26th May 2016
If you are injured at work in the state of Pennsylvania, your right to compensation is covered by the PA Workers’ Compensation Act. This piece of legislation is vital for workers throughout the state, but what exactly does it cover? Let’s take a look…
What is workers’ compensation?
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides for payment of any medical expenses and lost wages that come about as a result of you being injured at work or contracting a work-related disease or illness. It also provides death benefits for work-related deaths, which are paid to any remaining dependents. Following an accident at work, benefits are paid by self-insured employers, private insurance companies or the State Workers’ Insurance Fund.
Almost all workers in PA are covered by the Act. Every employer has to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, whether they are full-time, part-time or seasonal. It does not matter if an employer is a small business, a non-profit organization or an unincorporated business, they must all meet the Act’s requirements. Some workers are covered by other compensation laws, such as railroad workers and federal civilian employees; if you are in any doubt, it is best to seek professional legal advice to find out which compensation laws cover you and to which benefits you are entitled.
You will be covered under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law from the moment a company hires you. The Act applies if your work results in an injury, disease or illness that occurs after you are on the job 20 seconds or 20 years. However, you will not be covered if the injury (or death) is caused because you broke the law or is self-inflicted.
Under the PA Workers’ Compensation Act, you will be eligible to receive certain benefits if the worst should happen. The cost of medical care for treatment that is reasonable, necessary and directly-related to your work-related illness or injury is covered; in addition, hospital services and treatment, supplies, medicine, prostheses and orthopedic appliances are covered for as long as you need them.
If your claim is covered by the Act, you will also receive payments for lost wages if you are unable to work, and specific loss benefits if a part of your body or senses has been permanently damaged.
Scarring or disfigurement to the head, face and neck are also compensable, including surgical scars. Death benefits will be payable to dependents if the injury or illness results in death.
In order to receive these benefits, it is vital that you report any work-related injury or illness promptly. After you have told your employer, they have to report the incident and your condition to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Lump Sum Settlements
Many claims in the workers’ compensation system result in lump sum settlements. In fact, any time that a claim enters litigation, if it is not fruitless, a mandatory mediation with a different workers’ compensation judge will be scheduled. A mediation is an informal, off-the-record process, during which the judge attempts to broker a fair and reasonable compromise, or settlement, between the parties.
If a settlement is reached, in exchange for the payment of a lump sum, the worker releases the employer from any further liability relating to the wage loss and/or medical aspects of their claim. This gives both parties closure and allows the worker to move on to the next phase of their life, without the insurance company looking over their shoulder and watching their every move.
If you would like to find out more about your rights to PA workers’ compensation benefits, get in touch with Georgelis Injury Law Firm, P.C. today. Following an injury at work in Lancaster County, we can help you get the workers’ comp benefits and/or lump sum settlement that you deserve. Attorney Anthony Georgelis has been voted the best lawyer in Lancaster County for 3 years running. He has helped thousands of injured Lancastrians stand up to their employers and their insurance companies by recovering millions of dollars for the workforce of our great county.