On-the-job injuries and illnesses are common.
In Pennsylvania in 2020, 147,918 reportable injuries occurred in the workplace. However, only 8,801 people filed workers’ compensation claims to get the settlements they deserve.
If you’ve been injured at work in Pennsylvania, you’re potentially entitled to monetary coverage for medical bills and lost wages paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. But you'll need to hire a lawyer to ensure you’re treated fairly and in accordance with the law.
Properly navigating a workers’ compensation claim can be challenging, but armed with the proper knowledge and a trusted lawyer, you can win your case and receive the payouts you’re entitled to. In this post, Erie Injury defines workers’ compensation and outlines the claim process so you can stay informed and win your case.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation
In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation, often referred to as workers’ comp, is a government-mandated program that benefits workers who have fallen ill or suffered injuries on the job. State laws demand that employees provide coverage for medical care, disability, rehabilitation services, and death benefits for those who have been injured or killed at work. Payouts are directly related to your injury’s affect on one’s ability to work and the worker’s wage rate at the time of the incident.
With most private-sector workplaces, a workers’ compensation claim can be settled, but only if you’ve hired a lawyer to help win your case. Your legal team can help ensure all medical bills are accounted for, lost wages are correctly calculated, and you aren’t strapped with any unforeseen expenses after an incident.
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Claim Process
Though the severity of your injuries might determine how you move through the workers’ compensation claim process, there are a few best practices you should aim to follow. If you’ve been injured on the job, you’ll want to:
File an Incident Report
In Pennsylvania, injured workers must report the incident to their employers within 120 days. Failing to do so can result in a dismissal of your case, and you won’t be compensated for any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a result. Be sure to report all injuries to a supervisor as soon as you can safely do so.
Get Medical Treatment
Though it might be tempting to power through a harmful accident at work, you’re much better off seeking proper medical care to have your injuries assessed. Without medical records, it’s nearly impossible to prove you sustained any damage at all. Even if you filed an internal report with a supervisor, you’ll want a medical professional to corroborate your story with appropriate documentation. Doing so will build the evidence you need for full compensation.
Know Your Rights
When you file an internal report documenting the accident and the resulting injuries, your employer will likely send you to a specific doctor in your area that’s covered under the company’s insurance. While this is standard in the first 90 days after an injury, you have the right to see any doctor you wish after the initial 90-day period.
There are certain circumstances under which you might be eligible to choose your own doctor from the beginning. As such, you’ll want to connect with a lawyer to ensure you’re receiving the best treatment available and that your employer will pay for all resulting bills.
Talk with a Lawyer Before You Settle
Particularly if your employer believes your injury to be minor, they may try to settle your case internally, and fast. Don’t let a workers’ compensation claims adjuster talk you into settling before you speak with a lawyer. They’ll try to minimize your injuries to reduce the payout they’re responsible for, and, as a result, you could wind up paying your medical expenses out-of-pocket and losing wages.
Depending on your age and the severity of your injuries, you might be considering filing for additional benefits such as Social Security Disability or Social Security Retirement. If this applies to you, contact a lawyer immediately. The timeline in which you file can seriously impact whether or not you receive compensation. A lawyer can ensure your case isn’t dismissed and your employer can’t claim a “voluntary withdraw” from the workforce.
Let a Lawyer Help You Settle
Workers’ compensation cases can be complicated, and if you don’t follow appropriate practices and maintain timely action, you could be risking serious financial loss. At Erie Injury, we’re well suited to help you navigate your claim and win your case. Contact our office today for a free consultation, or browse our library of resources to learn more about the legal process.