Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation: What is Covered and When to Report an Injury
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act is complex, and an attorney can help you understand the regulations and requirements pertaining to your specific claim. The Act serves to protect the rights of workers through the payment of benefits related to work-related injuries and occupational diseases. In exchange for receiving compensation for reasonable medical expenses related to an on-the-job injury, workers are not permitted to file a lawsuit in tort against their employers.
Illnesses and Injuries Covered by the Act
Section 301(c)(1) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act defines a work injury as an injury, medical condition, or disease that is caused by an individual’s’ job. The injury must be both related to the worker’s employment and have occurred in the course and scope of employment. The Act also covers occupational diseases and pre-existing conditions that are aggravated by the worker’s job. The range of work injuries is wide and can range from hepatitis to strains and sprains.
Even if you are partly at fault for your work injury, you may request workers’ compensation payments. Injuries that are not covered under workers’ compensation include intentionally self-inflicted injuries, those caused by illegal drug use or self-intoxication, and those that are unrelated to your employer or workplace. Additionally, if you were attacked or injured by a person unrelated to your employer or workplace, for a reason not related to your job, that injury may not be covered by workers’ compensation. Accidents that occur while you are traveling to or from work during breaks are usually not compensated under the Act.
If you can prove that your injury is work-related, you can request workers’ compensation payments. An example would be carpal tunnel syndrome. If your job required repetitive motions to be performed, and as a result you developed carpal tunnel, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Timeline for Reporting Injuries to Your Employer
The Act states that under certain circumstances, the employee has a longer time period to put the employer on notice of their injury. In some situations, the employee may not know that their medical condition is related to their employment. The Act requires that once the employee is aware of the relationship of the injury to their employment, or should be aware of the relationship, they must file their notice within a 21-day or 120-day time period.
After receiving notice of the injury, an employer and its insurance company have 21 days to either agree that the injury is work-related or deny the claim.
It is best to report an injury as soon as possible. Notice does not require filling out an accident report. If an injured worker can establish a manager or other supervisor was aware of the injury within the 120-day period, this may be sufficient.
At Needle Firm, our dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys bring decades of experience to our representation of injured workers in Pennsylvania. We can help you understand your legal rights and navigate the claims process. We provide a free consultation and can be reached by calling (570) 344-1266 or contacting us online.