Presenting a Strong Case for Workers’ Compensation Under Pennsylvania Law
Injured individuals pursuing a workers’ compensation case must present their case strongly, abiding by applicable time limits and requirements under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. These types of claims can be complex, involving a difficult process. By making mistakes that cause claims to be denied, a worker may delay the receipt of benefits or make it easier for the workers’ compensation insurance company to stop paying benefits. In order to present the strongest case for workers’ compensation, it is first necessary for an individual injured on the job to report the injury to their employer.
Provide Notice of Injury
An individual injured on the job should immediately notify their employer. Unless the employer receives notice within 120 days, no compensation is due to the injured worker. The time period for giving notice of an injury does not begin to run until the employee knows, or should know by exercising reasonable diligence, of the injury and its possible relationship to his or her employment. For example, an individual with a pre-existing condition, such as arthritis, may not be aware of the normal work activity that is exacerbating or causing the injury. Once the worker is made aware of the relationship of the arthritis to their current employment, they must notify their employer.
Even if the injury appears minor, the safest action is to report the injury immediately. Some workers believe the pain will go away, and they may complete their assigned duties without reporting the injury. In some cases, the next day, that individual cannot get out of bed. An employer may be less likely to pay a claim when it was not reported on the day the injury took place.
Report the Injury in Writing
When reporting an injury, there is no requirement in the Act that notice be in writing. However, if an employer denies being advised of the incident, having written documentation may be useful. Insist on receiving a copy of written accident reports. It is necessary that someone in a supervisory capacity, such as an immediate supervisor or foreman, be advised of the injury.
It is sufficient, when reporting an injury, to describe physical complaints and state clearly that they were caused by work activity. Any pain must be attributed to the work activity. If a specific event caused the pain, describe that event. On the other hand, if the pain began while performing normal activity, describe which activity it was when the pain was experienced.
Notice Does Not Toll the Statute of Limitations
Keep in mind that providing paper notice of an injury, which is required under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, will not toll the statute of limitations for filing your workers’ compensation claim. This time period for filing a claim is three years, and courts will not entertain cases brought after this period has expired.
At Needle Law, our workers’ compensation attorneys have decades of experience helping injured workers in Pennsylvania. We can help you navigate the claims process and guide you in making decisions about your case. We provide a free consultation and can be reached by calling (570) 344-1266 or contacting us online.