What is a work injury?

 

A “work injury” is any injury, a medical condition or  disease that is caused by an individual’s job. The Pennsylvania Worker's  Compensation Act does not list specific injuries that are covered other than to specify that the injury must be work-related.

 

Who is eligible for workers' compensation?

 

If you work for a Pennsylvania company with three or more employees, you are covered by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act for any work-related injury.

 

How do I file a workers' compensation claim?

 

If you’re injured on the job, you need to provide notice to your employer as soon as possible. It is important that you provide this notice in writing. If you have any questions about the Workers’ Compensation application process, we offer a free consultation to help you understand your options.

 

Which doctor can I go to after I am injured?

 

Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured worker only needs to treat by a “company doctor” for the first ninety (90) days from the date of injury only if the employer:

  1. Provides a list of at least six designated health care providers

  2. Notifies an employee in writing of his or her rights and duties, and

  3. Obtains written acknowledgment from the employee that he or she has been informed of such rights.

The employer, however, remains liable for your expenses if it fails to give you written notice that treatment with a panel physician is required. This notice should be given to you at the time you begin work as well as after the work injury.

For cases that involve injuries that last over ninety days, you should consider seeking your own doctor to review your condition and treat you. Our experience has been that some doctors on the employer’s panel list tend not to treat your condition with the attention it deserves, while others give excellent care. As consistent treatment is one of the things that workers’ compensation judges look for in determining your case, it is important that you are comfortable with your doctor’s level of skill and interest.

How Do I Know If I Have A Workers' Comp Claim?

 

Most injuries that happened at work, regardless of who is at fault, will be covered under workers' compensation. Even injuries that happen away from the office or job site can be covered if you are furthering the business of your employer at the time of the injury. Injuries do not have to be associated with a specific incident but can be the result of repetitive motion or cumulative trauma.

 

Is there a statute of limitations for reporting my accident?

 

Yes. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, a worker is required to provide notice to their employer that they have been injured on the job within twenty-one (21) days of the date of injury. Notice given after that time could result in a loss of benefits.

The absolute latest one can notify one’s employer of a workplace injury is one hundred and twenty (120) days after the injury. In general, it’s best to inform your supervisor or boss as soon as you are hurt, even if you think you only suffered a minor injury that will go away without medical care.

 

When is my employer required to start paying my workers' compensation benefits?

 

Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an employer and its insurance company have twenty-one (21) days from when they are notified of a workplace injury to either agree that an injury is a “work injury” and pay benefits or to deny the claim.

Prior to receiving lost wages, there must be a medical report documenting the injuries. Our medical professionals will assess your injuries and determine whether you can return to work or if there are restrictions on your working abilities due to the work-related injury.

Will my employer retaliate against me for reporting my work injury?

 

It is against public policy for an employer to retaliate against you for reporting your own work injury or that of another injured worker. Most employers follow the law and will not terminate your employment for rights asserted pertaining to a work injury. Employers know they can be sued in civil court if they violate public policy by retaliating against you.

 

Do I need to respond to a Petition relating to my work injury filed by my employer?

 

It is essential that your attorney responds promptly to a Petition filed by your employer or its insurance company. If they do not respond on your behalf, eventually the employer will be granted the relief it requested in the Petition. It is essential to contact an attorney as soon as you receive a Petition.

There are many types of Petitions which can be filed against you which could affect your continuing right to wage loss benefits or medical treatment. The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has developed specific forms which are to be used to answer the Petitions of your employer or its insurance company. 

 

Am I eligible for a lump sum settlement of my workers’ compensation claim?

 

Yes, almost any Claimant is eligible for lump sum settlement. The amount of the settlement is dependent on the severity of your injury, how much you earned pre-injury in wages, what your doctor opines about your injury, and other factors.

 

How do I know if I'm getting the right amount of benefits?

 

Under the workers' compensation act, you are entitled to two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wage. This is subject to both a minimum and a maximum. Your average weekly wage is determined by analyzing your earnings during the year prior to your injury.

HOW LONG CAN I GET WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS?

 

You can receive total disability benefits for the rest of your life. You can receive partial disability benefits for 500 weeks. You receive partial disability benefits if you return to work and earn less than you did per week before your injury. In addition, once you have received 104 weeks (two years) of total disability benefits, the insurance company can request that an impairment rating examination take place. A doctor selected by the Bureau of Workers Compensation will assess your "impairment rating". If that rating is less than 50%, then you will be deemed "partially disabled" and you will only be entitled to another 500 weeks of benefits. 

Would It Hurt My Employer If I Try To Get Workers' Comp?

 

Your employer has already paid the insurance company and bought the insurance which covers you. Presumably, your employer wants you to use the insurance which already paid for. The workers' comp system is designed to make sure that injured workers get the treatment they need quickly and get back to work as soon as they can, and this benefits employers. If you delay your treatment by deciding not to file a claim, your employer may have to wait a lot longer to get a valued employee back.

 

Will I Lose My Job If I Make A Claim?

 

Most non-union Pennsylvania workers are "at-will employees," which means they can be fired at any time for any reason or no reason, as long as they are not being discriminated against. An employer can be subject to a wrongful termination lawsuit if it fires you for pursuing a workers' compensation claim. This does not mean that your employer must keep your job open for you forever, and it does not have to provide light duty for you. 

 

To What Benefits Am I Entitled?

 

Workers' compensation in Pennsylvania provides for a wage loss benefit (typically 2/3 of your pre-injury average weekly wage), and medical treatment which is reasonable, necessary, and causally related to the work injury. T