"How Do I Get Workers' Compensation in Pennsylvania?"
- Am I eligible?
- How do I apply?
- Is there a deadline?
- What is covered?
- When do I get paid?
- How much can I receive?
- Can I appeal my case?
Contact us. Our Experienced Attorneys Can Answer All Your Questions
If you've been hurt at work in Pennsylvania, you should be eligible for workers' compensation benefits in most cases. But how do you actually receive such benefits? What's the process? How does it work?
We hear these questions all the time O'Malley & Langan Law Offices. That's because we work with people hurt on the job throughout Pennsylvania. We know how the system works and what injury victims need to do to make sure they receive the compensation they deserve.
Just because you were hurt at work doesn't automatically mean you will receive workers' compensation benefits. That's why it's important to understand how the system works and to talk with us as soon as possible about your potential case. Contact us 24 hours a day and schedule an appointment today.
How Pennsylvania's Workers' Compensation System Works
First enacted in 1915, the Workers' Compensation Act in Pennsylvania provides financial compensation for injured workers. The money covers an injured worker's medical expenses and, if he or she misses work due to the injury, lost wages.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry oversees the state's workers' compensation system. Most workers in the state are eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits, including part-time and seasonal workers.
You can also receive workers' compensation benefits in certain circumstances even if you can return to work after your injury. This is especially true if your injury affects your ability to perform your job and you can only work in a limited capacity.
Steps You Need To Take
We realize you need time to recover after your accident. But it's also important to get the workers' compensation claims process started as soon as possible. These are the steps you need to take to make sure you receive the benefits you rightfully deserve.
- Hire An Attorney
- Report Your Workplace Injury
- Receive Medical Care
- File Your Claim
- Appear In Court
- Appeal Your Decision
- Receive Your Benefits
Deadlines For Applying For Benefits
Please note. The state has certain deadlines for applying for workers' compensation benefits or having your benefits reinstated. These deadlines include:
- 21 days - You have 21 days from the date of your injury to notify your employer that you were hurt at work. If you do not notify your employer within 21 days, you will likely not receive retroactive workers' compensation benefits up to the date you notified your employer.
- 120 days - When you're hurt at work, you have 120 days from the date of your injury to submit a workers' compensation claim in Pennsylvania. If you wait longer than 120 days, you will likely not be able to file for workers' compensation benefits at all.
- 300 weeks - If you're dealing with an occupational disease (lung cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.) caused by your work, you have up to 300 weeks to file a claim, starting from the date when you were last employed in the job that exposed you to a hazard.
- 500 weeks - If your workers' compensation benefits are suspended, you have up to 500 weeks to apply to have your benefits reinstated.
- 3 years - If your workers' compensation benefits are terminated, you have up to 3 years to apply to have your benefits reinstated.
Make sure you don't miss out on the benefits you rightfully deserve. Make sure you file your claim or your appeal in a timely manner. And make sure you talk to us as soon as possible. We can help you every step of the way.
Legally, you can apply for workers' compensation benefits on your own. But having an experienced lawyer working with you every step of the way who thoroughly understands the system is very beneficial.
The application process can be very complicated. And if you make even the slightest mistake or leave out certain, important details, your claim could be denied, even if you have a legitimate claim and a severe workplace injury.
In addition, when you hire us, we can handle all the paperwork so you can focus on what really matters - your recovery. And we promise we will keep you informed and consult with you on every decision, every step of the way.
You need to report your workplace injury to your employer within 120 days of your injury, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. Otherwise, you will not be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. Your employer will then report your injury to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
You can notify your employer of your injury verbally or in writing. We advise notifying your employer in writing. That way, you have a written record of exactly what happened to you and there's no disputing later what you said. We can help you write this notification letter to your employer.
Your letter informing your employer about your workplace injury should include the following information:
- Exact time and date of your injury.
- Location at work of your injury.
- Description of your injury. Include which body parts were hurt.
- Names of witnesses who saw your injury if applicable.
- Description of defective equipment or other circumstances which caused your injury if applicable.
The first and most important thing is to make sure you receive the medical care you need after your workplace injury. If your injury feels severe, have a co-worker call for help immediately and ask them to send an ambulance to transport you to the nearest hospital emergency room.
If your injury occurred several hours, days or weeks ago, it's just as important to have a medical professional evaluate you as soon as possible. Don't try to diagnose yourself. You could have a serious, life-threatening injury.
Your employer will likely initially dictate which doctor treats your workplace injury. You will also likely undergo an Impairment Rating Examination (IRE) to determine the severity of your injury. Afterwards, you can normally choose which doctor treats your workplace injury 90 days after your workplace accident.
It's important to have a doctor examine you as soon as possible so you have a formal, written record of exactly what's wrong with you. Without formal documentation of your injury, you will likely have a very hard time obtaining workers' compensation benefits.
Your employer is responsible for filing your workers' compensation claim in Pennsylvania with the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation within 7 days of your workplace injury. After you notify your employer of your injury, your employer is also "required to immediately report all injuries to its insurer," according to Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
In the event of a death of a loved one due to a workplace injury in Pennsylvania, your loved one's employer has 48 hours to report the fatal workplace injury to the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
If your employer fails to meet such strict deadlines, we can help you hold them accountable for their actions and deal directly with all applicable state agencies. Making sure your family receives the benefits you rightfully deserve is our first priority.
If your employer or its insurance provider disputes your workers' compensation claim, they will need to file a petition with the state Workers' Compensation Office of Adjudication. You will then likely need to appear in court before a Workers' Compensation Judge in Pennsylvania. Courts which handle such cases are located throughout the state, including locations in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazelton.
Our attorneys can help you prepare for your court appearance. We can compile all the necessary information you will need to present a case in court in defense of your injury. We know what evidence matters and how to compile such information into a strong, legal case.
If your application for workers' compensation benefits in Pennsylvania is denied, you have the right to appeal your denied workers' compensation claim. You will need to file a Claim Petition with the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation. A workers' compensation judge from the state bureau will then rule on your appeal.
Appealing a denied workers' compensation claim can be a very complicated process. And if you are not successfully, you will likely not receive the financial support you need while you're recovering from your workplace injury. That's why it's critical that you contact our law firm immediately to make sure you give your case the best opportunity for success.
After you report your workplace injury, you should start receiving your first workers' compensation check within 21 days. You will then continue to receive regular workers' compensation checks while you're recovering from your injury.
How long you will receive benefits in Pennsylvania varies depending on several circumstances, including the severity of your injury and whether you're able to return to work in a limited capacity. If you can return to work in a limited capacity due to your injury, you may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits even though you have returned to work.
How much money you can receive in worker's compensation benefits also varies. In general, most injury victims receive two-thirds of their average weekly pay. The maximum weekly amount injured workers can receive varies from year to year. That money can be an important source of income during your recovery. That's why it's critical that you contact our law firm as soon as possible.