You may be eligible for compensation if you are temporarily unable to work, hospitalized, or become permanently disabled due to work-related injuries.
Workers’ compensation provides money and medical benefits to an employee who suffers an on-the-job accident, injury, or occupational disease. Workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect workers and their dependents against the burden of a serious injury in the workplace. Workers’ compensation can include payments in lieu of wages, compensation for economic loss (past and future), reimbursement or payment of medical and like expenses and benefits payable to the dependents of workers killed during employment.
You should be familiar with Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws and your job’s work-related injuries procedure. The workers’ compensation lawyers at The Travis Law Firm’s Erie, Edinboro, and Warren law offices can help you make sure the proper steps are followed and that your legal rights are upheld. Covered medical care generally includes:
- Medical, surgical and hospital services
- Dental services
- Chiropractic treatment
- Physical therapy
- Nursing care
- Prescribed medications
- Crutches, hearing aids, etc.
Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ compensation laws were enacted to eliminate the need for injured workers to prove their injuries were the employer’s fault and to make the litigation process less costly for both sides. Maryland (1902) was the first state to enact workers’ compensation laws. By 1949, all states had created some kind of compensation for work-related injuries.
In the United States, most employees who suffer work-related injuries have a right to medical care. In many cases, monetary payments compensate for any injuries resulting in temporary or permanent disabilities. Laws require most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Heavy financial penalties may be imposed on employers who do not carry insurance. Nearly every Pennsylvania worker is covered by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Employers must provide workers’ compensation coverage for all of their employees, including seasonal and part-time workers. Non-profit corporations, unincorporated businesses, and even employers with only one employee, must comply with the Act’s requirements.
Additional compensation laws are available for: federal civilian employees, railroad workers, longshoremen, shipyard, and harbor workers. Some others who may not be covered are volunteer workers, agricultural laborers, casual employees, domestics and employees who have been granted a personal religious exemption from the Act.
What is Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
You may be entitled to workers’ compensation if you have suffered work-related injuries, illness, or disease. Compensation is not paid if the injury is intentional or caused by an employee’s violation of the law (including the use of illegal drugs). Work-related injuries or deaths caused by intoxication may not be covered by workers’ compensation. Contact our lawyers at our Erie, Edinboro, and Warren Pennsylvania offices and arrange a consultation with our workers’ compensation attorneys.
The Workers’ Compensation Process
- Notify your employer of your injury – If not reported within 120 days of injury or having knowledge of a work-related disease, no compensation is allowed.
- The employers are required to immediately report employee injuries to their insurer or to the person responsible for managing the workers’ compensation program.
- a) Within 21 days from the date the employer receives notification of injury, the employer/carrier accepts liability for the injury – a Notice of Compensation Payable or a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable.
- or –
b)Within 21 days from the date the employer received notification of injury, the employer/carrier denies liability and issues a Notice of Workers’ Compensation Denial to the employee.
- (if 3b) The employee has three years to file a Claim Petition.
- Workers’ compensation petitions are normally assigned to a Workers’ Compensation Judge.
- All parties involved are notified of the date, time, and place of the Workers’ Compensation Hearing. The judge will hear evidence from both the claimant and employer.
- A decision is rendered.After the judge circulates the decision, an appeals process may begin (Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, Commonwealth Court, Pennsylvania Supreme Court).
Do I Need a Lawyer?
The workers’ compensation lawyers at the Erie, Edinboro, and Warren offices of The Travis Law Firm can help if you have been denied compensation, are in danger of having your workers’ compensation benefits taken away, or are still hurt and your employer is demanding that you return to work. We have the knowledge and the experience to maximize your chances of getting just restitution.
Things to Consider When Deciding Whether or Not You Need an Attorney:
- The legalities of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation and Social Security disability systems are very complex. Our attorneys are qualified and experienced. We can help level the playing field as you seek maximum compensation for your work-related injuries or disabilities.
- Statistics consistently show that settlements are higher when you have an attorney working for you.
- You cannot trust your employer or insurance company to look out for your best interests. Their goal is to provide the absolute minimum benefits possible on each claim. Your employer and insurance company already have lawyers working for them, and they know far more about the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation System than you do.
- Gather evidence, interview witnesses, and research your case
- Make sure that all papers are properly filed with the court or agency
- Keep you informed of the status of your case
- Ensure that you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.
What benefits am I entitled to if I get injured at work?
If you are injured on the job in Erie Pennsylvania, you are entitled to free medical benefits for the reasonable, necessary and related treatment of your on the job work related injuries. You will be entitled to loss of wages benefits if your work injuries affect your earning abilities. If you are unable to return to your pre-injury job or any light duty job you can qualify for total disability. You qualify for Partial disability if you have an earning capacity, or you must return to your job with some restrictions that force you to earn less than you had been making before you were injured.
If I make a workers’ compensation claim can I be fired?
You can sue your employer for wrongful discharge if you can prove that your employer fired you because you submitted a worker’s compensation claim. It is important for you to remember that your employer does not have to retain your employment simply because you made a workers’ compensation claim or are receiving benefits.
Am I required to visit the insurance company’s physicians?
The answer is yes and no. If your employer had you sign a written statement that you were provided a list of the only doctors that can treat you, then you must receive treatment from one of their doctors for the first 90 days after your on the job injury.
Your employer must also have had you sign a document when you started working for your employer. If you did sign both of these documents you will not be required to visit their doctors to be treated for the first 90 days.
You will be free to visit any doctor for treatment after the initial 90 days is over. If you need a doctor referral we can provide you one.
Our referral doctors can provide you the most professional medical treatment plus they know the legal system well to best serve all your needs.
Does my employer have to keep my position open for me while I have a work related injury?
The answer is definitely yes. Our Erie PA Workers’ Compensation Lawyers do not charge you any additional fees for helping you early on in your case. Actually it is very important that your attorney gets familiar with your case, your medical conditions and refers you to the best physician to treat your injuries. We will also make sure that you take appropriate actions that will maximize your workers’ compensation benefit. Our attorney fees never go beyond the 20% of whatever we get for a lump sum settlement or what we maintain coming in for you.
If you wait to see an Erie Pa Workers’ Comp attorney after you have made a mistake and your benefits are being reduced, you will need to pay an attorney legal fees sooner than later to fight for you to get the benefits that are rightfully due you. In the long run, you are better served if you see an attorney immediately after your on the job injury.
Is there a time limit in making a worker’s compensation claim?
The answer is yes, you must notify your employer that you were hurt within 120 days of the injury accident. You are also required to provide your employer with detailed information about your injury. You can simply tell your employer in person or over the phone. But you must contact your supervisor, Human Resources Department or manager. Also if your employer does not pay the benefits you are entitled to receive, you have three years from the injury date to file a claim with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Benefits.
What Injuries Are Covered?
The short answer to this question is your injury is covered if the accident occurred while performing work duties. These accidents can be from a slip and fall, lifting heavy objects, or many other types of injuries. It is also important to know that the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act covers any work-related injury regardless of a person's prior physical condition. And, something that most people don’t know, workers are provided the same benefits who contract any disease in the course of their work duties under Pennsylvania’s Occupational Disease Act. It is in your best interest to contact a Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Lawyer for a free consultation to get the help you need.
Work-related injuries can include many types of accidents but here are a few common injures:
- Head Trauma
- Neck Injury
- Back Injury
- Heart Attack
- Face Injury
- Shoulder Injury
- Injuries including Wear and Tear
- Burns and Lacerations
- Brain Injury
- Broken Bones
- Pinched Nerves
- Crushed Limbs and Bones
- Pinched Nerve
- Herniated Disk
- Major Scarring
To find an in-depth list of Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation facts go the PA Department of Labor & Industry.
You are covered for any occupational disease if it was contracted as a direct result of your job duties. Your disability must happen within 300 weeks of your previous employment in the job where you were exposed to the occupational disease. Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Laws have additional requirements for particular lung diseases including jobs working with coal, asbestos, silica, and other dangerous materials
Below is just a sample of what type of Occupational Diseases that are included:
- Lead Poisoning
- Hearing Loss
- Lung Disease
- Latex Allergy
- Contact with Hazardous Materials
- Breathing Issues
What is Covered By Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania?
Millions of Americans are injured on the job or diagnosed with a work-related illness or condition each. During the last decade, over 2.5 million workplace injuries were reported each year in the private sector.
If you have been injured at work, you may qualify for benefits under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act. However, the compensation you receive for a worker’s compensation claim is not the same compensation you receive for a personal injury claim against another party.
If you are injured at work or while performing your ordinary work duties, you may receive compensation from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
The workers’ comp system is a no-fault system. Therefore, you are not required to prove that your employer was responsible for causing your injury or that the employer was negligent or careless. You only need to show that your injury occurred during the ordinary course of your employment, and you did not intentionally cause yourself to be injured.
You can be partially or wholly at fault for the cause of your injury and still receive workers’ compensation benefits as long as you did not intentionally cause the injury.
Benefits that you may receive under PA’s workers’ compensation system include:
- Medical Treatment — Injured workers are entitled to receive reasonable and necessary medical treatment for their injuries at no charge to the employee.
- Income Benefits — Income replacement benefits equal approximately two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage. The term of the income benefits depends on the severity of your injury and whether you can work or you are permanently disabled.
- Death Benefits — An employee’s dependents may be entitled to compensation for funeral expenses and financial losses for a work-related fatality.
- Specific Loss Benefits — Specific loss benefits apply when an employee loses a limb or loses the use of a specific body part.
Receiving your workers’ comp benefits should be a simple process. You are injured at work, go to the doctor, file a claim, and receive benefits. However, the process is not always simple. You are dealing with an insurance company. Therefore, the process can be more complicated than is necessary. The insurance provider may deny your claim, miscalculate your average weekly wage, or deny you certain benefits that you should receive.
If your workers’ comp claim is denied or you believe you are entitled to additional benefits or higher sums, contact an Erie workers’ compensation attorney immediately to discuss your legal rights after being injured at work.
You Cannot Sue Your Employer for Damages
The workers’ compensation laws prevent an employee from suing an employer for work-related injuries except in specific cases. Employers are protected from lawsuits by injured employees by providing workers’ compensation coverage.
However, if the employer intentionally injuries an employee or is grossly negligent, the employee might have the right to sue. Also, if a third party causes the employee’s injury, the employee may have a personal injury claim against the third party. A third-party lawsuit can result in additional compensation for the employee, such as full compensation for lost income and compensation for pain and suffering damages.
Contact Our Workers' Compensation Lawyers
If you have suffered a work-related injury or disease, contact the Travis Law Firm today. We can help if you have been denied compensation, are in danger of having your workers’ compensation benefits taken away, or are still hurt and your employer is demanding that you return to work. Our trustworthy legal team represents victims of work-related injuries and our workers’ compensation lawyers will fight for maximum compensation.