Obtain Workers’ Compensation You Are Entitled To Receive
Under the best circumstances, injuries at work are typically covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. In Pennsylvania, most businesses that have workers, full- or part-time, are required to meet their statutory workers’ compensation obligations by either getting an insurance policy or by being approved as a self-insurer.
Still, this is no guarantee that you’ll be fairly compensated by your employer in the event of an injury. Also, if you’ve suffered a reasonably preventable injury or trauma caused by unsafe working conditions, you need an expert advocate to assure that you receive adequate compensation. If your medical bills exceed the nominal workers’ compensation payout, you could be entitled to more.
What does workers’ compensation cover and how do I apply?
If you are injured at work and your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to obtain coverage for:
- Lost wages
- Medical treatment
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Other benefits
Workers’ compensation is not suing your employer, but rather is requesting compensation via benefits they should have under their insurance carrier. In order to file for workers’ compensation, you need to do the following:
- 1. File a claim to notify your employer.
- 2. Only complete employee designated sections and be sure to sign and date the form.
- 3. Keep records of everything you fill out.
- 4. Return the claim to your employer.
- 5. Your employer must then complete the employer section and give you a copy. If you are not given one, request a copy for your own records.
- 6. Typically within 14 days, you will receive a status letter from the insurance company.
But what happens if your employer doesn’t comply or you were cheated out of workers’ compensation benefits?
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act
In 1915, the Pennsylvania Legislature enacted the Pennsylvania Workmen’s (Workers’) Compensation Act as a way to define the conditions where benefits are available to injured employees and the procedures for obtaining them.
Under the Act, some businesses are exempt from workers’ compensation converge including:
- Employers/individuals covered under other workers’ compensation acts (ie. railroad workers, longshoremen, and federal employees)
- Domestic servants
- Agricultural workers who work fewer than 30 days or earn less than $1,200 in a calendar year from one employer
- Employees who have requested, and been granted, exemption due to religious beliefs
- Those with executive status in certain corporations
If you are not an exempt employee, there are steps you can take to ensure your workers’ compensation claim is handled appropriately–specifically if the claim is denied.
What If Your Claim Is Denied?
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, there are steps you can take to recoup losses for your injuries.
The first step is to appeal the decision. You have up to three years from the denial to have your case heard by a judge. You will be expected to show evidence, attend hearings, and mediation sessions that may follow.
But handling an appeal can be nerve-wracking, especially if you feel as though your employer has purposely wronged you. But you don’t have to handle it alone.
Workers’ Compensation Representation in Scranton, PA: Kalinoski Law Offices P.C.
Attorney Craig P. Kalinoski of Kalinoski Law Offices P.C. in Scranton handles cases dealing with the cause of the workplace injury, unpaid medical bills in excess of offered compensation, hearing loss claims resulting from workplace conditions, reduced or denied compensation benefits, and hearing loss, permanent physical scars or other disfigurements as a result of injury.
If you live in Pennsylvania and have been injured at work, don’t wait — inform your employer of your injury as soon as possible, and contact our office in downtown Scranton to ensure that you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.