Whether you work in an office or on a building site, anyone can get injured on the job. To prepare for any accidents that can occur at work, Pennsylvania law ensures that workers’ compensation benefits are available to all employees in the state. This type of non-fault insurance means that your employer will cover any medical treatment you require for your injuries and compensate for any lost wages you have suffered as a result of the accident.
Read on to find out more about what you should do if you have been injured at work in Pennsylvania and to see what workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to claim for your accident.
Reporting Your Injury To Your Employer
If you have had an accident at work, it is recommended that you notify your employer about your injury immediately in order to receive medical treatment and start the workers’ compensation claim process. Regulation in the state of Pennsylvania allows you a maximum of 120 days to alert your supervisor or HR department to the injuries you have sustained at work. This can be done orally or in writing. Telling your employer immediately about your injury will ensure you do not lose your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits.
Once you have notified your supervisor or HR department, it is likely that your employer will ask you to complete a written accident report as part of the process. The employer will then alert its workers’ compensation insurance carrier about the situation by a First Report of Occupational Injury form, which is also filed with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation on your behalf. In Pennsylvania, there is a three year time limit to file your compensation claim, starting from the date of the accident.
Pennsylvania law requires your employer’s insurance carrier to tell you whether your workers’ compensation benefits claim has been successful or denied within 21 days. This will detail whether you are entitled to medical treatment coverage and compensation of lost wages.
Access to Medical Treatment
If you require medical attention for your work-related injury, your employer will provide you with a selection of company-approved doctors and physicians for treatment. To receive medical expenses compensation, you must see one of the listed doctors within the first 90 days of treatment. After this time, you can choose your own doctor for continued rehabilitation if you wish to. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company must be made aware of this situation within five days to avoid jeopardizing your claim.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If your employer’s insurance company approves your workers’ compensation claim, there are several benefits you may be entitled to that will help your recovery and return back to work.
Primarily, workers are granted medical care to heal their work-related injury. Your employer’s insurance company covers the payment of any medical treatment that you need, which means you do not have to pay a penny toward your injury.
You may also be entitled to expenses to cover your lost wages, if you have been unable to work after the accident due to total or partial disablement. Payment will be made if you have been disabled for more than seven days.
Specific Loss Benefits are available for permanent disfigurement or loss of a limb that has occurred due to an accident at work.
If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied
In some cases, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier can decide that they do not think your injury was work-related and they can deny your compensation claim. This will be communicated to you via a Notice of Compensation Denial.
If you believe you were wrongfully denied worker’s compensation benefits, you can file a Pennsylvania worker’s compensation claim petition to appeal this decision. This request must be filed within three years of the date of the accident when the injury occurred.
It is also important to remember that any discrimination by your employer against you in the claim process is illegal in Pennsylvania. Your contract cannot be terminated based on your workers’ compensation claim and it is recommended that you contact an experienced attorney if you find yourself in this situation.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance is Mandatory
In the state of Pennsylvania, the law requires all employers to have workers’ compensation insurance in place for all workers. Whether you are a full-time or part-time employee or have been working for one day or three years, your employer should always have an insurance carrier or be self-insured for workers’ compensation.
If you find out your employer does not have insurance, you may be eligible for treatment coverage and lost wages from the Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund. To find out more, you can call the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation toll free number at 800-482-2383 or locally at 717-722-4447 to find out more.
If you have been injured at work and want to find out more about the workers’ compensation claim process in Pennsylvania, follow the link below for more information: