What injuries qualify for Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation?

Jeffrey S. Gross

It is a given that Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation law generally protects employees who are injured during the course of their employment. The Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Act (“the Act”) contains within its provisions definitions of the types of injuries covered under the Act.

To begin with, the injury must take place within the course of employment or at least be related to employment. As long as an employee is on the employer’s premises in his or her capacity as an employee, even if the injury suffered is not directly related to his or her job function, then that employee is covered under the Act.

There are, however, some specific exceptions to coverage. The Act specifically does not cover injuries caused to an employee by a third person when that third person meant to cause harm to the employee for a personal reason unconnected to the employee’s status or activities as an employee.

The Act ordinarily covers injuries to employees who are using company vehicles, but only when the employee is using that vehicle during the course of employment (that is, an employee who for example is using a company car to go on a personal shopping trip and who gets into an accident would not be covered by workers compensation for any injury suffered as a result of that accident).

The Act also covers various forms of occupational illness leading to disability or death, but coverage is restricted to such disability or death occurring within 300 weeks after the last day of employment in which the employee was exposed to the condition that led to or contributed to the harm. Certain additional restrictions also apply to lung-related disabilities such as silicosis or asbestosis.

The Worker’s Compensation Act is lengthy and many of its provisions can be complex to interpret. This post is intended to provide only a sampling of its coverage and restrictions. Anyone who believes that he or she has suffered an injury or disability related to employment would be well advised to consult with an attorney for assistance in determining how or whether the Act may apply.

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