Employees who have been injured on the job should understand the importance of reporting the injury to their employer.
Many Pennsylvania employers require their workers to go through safety training in order to avoid a workplace accident from occurring. There are situations, however, where an employee may become injured on the job, or develop an occupational illness due to workplace conditions. According to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Worker’s Compensation, 110,300 employees in the state reported workplace injuries in 2013. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, employees who are injured on the job and meet the specific criteria outlined in the act may be eligible to receive benefits.
A workplace injury should be reported to an employer immediately after the incident occurs, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. There are time constraints and deadlines involved in filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. Optimally, an injured worker should report the incident to his or her employer within 21 days of the accident. There are situations, however, where an employee has up to 120 days to give notice to their employer. Once that deadline has passed, the worker is at risk of forfeiting their right to obtain any Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Employees should also make sure to document the date of injury, as well as the specific circumstances surrounding the workplace accident. Once workers report the incident to their employer, the employer must file a first report of injury with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The employer may ask the injured worker to read and sign certain documents that are needed to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. These include an employee verification form and an authorization for medical records.
Most employers will provide the injured worker with a list of at least six physicians to choose from. These physicians are approved to treat workplace injuries and understand how the Workers’ Compensation process works. The worker must obtain treatment from one of the physicians on the list for at least 90 days after the initial doctor visit. Once the company begins paying Workers’ Compensation benefits, however, the employer can ask the worker to obtain treatment from a specific doctor of their choosing.
Injured employees may have certain limitations on what they can do, and may be required to stay home from work during their recovery period. This can make it financially difficult to make ends meet and to cover any medical expenses stemming from the workplace injury. Workers’ compensation benefits may help by covering lost wages from work, as well as medical expenses, including physical therapy and surgeries, that arise from the injury.
Although workers who have been injured on the job in Pennsylvania are not required to have an attorney, many choose to obtain legal counsel from an experienced Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer. It is crucial that your Workers’ Compensation documents are filled out correctly in order to maximize your chances for receiving benefits. It may be helpful to have established legal counsel by your side during the complicated process.
Keywords: Workers’ Compensation, job, injury, benefits