Personal Injury at the Workplace: What to Do

Personal Injury at the WorkplaceThe Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system is designed to protect both employers and employees.

Employers who have workers’ compensation insurance are protected from a direct lawsuit for injuries sustained on-the-job and employees receive the medical treatment they need and are compensated for any lost wages that are associated with any injuries, and diseases sustained while at work.

Employers and workers’ compensation coverage: Pennsylvania law

For the majority of employers in the state of Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation coverage is not an option, but a necessity that is required under Pennsylvania law. Employers who neglect to attain workers’ compensation coverage may be sued by their employees. Furthermore, those employers who are required by Pennsylvania law to carry this type of insurance and choose not to may be subject to criminal prosecution by the state.

Employees and workers’ compensation coverage in Pennsylvania

In the state of Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation coverage begins on the employee’s first day of service. Each employee is covered by the employer’s insurance for the length of his or her employment. This remains true even for employees who have previous injuries or diseases that are aggravated by their job.

In other words, no matter what an employee’s previous medical condition, he or she is eligible to receive compensation for any issues that occur as a result of their job (even if it involves a worsening of their previous injuries/diseases).

Workers’ compensation statistics

According to the most recent Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety’s 2016 Workplace Safety Index (which is based on injuries sustained in 2013), falls and overexertion are responsible for the majority of workers’ compensation costs in the United States.

Falls

  • Falls that occurred to a lower level cost companies around $5 billion and made up nearly 9 percent of the national injury burden
  • Falls occurring on the same level cost companies a little more than $10 billion and accounted for approximately 16 percent of the total national injury burden

Overexertion injuries

Overexertion injuries cost companies about $15 billion. This type of injury accounted for almost 25 percent of the national burden.

Overexertion injuries include:

  • Lifting
  • Pulling
  • Pushing
  • Carrying
  • Holding
  • Throwing

The goal of Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation program

The goal of this program is to provide employees who sustain injuries at work with the medical benefits and lost wages they need. The ultimate goal of workers’ compensation is to assist the employee as he or she heals so they can once again become an active member of the workforce.

You have been injured at work: Here is what you need to know

Employees must inform their employers that they have been injured within 21 days of the incident that caused the injury. If the injury is not reported to the employer within 120 days of the injury date (or of the date that knowledge of a disease related to the individual’s employment is recognized) the employee is not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, there is an exception to this rule when the disease is progressive.

Once your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance is notified of your injury, they have up to 21 days (from the date you provide notification of your injury to your employer) to issue a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable. This may be filed to deny full liability for the claimed injury or extends the investigation into your injury for a period of 90 days.

Once the investigation is complete, and your employer decides to discontinue payment to you for temporary compensation, your employer is to provide you with a Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation and issue you one of the following:

  • Workers’ Compensation Denial
  • Agreement for Compensation
  • Compensation Payable

Depending on the investigation results, you may need to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. For example, if you are denied workers’ compensation you may want to speak with an attorney to see if there is anything you can do to reopen your case. You have three years from the date of your last workers’ compensation check to file a petition contesting the termination of your workers’ compensation payments.

If you have been injured at work and need an experienced personal injury attorney, please contact The Slocum Firm today. You can use our online contact form or call our office at 570-507-8279 to request your free consultation. Let us put our experience to work for you.

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