Workers who are injured on the job need to act to get the compensation they deserve, including coverage for medical costs and lost earnings while they recover. It’s a mistake for an injured worker to believe they are automatically covered just because their employer provides access to Workers’ Compensation insurance.
In 2017, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation reported 174,216 injury or illness cases. State law requires employers to have workers’ comp coverage, with a few exceptions. Injured workers have three years from the date of the injury to file a claim. However, not reporting an injury to a manager or an employer within 120 days can cause workers to lose certain rights and benefits.
Filing a claim in Pennsylvania
Injured workers and employers must take these steps to get the process started:
- Report the injury to your employer
- Seek medical attention at once
- Your employer must file a First Report of Injury with the state
- File your claim with the Pennsylvania Labor and Industry Department
Conditions preventing benefits for workers
In some cases, employers or insurance carriers will attempt to deny Workers’ Compensation benefits for several reasons:
- The injury is not reported within the specified time limits
- The employer claims it is not responsible
- The worker’s negligence caused the injury
- The injury isn’t as serious as the worker claims
- The worker tried to hurt or kill themselves
- The worker was under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol
- The worker did not observe safety regulations
- The worker did not seek medical treatment
Workers have rights when they are injured
A U.S. worker is injured on the job every seven seconds, according to the National Safety Council. That amounts to 4.6 million injuries every year. Pennsylvania employers reported more than 41,000 nonfatal injuries in 2017 where an employee was forced to miss work.
On-the-job injuries can be the result of accidents or negligent behavior subjecting injured workers to permanent or temporary disability, immense medical expenses and lost wages. If you are injured while working, the advice of an experienced Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you navigate a complicated system and provide you with the best possible outcome, including an appeal if your claim was denied.