The Pennsylvania Supreme Court changed the definition of who can be considered a “statutory” employer responsible for workers suffering Workers’ Compensation Accidents or Injuries in PA.
Under Section 302 (a) of the Workers’ Compensation Act certain “contractors” are responsible for compensation to an injured worker employed by one of their “subcontractors.” Those contractors, under a certain set of circumstances, can fall into the shoes of the subcontractor as the employer and thus may be termed “statutory employer.” An employer created by statute even though not actually the employer.
Generally, the law in Pennsylvania has been that to be a statutory employer an injured worker must prove the following five elements:
1. the entity is under contract with an owner or one in the position of an owner;
2. the entity occupies or is in control of the premises where the injury occurred;
3.the entity entered into a subcontract;
4. the entity entrusted a part of its regular business to the subcontractor; and
5. the injured party is an employee of such subcontractor.
In the recent PA Supreme court case Six L’s Packing Company who grows, harvests, processes, and distributes tomatoes throughout North America contracted with F. Garcia and Sons to transport tomatoes from a warehouse in PA to a plant in Maryland. The injured worker was employed by Garcia as a truck driver and suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania transporting tomatoes belonging to Six L’s.
The PA Supreme Court recognized differences in the concept of statutory employment in the Workers’ Compensation Act and looked at the legislatures intent on creating the law. The court found any person or business contracting out work that is a “regular or recurrent part of their business,” must assure that the employees of those others are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, on pain of assuming secondary liability for benefits payment upon a default.
Call Dugan & Associates today if you are a contractor or subcontractor and you have been injured on the job at 888-99-DUGAN.