If you are injured at work in Pennsylvania, then you need to know what the workers’ compensation laws are. There is nothing more important than having the compensation you need to handle medical expenses and lost income as a result of a work injury.
Pennsylvania workers’ compensation insurance allows employees to recover compensation for almost all employment-related injuries or illnesses regardless of who is at fault for the injury. In most cases, workers’ compensation laws prevent workers from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer for damages from the injury.
Workers’ compensation is mandatory for most employers under Pennsylvania law. Employers who do not have workers’ compensation for their employees open themselves up to personal injury lawsuits by injured employees as well as criminal prosecution by Pennsylvania regulatory agencies.
Pennsylvania employers obtain workers’ compensation insurance through a licensed insurance carrier or through the State Workers’ Insurance Fund.
Are Some Employers Exempted from Having to Carry Workers’ Compensation?
Under Pennsylvania law, there are some exemptions to workers’ comp requirements if you are a:
- Railroad worker
- Federal employee
- Domestic servant
- Agricultural worker (if working fewer than 30 days or less than $1,200 a calendar year)
- Employers who request and are granted exemptions due to religious beliefs or their executive status
Employers can seek approval to self-insure. There are certain requirements established under Pennsylvania law and the Department of Labor & Industry regarding self-insurance.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Pennsylvania workers have 21 days to give notice of their workplace injury to their employer. If you wait more than 120 days to report your injury, your claim will be barred. When the injury is reported, the employer and their insurer will investigate the injury and has 21 days to either deny the claim or begin making payments equal to two-thirds your weekly wages.
The types of benefits available under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation include:
- Healthcare expenses: doctor visits, pharmaceuticals, surgery, lab tests, etc.
- Partial disability payments: to cover workers unable to work at full capacity (up to 500 weeks)
- Total disability payments: to cover workers unable to return to the job (no time limit)
- Permanent injury payments: to cover the loss of a body part (time limits vary)
- Death benefits: paid to the spouse or minor dependents if an employee dies from a workplace injury or illness within 300 weeks after the injury.
What Are Some of the Common Workplace Injuries?
Workplace injuries happen all the time. During the latest reporting year in the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that there were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal injuries or illnesses in the workplace.
Some of the most common workplace injuries revolve around traumatic incidents and result in the following:
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Broken or Dislocated Bones
- Amputations or crush injuries
- Severe lacerations
However, many workplace injuries and illnesses are the result of years of cumulative trauma or exposure and may not be immediately apparent. These include:
- Hearing and Vision Loss
- Respiratory Problems or other chronic illnesses
- Repetitive stress injuries
Regardless of how you are injured in the workplace, it is important that you report the injury and seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Do not risk the possibility of being denied workers’ compensation coverage because you missed a reporting deadline. Even if you think your injury is minor, it is still in your best interest to report it immediately.
If you are having difficulty with your employer, speak to a Workers compensation attorney in Pennsylvania, Ciccarelli Law Offices offers free consultations with no obligations.