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Limitations of Workers Compensation in Pennsylvania

Workers Compensation in Pennsylvania

Work injuries can turn your world upside down. In a flash, the security of your job is overshadowed by the uncertainty of your health and finances. Fortunately, Pennsylvania mandates most employers carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect injured employees. While this safety net can be a lifeline during difficult times, its coverage is not as comprehensive as many might expect.

Workers typically only receive a portion of their wages when an injury prevents them from returning to their job. Let’s dive into how compensation amounts are determined and the basics of third-party liabilities, where an injured worker may be able to receive compensation from parties other than their employer.

Understanding the Limitations of Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania

While workers’ comp is an invaluable resource, it has its limitations. The most significant of these is the restriction on the compensation for lost wages. A worker typically receives a percentage (usually two-thirds) of their average weekly wage if their injury prevents them from returning to their job. This aspect can lead to significant financial strain for the affected worker, especially if it’s a severe injury that results in a long-term inability to work.

Another limitation is the lack of compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and punitive damages. These non-economic damages, which can be substantial, are not covered under workers’ compensation. The system mainly focuses on tangible economic losses, such as medical bills and wage replacement, leaving injured workers to bear the intangible costs.

Ranges of Compensation Under Worker’s Compensation

To better understand what to expect from workers compensation in Pennsylvania, let’s break down the various forms of compensation.

Medical Expenses

Workers’ comp covers all reasonable medical costs related to the injury. This includes treatments, surgeries, hospital stays, medications, and even future medical expenses for chronic injuries.

For the first 90 days following a work injury, the injured worker must choose a healthcare provider from the employer’s list of approved providers, and all medical costs will be directly billed to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Thereafter, the employee may see the provider of their choice, so long as the treatment is reasonable, necessary and related to the work injury. It is very important for injured workers to keep detailed records of all medical treatments received, as well as any out-of-pocket expenses incurred.

Lost Wages

For injuries that result in missed work, workers’ comp offers wage replacement benefits. The compensation typically ranges from 66.67% to 90% of the worker’s pre-injury average weekly earnings. These payments are subject to a maximum amount and a total cap on benefits paid out. The duration of wage replacement benefits will depend on the severity and length of the injury.

Each state has its own rules for how much of your lost wages will be covered. It’s figured out based on what you were earning before you got hurt, including any extra money from things like overtime or bonuses.

In Pennsylvania, if you’re hurt on the job, you’ll generally get two-thirds of what you were making each week before the injury. But there are rules to make sure you don’t get too little or too much, and that’s based on how much people in the state usually make. For injuries in 2024, the maximum weekly payment is set at $1,325.

Disability Benefits

Workers may also be entitled to disability benefits if the injury results in a permanent impairment. Pennsylvania categorizes disabilities as total or partial, with corresponding schedules for benefit payments. These benefits are calculated based on the type and extent of the disability.

Third-Party Involvement: Seeking Full Compensation

In some cases, a third party may share liability for a workplace injury. This could be a manufacturer of defective equipment, a negligent driver if the injury occurred in a vehicular incident, or a property owner responsible for maintaining a safe work environment.

When a third party is involved, the injured worker can file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. Unlike workers’ compensation, personal injury claims can provide full compensation for all damages, including lost wages and pain and suffering. However, making a recovery against a third party in this context almost always means that the workers’ compensation insurance company will have a lien, or a right to be paid back from your settlement.

Navigating a personal injury claim alongside workers’ comp can be complex, but it’s often necessary to achieve the best outcome for the injured worker. Employers or their insurance companies cannot interfere with an employee’s right to seek damages from a third party, and both claims can coexist simultaneously.

If you or a loved one has been injured on the job due to the negligence of a third party, it’s important to seek legal representation from an experienced personal injury and workers’ comp lawyer. They can help gather evidence and build a strong case to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

Steps to Take After a Work Injury in Pennsylvania

If you’ve been injured at work, it’s important to follow the proper steps, post -injury, to make sure you are protecting your rights. Here are steps to take after an injury:

  • Report the Injury: The first step is to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. In Pennsylvania, you have 120 days to notify your employer of the injury. Failing to do so can jeopardize your claim.
  • Seek Medical Attention: If your injury requires immediate medical care, seek treatment promptly. It’s important to inform the medical provider that your injury is work-related, as this documentation will be crucial for your claim.
  • File a Claim: After reporting the injury to your employer, they should provide a workers’ compensation claim form. Fill it out completely and accurately, including all necessary details about your injury and the circumstances surrounding it.
  • Understand Your Rights: Employers must provide you with a statement of your rights and responsibilities under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Review this document carefully to ensure you are aware of your entitlements and follow the correct procedures.
  • Consult with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney: Navigating the workers’ compensation process can be daunting, especially if your injury is complex. Consulting with an experienced workers’ comp attorney can provide invaluable guidance and representation to ensure your rights are protected.

Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Law Firm in Lancaster, Pa.

At Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm in Lancaster, PA, our workers’ comp attorneys focus on navigating the complexities of workers’ compensation and personal injury law. For any worker facing the aftermath of a workplace injury, understanding your rights and the full extent of compensation you’re entitled to is paramount. In Pennsylvania, being well-informed about your options is the first step towards safeguarding your health and financial stability.

Knowledge truly is your most powerful asset. Being aware of the necessary actions to take, and having the right support, can make all the difference in not just weathering the storm of a work-related injury, but also in securing the comprehensive compensation you rightfully deserve. Our goal is to ensure that the financial implications of your injury don’t impede your path to recovery.

Whether it’s through navigating the workers’ compensation system, pursuing third-party claims or doing both, our objective is clear: to alleviate your financial strain so you can focus on recovery. If you’re dealing with a work-related injury in Pennsylvania, reach out to Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm. We dedicate our practice exclusively to workers’ comp and personal injury cases, bringing unparalleled knowledge and experience to your corner.

We’re here for you around the clock, offering 24/7 availability online or by phone. Just dial 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free consultation and case evaluation. And we do not charge a fee unless we win your case. Remember, workers’ comp insurance companies are well-equipped with legal teams aiming to limit their payouts. You deserve to have equally formidable representation fighting for your interests.


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