If you have been injured on the job in Pennsylvania, you need to know about the process of filing for workers’ compensation benefits. You are entitled as a matter of law to be compensated for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for a work-related injury or illness and to receive partial wage replacement or disability benefits if your work injury or illness prevents you from returning to your job.
In Pennsylvania, employers are obligated to pay workers’ compensation benefits to employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness; employers typically obtain insurance that pays out these benefits. Eligible workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault for a workplace injury or illness.
Although the workers’ compensation system is intended to benefit workers, an injured worker can improve his or her chances of securing maximum benefits by understanding how the system works. In particular, having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to represent your interests can be especially beneficial.
Seeking Medical Attention
After you have suffered a workplace injury or come down with an illness that you believe was caused by exposure at work, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Waiting to seek treatment may lead your employer to argue that your injury or illness is not as serious as you may claim, or that your injury or illness is not work-related.
Within the first 90 days of your injury, your employer may require you to see a physician approved by your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer in order for your treatment to be paid for under workers’ compensation — the exception to this is if you require emergency treatment, which you may seek from any provider. After 90 days, you are permitted to choose your preferred medical provider to receive covered treatment.
Notifying Your Employer
Similarly, you should notify your employer that you have suffered a work-related injury or illness as soon as possible after your injury occurs or symptoms of illness set in. In order to be eligible for the maximum benefits offered by law, you must provide your employer with notice within 21 days of suffering a work injury to receive benefits dated back to the day of your injury. You must file your workers’ compensation claim within 120 days of suffering your work injury to be entitled to any benefits; filing a claim after this date can entitle your employer to deny your claim. Even though you have 120 days, delaying a report of your claim may lead your employer to believe that you are not as injured as you claim or that your injury is not work-related.
Once you file a workers’ compensation claim, your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer has 21 days from the date of receiving your claim to either accept or deny the claim.
Filing a Claim with the State
Typically, your employer will start the claim process of the state after receiving your notice of injury. Your employer will submit a First Report of Injury with the state workers’ compensation commission. However, if your employer does not submit this report, or your employer or its insurer denies your claim for benefits, you may choose to file a claim petition with the state to initiate the claims process and receive a hearing before a workers’ compensation judge. You have three years from the date of your injury to file a claim to initiate benefits.
Contact a Erie Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your Pennsylvania Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. represent clients in Millcreek, Harborcreek, Fairview, Meadville, and all across Pennsylvania. Call (814) 833-7100 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 2525 W. 26th St., Erie, PA 16506, and we also have offices in Meadville and North East.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.