Understanding Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act
In 2018, nearly 40,000 Pennsylvania residents filed for workers’ compensation under Pennsylvania Statutes Title 77 P.S. Workers’ Compensation. Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act, which provides medical treatment and wage reimbursements for workers affected by job-related injuries and illnesses, is designed to protect the rights of both employers and employees. If you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident that took place in the Keystone State, a Manville workers’ compensation lawyer could help you obtain benefits that will keep you financially secure throughout your recovery.
How Does Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act Define a Work-Related Injury?
In Section 411, Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act defines work-related injuries in general terms as any injury, illness, or medical condition that’s specifically caused by an employee’s job. This definition includes occupational diseases as well as preexisting conditions that have been exacerbated by workplace conditions.
What Types of Benefits Does the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act Provide?
Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act provides several types of benefits:
- Expenses related to medical treatment: Section 531 of the Act provides payment for medical services related to the diagnosis and treatment of a work-related injury. This includes hospital or ambulatory care clinic charges, doctors’ visits, any indicated surgery, appropriate laboratory tests, necessary medical equipment, medications, and prescribed physical therapy.
- Indemnity benefits: Section 601 entitles injured workers to the payment of compensation that’s designed to offset any loss of wages associated with the injury. The Act stipulates these indemnity benefits will be two-thirds of a worker’s weekly wages. This amount is determined using minimums and maximums that are based upon the Department of Labor and Industry’s average wage calculations.
- Partial disability benefits: If the work-sustained injury limits an employee’s ability to work to full capacity for 500 weeks or less, Section 511 provides for financial compensation.
- Permanent disability benefits: If a worker loses an arm, a leg, an eye, or some other body part, Section 513 contains formulas and timelines for compensation.
- Death benefits: Under Section 411, spouses and dependent children are entitled to compensation if a worker dies from an injury sustained in the workplace within 300 weeks of the date the injury was incurred.
What Deadlines Does Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act Impose?
One of the most common reasons workers’ comp payments are delayed is because workers fail to fill out paperwork properly in the allotted period of time. Workers seeking compensation are required to comply with a number of strict deadlines. Section 311 requires you to inform your employer about your injury within 21 days, and if you don’t inform your employer within 120 days, your workers’ comp claim will be denied. Once your employer has been informed, however, you have up to three years to petition for workers’ comp. You and your employer can come to an agreement about the nature of your compensation as early as seven days after the injury.
Does Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act Contain Specific Protections for Employers?
For most employers in the Keystone State, workers’ comp coverage is mandatory. Employers who shirk this responsibility may be subject to criminal prosecution as well as civil litigation. However, the statute contains some employer protections, too.
Sections 531 and 651 allow employers to request that a health care provider of the employer’s own choosing examine a claimant. Employers often make use of this stipulation if they have doubts that an injury is workplace-related. Section 481 prevents an employee from alleging negligence through civil litigation in situations that would otherwise be covered by workers’ comp.
Workplace injuries can be difficult to deal with both psychologically and in practical terms. A Manville workers’ compensation lawyer who understands the full implications of Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act can give you the support and guidance you need during these challenging times. For 16 years, the Voorhees Law Office has been fighting on behalf of injured workers. Contact our office in Somerville, NJ, today at (908) 200-2297 to set up a consultation.