation benefits that educators are entitled to under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. If you have experienced a work-related injury as an education professional, give us a call. The consultation is always free.