What is Workers’ Compensation?
Essentially, Workers’ Compensation is a state-wide insurance system that covers ALL employees within the state of Pennsylvania. It is intended to compensate workers for their medical bills and lost wages caused by a work-related injury. Worker’s Compensation is the ONLY way for an employee to file a claim for damages; a worker cannot sue their employee or fellow coworkers. That right was traded in exchange for lost wages and medical bill coverage when the Workers’ Compensation Act was first written in 1915.
Almost all work-related injuries and illnesses are covered through workers’ compensation, including pre-existing conditions, slip and falls, and machine malfunctions. Injuries not covered through workers’ compensation include self-inflicted injuries and fight related injuries, injuries caused while a coworker is committing a crime, and injuries suffered while the employee was not working.
How Do I Get My Benefits?
In order to receive benefits, the injury must be reported to the employer. There is no way to prove an injury occurred if it is not reported. It is highly suggested that notification of injury be given as soon as the injury occurs, regardless if it causes you to miss work immediately. It is very important that the notice of injury be in writing, either through a formal report, email, or other means. You must report the injury within 120 days after the injury occurs in order to be eligible for compensation. If it is not reported within that amount of time, an employee WILL NOT be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Of course, there are plenty of nuances within the Workers’ Compensation Law in Pennsylvania. If you have questions about whether or not you may qualify, request a free consultation today!