15 Mar Know When You are Entitled to Workers Compensation
Medical bills can be costly in the US – which is exactly why you want to get as much help as possible when paying them. One of the most important things to know as an employee working in the United States is that you might be covered for workplace injuries.
Worker’s compensation can cover medical bills and some of the other expenses that occur due to a work injury. For example, say you fall off a ladder and break your arm while at your construction job. This type of accident may be eligible to be covered by workers comp.
It’s important to be familiar with the process involved in claiming and receiving workers comp so that you don’t miss out on any benefits.
What Is Workers Compensation?
Simply put, worker’s compensation is a type of insurance that provides coverage in the case of a workplace accident.
The ultimate responsibility of having this type of coverage, however, falls on the employer. In most U.S. states (including Pennsylvania), employers are required by law to have workers comp insurance. Keep in mind that the exact extent and requirements of the coverage do vary by state. Additionally, there are a few industries that may be exempt from this requirement – ie, federal employees, railroad workers, etc…
How Does Workers Compensation Work?
For the most part, workers comp works like most other insurance policies.
If you suffer an injury while at work, you need to report it to your supervisor as soon as possible. Be clear regarding the fact that you have suffered an injury on the job, and note the time and date of the injury for them. Following that, try to get your injuries looked at by a medical professional as soon as possible.
It’s important to have a definite medical record of the injury for insurance purposes. You’re going to need all of that paperwork later on, so make sure to keep everything.
What Does Workers Comp Cover?
According to the Pennsylvania DLI (Department Of Labor & Industry), workers comp may provide some coverage for…
Medical Care – This includes hospital bills, physical therapy, medication, and other necessary medical services.
Payment for Lost Wages – This may include some financial compensation in the case that you’re unable to work due to your workplace injury.
Death Benefits – According to the DLI, “if the injury results in death, surviving dependents may be entitled to benefits”. Meaning that your dependents might receive some compensation to help pay for the loss of the household’s provider. Keep in mind that the amount of compensation varies and that you should always consult with an attorney to find out exactly what is covered in your state.
Please note that the above information only applies if your situation falls under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Furthermore, this guide provides a general overview of how workers comp works, but you should always consult with an attorney regarding your specific situation. A lawyer will likely be able to tell you whether you are eligible for worker’s compensation and help you with the next steps.
Are You Entitled To Workers Comp?
The short answer to this is that it depends.
Did your injury occur on the job, and is it strictly job-related? Did you report the incident within the appropriate time frame?
All of these are very important factors that may contribute to whether or not your claim for worker’s compensation will be approved. Keep in mind that the best way to check for sure is to consult with an attorney.
It’s also a good idea to report any injuries as soon as possible in. This way, you’re giving yourself the best chance of getting your claim approved.
How Does Workers Comp Pay You?
First of all, you’ll need to go through the claims process. Fortunately, most of the paperwork is filed by your employer. The most important thing is to notify your employer of the injury immediately. Following this, your employer should file an injury report to begin the claim process.
After reporting the injury to your employer, make sure to ask if you can get treatment from any medical provider or if there is a pre-approved list. In some cases, employers have the right to choose which medical provider you receive treatment from.
If your claim is approved, the insurance company will begin paying out compensation. This sum might come in installments or as a lump sum.
Who Pays For Workers Compensation?
Workers are typically not responsible for paying for workers comp insurance. That is the employer’s responsibility.
Similarly to other insurance, however, compensation is ultimately paid out by the insurance carrier.
If your employer does not carry worker’s comp insurance, you should consult with an attorney. They’ll be able to lay out your options and increase your chances of getting some kind of compensation.
Workers Compensation PA
Now, let’s talk details specifically regarding the state of Pennsylvania. As we mentioned before, workers comp laws do vary by state. This is one of the many reasons why an attorney can be helpful during the claims process. They’re more likely to be able to keep you on track with your specific state’s deadlines and requirements.
First off – introduce yourself to this website. This is the Pennsylvania DLI (aka the Department Of Labor & Industry). They are the organization responsible for administering “workers’ compensation benefits to individuals with job-related injuries” (www.dli.pa.gov/). Chances are, you’ll have to fill out some paperwork for them.
Next, let’s talk about timelines.
Now, having said that, you should really be notifying your employer of the injury as soon as it happens. In Pennsylvania, “no compensation is due until notice is given” unless “the employee gives notice to the employer within 21 days of the injury”.
Broken down, what all of this basically means is that you have to notify your employer within 21 days if you want compensation for the entire time that you’ve been injured. If you notify your employer a month after the injury, for example, they can still file the paperwork, but you will most likely not receive compensation for the previous month.
If you do not notify your employer at all within 120 days of the injury, you will most likely not receive compensation of any kind.
All this is to say that you should begin the process ASAP after your injury. Try not to wait too long, as it might put your claim at a disadvantage.
To finish off our guide, we’d like to remind you of a few last things.
First, always seek counsel regarding your worker’s comp case. An attorney will be able to guide you through the appropriate deadlines and paperwork. Even more importantly a good attorney will always have your back, even when insurance companies don’t.
Second, we can’t stress enough how important it is to report your injury as soon as possible. Delaying can only hurt your claim.
Additionally, don’t forget to ask your employer if there is a list of pre-approved medical providers that they want you to use.
Last, keep all of the paperwork that is pertinent to your injury. This includes hospital bills, discharge papers, and any other important information. If you happened to notify your employer of your injury in writing, a digital copy of that communication would be good to have on hand as well.
Workers Compensation Lawyer In Philadelphia
It’s always good to consult with a lawyer when you’re preparing to receive worker’s compensation. A good attorney can help you file paperwork on time and ensure that you don’t miss any important deadlines.
More importantly an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to sift through all of your expenses and get as much of the compensation you need as possible. They’ll talk you through not just your immediate bills but future expenses as well.
Insurance companies will almost always try to lowball employees when it comes to compensation, so it’s important to have someone in your corner.
Here at the Cochran Firm Philadelphia office, we’ve got your back. Simply call or go online to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.