Have you suffered a work-related injury or illness? If so, what should you do to protect your rights as an injured worker? If you were injured on the job, you probably may have many questions. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, as well as the system set up to handle claims under the Act, can be very complex and confusing, and any mistake could affect your eligibility to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Most importantly, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company will not have your best interests in mind. It is very important that you take the proper steps after you suffer a work injury or accident.
What steps should you take following a work accident?
1. Report your work accident and resulting injury or illness to your employer.
You have 120 days to report to your employer a work accident that causes an injury or illness. If at first you did not realize you had an injury or illness, you have 120 days to notify your employer from the time you discovered that your injury or illness is work-related.
2. See your employer’s approved workers’ compensation doctor for medical treatment.
In Pennsylvania, if your employer has a list of doctors posted at your worksite, you must see one of these doctors for the first 90 days of your work-related injury or illness. If you fail or refuse to see your employer’s workers’ compensation doctor and instead see your own doctor, your employer does not have to pay any medical bills until after the first 90 days of your injury.
3. Your employer should file a “First Report of Occupational Injury” form.
Your employer should send this form to their workers’ compensation insurance company and file it with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The insurance carrier has 21 days to accept or deny the work injury, which would cover medical treatment and lost wages. However, in order to get paid for the first 7 days of lost wages, you must be off work for at least 14 days.
4. Your employer accepts or denies responsibility for your injury.
If your employer accepts responsibility for your work injury or illness, you will receive a “Notice of Compensation Payable.” In some cases, you may be issued temporary workers’ compensation benefits for 90 days. Even if your medical bills are being paid, it does not automatically mean that your claim has been accepted by your employer. If your claim is accepted, you should receive payments for lost wages. If your employer denies responsibility for your work injury, you will receive a “Notice of Compensation Denial.” In that case, you will need to file a claim petition. You have 3 years from the day you suffered your injury or illness to file a workers’ compensation claim petition.
5. You file a claim petition.
If you file a claim petition, you will need to go before a judge in a series of hearings to determine whether you should receive workers’ compensation payments.
If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness, contact our workers’ compensation lawyers to schedule a free consultation, or call us, toll-free, at (855) 589-9458.