Imagine working in a busy restaurant. You are constantly going back and forth between the kitchen, the dishwashing area and the tables. You are in danger of burning yourself on a hot plate, cutting a finger on a sharp knife or tripping over an improperly laid floor mat. One evening, when you walk back to the dishwasher to drop off a stack of plates, you slip on a wet surface and fall, breaking your wrist in the process.
You are attending university, working two jobs to make payments on student loans, and now you are facing medical bills you cannot afford. Fortunately, if you have suffered a work-related injury in Pennsylvania, you may have the right to receive workers' compensation benefits. A local Williamsport attorney can help you understand the benefits and requirements for filing a workers' compensation claim. Read further for an overview of Pennsylvania's workers' compensation laws.
Workers' compensation insurance
In general, employers have to carry workers' compensation insurance so that you can receive compensation for any work-related injuries or illnesses you suffer. In turn, you give up the right to sue your employer for an injury or illness.
Typically, anyone that performs a service for another in exchange for money or something else of value is an employee. Workers' compensation laws provide coverage for injuries you suffer both on and off premises as long as you are acting on behalf of your employer. This means that if your manager asked you to drive to the bank and make the daily deposit and you were involved in a car accident, you might be entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
Immediately after the injury
After sustaining an injury, seek medical attention as soon as possible. You have 21 days from the date of the injury to report the incident to your boss. This will allow you to receive benefits as soon as possible. If you wait more than 120 days to report the injury, the workers' compensation insurance provider might deny your claim.
After you give notification
After you have given notice, your employer and the insurer will investigate the incident and either deny the claim or begin making payments. You can receive up to two-thirds of your weekly wage. Your employer might require that you see a designated health care provider for 90 days following the accident. Furthermore, your employer may request that the health care provider examine you at any time after your injury.
Denial of coverage
If your claim is denied, you have three years to file a petition to bring your case before a workers' compensation judge. The court will schedule a mandatory hearing in order to examine evidence and hear testimony. The court might also schedule a mediation conference.
Filing a workers' compensation claim can be a complex process. If you have been injured on the job and need to file a claim or appeal a denial, it is important to understand the process.