If you’ve been hurt at work, your top priority should be your health. You shouldn’t have to worry about getting the medical care you need or how to pay your bills when you’re unable to work due to your injuries. Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to ease your financial burden, but the system can be difficult to navigate—and insurers often deny legitimate claims as a cost-saving measure.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers
Administered by the state Department of Labor and Industries, the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act cover nearly all part-time, full-time, temporary, and seasonal workers from the first day of their employment. Coverage is provided regardless of fault unless an injury is intentionally self-inflicted or related to drug or alcohol use. Benefits are provided by private insurance companies, the state Workers’ Insurance Fund, or self-insurance from individual employers.
Work-related injuries can occur in any occupation. However, construction, transportation, warehousing, agriculture, and manufacturing are the industries with the highest number of workers’ compensation claims per year. Common injuries resulting in workers’ compensation claims include:
- Sprains and strains
- Cuts or punctures
- Injuries from falling objects
- Slip and falls
- Exposure to toxic chemicals or other harmful substances
Different Types of Benefits Received
- Medical care. Workers’ compensation benefits must pay for all reasonably necessary medical care related to your work injury. This includes surgery, physical therapy, medications, and follow-up visits.
- Wage replacement. Injured workers are entitled to wage replacement benefits of approximately two-thirds of their average weekly wage, up to a state-approved maximum that changes each year. You must be disabled for more than seven calendar days (including weekends) before wage loss payments will be made.
- Specific loss benefits. Workers who have suffered the permanent loss of use of all or a part of the thumb, finger, hand, arm, leg, foot, or toe can receive a lump sum award for their impairment. Loss of sight, hearing, or serious and permanent disfigurement on the head, face, or neck is also eligible for a specific loss award.
- Death benefits. When a work injury results in a fatality, the deceased worker’s surviving dependents are entitled to financial compensation.
Important Deadlines When Seeking Benefits
There are several important deadlines to consider when seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
- Unless your employer has knowledge of the injury or you give notice to your employer within 21 days of the injury, no compensation is due until notice is given.
- If your request for workers’ compensation benefits is denied by your employer or the company’s insurance carrier, you have three years from the date of injury to file a claim petition.
- If you believe your benefits have been terminated unjustly, you may file a petition to reinstate your workers’ compensation benefits within three years after the date of your most recent benefit check.
- If your benefits are suspended, you have 500 weeks to file a petition to have them reinstated.
When to Seek a Workers' Comp Attorney For Assistance
Workers’ compensation benefits are supposed to serve as a safety net for injured Pennsylvania workers, but insurance companies often deny legitimate claims. You do not need an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim, but you should consider consulting a workers' comp attorney if you’re having trouble accessing the benefits you need to provide for yourself and your family.
At Heslin Law Firm, we urge you to contact us if:
- Your employer denies your injury is work-related.
- Your employer says you can return to work, but you believe you are not medically able to do so.
- You are having trouble getting appropriate medical care covered.
- Your wage replacement benefits aren’t being paid promptly.
- Your boss has retaliated against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
We understand that it’s difficult to manage your unexpected expenses when you’re not able to work, but we offer a contingency fee arrangement that allows you access to quality legal representation with no up-front costs. To learn more, contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.
Our office is located in Philadelphia’s Mayfair neighborhood and convenient to residents of Crescentville, Lawndale, Rhawnhurst, Tacony, Holme Circle, Holmesburg, Upper Holmesburg, Morrell Park, Oxford Circle, Castor Gardens, Burholme, Bell's Corner, Normandy, Summerdale, Bustleton, Parkwood, Somerton, Fox Chase, Modena Park, Pennypack Woods, Torresdale, and Winchester Park.