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Workers' Compensation Law

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Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Laws

Known for its heavy industries and manufacturing, Pennsylvania is certainly a state that knows the meaning of hard work. Workers in Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Allentown and beyond work hard to support themselves and their families. With this hard work comes the risk of being injured, and Pennsylvania is certainly no stranger to workplace accidents.

Workers’ compensation rules regulate what happens if an employee is injured as a result of their work. It makes clear how they can start a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and the forms of compensation they could receive. Workers should be aware of important claim deadlines, and the evidence they will need to provide for a successful claim.

Pennsylvania workers’ compensation insurance

Pennsylvania requires that almost all employers in the state have workers’ compensation insurance to provide compensation when an employee is injured at work. Employers should be responsible for the full cost of this insurance. If they do not have insurance, they will be open to lawsuits by employees and could face charges.

It is important to remember that, in general, employers with workers’ compensation insurance cannot be sued by their employees after an accident.

What does Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation cover?

Workers’ Compensation covers injuries and illnesses that are suffered as a direct consequence of employment. This includes injuries sustained on a company’s property, or on another property where the worker was present as a direct requirement of their work. It could also include a mandatory company social event.

Workers’ compensation won’t cover injuries if they were caused by the intoxication of the employee, or by the employee’s “reckless indifference” to danger.

Workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania

Possible workers’ compensation benefits include:

  • Medical expenses related to treatment and rehabilitation
  • Short and long term disability benefits
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Death benefits

Vocational rehabilitation benefits are paid when an employee’s injury prevents them from fully returning to their previous livelihood. They are aimed at supporting the worker to retrain and gain new skills to continue working.

If a worker’s injury prevents them from earning the same wages, they may be able to return to employment at a lower pay and continue receiving a level of disability benefits to offset some of their lost income.

How do I claim workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, if you sustain an injury at work, you must inform your employer of the injury within 21 days of it happening. The employer should then inform their insurance company, and your claim will be investigated. An insurer might ask that you are examined by their choice of physician, and can request your previous medical records.

A claim might be denied if an insurer disagrees with the extent of the injury, or disputes the accident happened as part of your employment. An employee can appeal the decision within three years of the accident. It is often advisable to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney to be sure you understand your options and the appeal process.

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