Workers’ Compensation FAQ
The Western Pennsylvania attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. advise injured workers about their rights and answer questions about the state’s workers’ compensation program. Frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation in PA include:
Q: How does PA workers’ compensation define a work injury?
A: A “work injury” is any injury, medical condition, or disease that is caused by a person’s job. The law does not name specific injuries, and the only requirement is that the condition, illness, or injury be related to the employee’s job. It can also include pre-existing conditions that are aggravated by the employee’s job.
Q: Must I notify my employer if I am injured?
A: Yes. You must report an injury even if it seems minor and you do not intend to seek medical treatment. Even an injury that seems minor at the time of an accident can become worse later on, and you and your employer will need that paper trail should you seek compensation later. Additionally, you only have 120 days to notify your employer. After that reporting period has ended, your PA workers’ compensation claim may be denied because you failed to provide notification.
Q: My employer’s workers’ comp insurance company has offered me a settlement. Do I have to take it?
A: No. You should not sign any documents or accept any settlement offer until a workers’ compensation lawyer has reviewed it.
Q: Is there a time limit for filing a PA workers’ compensation claim?
A: After a work injury in PA, you have limited time to file a workers’ compensation claim. Under Pennsylvania law, you must file a workers’ comp claim within three years of the date you were injured. However, if you have certain occupational illnesses, such as mesothelioma, black lung disease, and other conditions that take years to develop, you have up to 300 weeks from the date you last worked in the job where you developed the illness.
Q: Does Pennsylvania workers’ compensation cover me?
A: Almost all Pennsylvania businesses are required to carry workers’ comp insurance for full-time, part-time, and casual employees.
Q: Am I covered under workers’ compensation?
A: Almost every Pennsylvania employee is covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act. This includes all full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers. Exceptions include workers in certain industries, such as railroad workers and maritime workers, who may be covered by other insurance. Independent contractors and volunteers are usually not covered, but there may be other ways to obtain compensation if you are injured. A workers’ compensation lawyer can advise you about your options.
Q: Can I use my own doctor for a work injury or illness?
A: For the first 90 days after you seek medical treatment, you must choose from your employer’s list of doctors. However, if your employer does not give you a list, you may be able to choose any physician you wish. Even if you choose a doctor from the employer’s list, you can potentially select another from the list if the first choice does not work for you. After the 90 days are up, you can choose any doctor you wish, with or without an employer list of recommended providers.
Q: How much workers’ compensation will I receive?
A: It depends. How much workers’ compensation you receive depends on the nature and extent of your disability, whether you can work at all, and whether you are eligible for special payments for conditions such as amputation or disfigurement. You may be eligible to receive up to two-thirds of your former salary if you are very disabled, as well as the difference between your part-time or light-duty wage and your previous wage if you are partly disabled. There is a cap on the total amount of workers’ compensation you can receive. The cap usually changes annually in Pennsylvania. High-salary workers may not receive two-thirds of their old income if that number is higher than the limit.
Q: When will I start receiving workers’ comp payments?
A: If your workers’ comp claim is approved, you should begin receiving benefits approximately 21 days after you reported your injury to your employer. Additionally, if your claim is denied, the employer must notify you of this determination within 21 days.
Q: What if my workers’ compensation claim is denied?
A: Many initial workers’ comp claims in Pennsylvania are denied. You have three years from the date of the injury to file an appeal with the PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Q. Who pays my doctor and hospital bills if I suffer injury on the job and my claim is approved?
A: Your employer’ workers compensation insurance company pays your medical bills. Workers do not have to make a co-pay or any other payment, and the bills go directly to the insurance company, which pays the provider based on a schedule of fees.
Q. For how long will I receive workers’ comp benefits?
A: There are benefit periods that vary according to a worker’s situation. For example, partial disability benefits end after 500 weeks. Payments for specific losses, such as the loss of an arm or finger, last only for a specific time, depending on the nature of the injury. You can also lose your workers’ comp benefits if you fail to comply with employer requests, such as a request that your ability to work be reviewed by a physician, or that you attend a review hearing. If you are concerned that you may lose your workers’ comp benefits, it is important to speak with an experienced PA workers’ compensation attorney.
Contact an Experienced Erie Attorney If You Have Questions About PA Workers’ Comp
For more information about Pennsylvania workers’ compensation, call the Erie injury lawyers at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. Call or use our website’s contact form. Workers’ comp in PA can be complicated, so you need a knowledgeable attorney on your side.