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The Pennsylvania Heart & Lung Act

The Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act applies to law enforcement officers. The law states that law enforcement officers who are injured at work and temporarily incapacitated from performing job duties, shall be paid their full salary until their injury has ceased. The purpose of the Heart and Lung Act is to compensate law enforcement employees with their full salary who have been injured on the job and who are expected to recover and return to work. If the law enforcement worker suffers a permanent injury, the employee should file for injury benefits under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act.

Under the Heart and Lung Act, the performance of duty requirement is stricter than the Workers’ Compensation Act standard of “arising in the course of employment.” As a result of the two different standards, an injured law enforcement officer may be covered under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation laws, but not necessarily the Heart and Lung Act. In addition, the Heart and Lung Act covers temporary injuries. Workers’ Compensation provides for both temporary and permanent disability benefits for all employees.

I invite you to contact my law office for a free consultation. Read on to learn about Heart and Lung eligibility requirements and how our workers' compensation lawyers can help you.

Heart & Lung Act Eligibility

All Pennsylvania law enforcement employees mentioned below are covered under the Heart and Lung Act if they meet the following requirements:

  1. The employee’s injury occurred while performing an official duty;
  2. The employee suffered a temporary injury;
  3. The injury prevents the employee from performing any essential functions of his/her job; and
  4. The employer takes steps to temporarily restructure the employee’s job duties to accommodate his/her limitations.

Contact our team of Pennsylvania workers' compensation lawyers to discuss whether you are eligible for benefits under the Heart and Lung Act.

Who is Covered by the Pennsylvania Heart & Lung Act?

The Heart and Lung Act covers municipal employees who are paid for their services in law enforcement or firefighting. This includes the following types of job classifications:

  • State, County, Township & City Police Officers & Firemen
  • Drug Enforcement Agents
  • Sheriffs & Deputy Sheriffs
  • Liquor Control Board Enforcement Officers & Investigators
  • Correctional Employees with Principal Duties of Care, Custody and Control of Inmates
  • Psychiatric Security Aides Employed by the Department of Public Welfare
  • Psychiatric Security Aides Employed by the Department of Corrections
  • Members of Delaware River Port Authority Police
  • Special Agents of the Office of Attorney General

Any of the law enforcement employees referenced above who suffer an official work injury while must file an injury report. Your employer may ask you to provide a statement detailing your position as to how the injury occurred, why you believe you suffered a temporary injury, and how it will keep you from performing the essential duties of your job. Your employer will investigate the matter and develop a report. If you are determined to be eligible for Heart and Lung benefits, you will receive compensation the first work day following the start of the disability. If the employer’s report reflects that the employee is not entitled to benefits, the employee must be provided with notice of the employee’s right to appeal. Upon filing an appeal, the employee must be provided a due process proceeding.

An employee should hire an attorney experienced with providing legal representation to Heart and Lung Act employees. Retaining an experienced attorney will ensure that you have adequate representation during the administrative hearing. If the outcome of the hearing is not favorable, the decision can be appealed as well. This should be done by a competent workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney may advise you to continue with the appeal, or to seek benefits under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act. Contact our workers' compensation law office to discuss your claim for benefits in confidence. We can provide you with legal advice and guidance on how to best proceed.

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