If you are an employee in the State of Pennsylvania, you are protected by a system known as the workers’ compensation program. This program requires most employers to carry insurance to pay for lost wages, medical care and death benefits if a worker is injured or killed on the job. You do not have to prove negligence to qualify for this coverage.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Comp Coverage?
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ compensation Act, all employers (with a few exceptions) must carry workers’ compensation insurance to pay for personal injury to or death of an employee in the course of his or her employment, without regard to negligence. Most employees are automatically eligible for this coverage. However, workers who are independent contractors and not employees are not covered.
What Types of Injuries and Illnesses Are Compensable By Workers’ Comp?
Almost all injuries, illnesses and medical conditions that occur as a result of a victim’s employment are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This includes traumatic accident injuries, repetitive motion injuries, pre-existing conditions that were aggravated by work activities, illnesses, diseases and psychological conditions, in some cases. As long as the injury occurred within the “course and scope of employment” and is not the result of horseplay or self-harm, it is compensable.
What Benefits Are Available For Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Claims?
A workers’ compensation claim in Pennsylvania can result in payment being awarded for many of a victim’s losses and damages related to the accident, injury or illness. These benefits may include:
- Reasonable and necessary medical expenses
- Wage loss benefits
- Disability benefits
- Specific loss or disfigurement benefits
- Death benefits for surviving dependents
Benefits are calculated based on factors such as the worker’s wages prior to the accident, the severity of the injury or medical condition, and the amount of time the worker will be unable to work. The length of time the benefits last will also depend on the degree of injury.
What Steps Are Necessary to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
After an accident, injury or illness at work, the first thing that you should do is seek medical care. If it is an emergency, you can go to the nearest hospital or emergency room without needing to find a provider that is approved by your employer. Otherwise, you will need to visit one on the list of approved providers in the first 90 days. After these 90 days, you can see a doctor of your choice.
You have a time limit of 120 days from the date of your injury to notify your employer or supervisor about your accident. If your employer fills out an accident report, request a copy. Your employer is then responsible for filling out the required workers’ compensation forms and submitting them to his or her insurance provider to initiate your claim.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Yes. It is important to act quickly if you wish to file a workers’ compensation claim, as a law known as the statute of limitations gives you a limited amount of time in which to pursue benefits. In Pennsylvania, an injured worker has no more than three years from the date of the injury or the discovery of an occupational injury or illness to file a claim. If you miss your deadline, you may be barred from making a financial recovery.
When Should You Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney?
If you run into any issues obtaining fair workers’ compensation coverage for a job-related injury or illness, reach out to a personal injury attorney in Pittsburgh for legal help. If your claim gets denied by your employer or the insurance company, for example, or you are offered less than you deserve, you may need to contact an attorney near you.
An experienced Pittsburgh workers’ compensation lawyer will understand Pennsylvania’s related laws, rules and requirements. Your lawyer can file a claim and navigate the claims process for you while you focus on healing. You can trust an attorney to fight for the maximum financial benefits to which you are entitled by law on your behalf.