If you’ve been injured on the job in Pennsylvania, you have the right to workers’ compensation benefits. To get the ball rolling, it is important that you report your injury or illness to your employer within 120 days of the incident. To have full access to wage loss compensation, though, you should report the injury to your employer within 21 days.
Once you report your accident to your employer, it’s up to them to notify their workers’ comp insurance carrier and the PA Department of Labor and Industry. Unfortunately, there are situations where employers delay reporting or do not report an injury at all.
Let’s take a look at what happens when an employer delays reporting or fails to report an injury, how to report the injury yourself, and why you should contact a workers’ comp attorney if you suspect your employer is delaying or not reporting your injury.
What Happens When an Employer Fails to Report an Injury
When an employer fails to report a worker’s injury or illness, they can face significant fines and penalties from both state and federal agencies. Additionally, they may be barred from participating in certain government contracts and programs until they comply with all relevant laws and regulations.
Unfortunately, this does not do much for injured workers who may be struggling financially due to their injuries. Medical care and time away from work can be expensive and workers’ compensation benefits are designed to help you during your recovery. To protect yourself in a workers’ compensation claim, it’s important to take a few steps immediately after your injury including:
Report the injury immediately: As mentioned, it’s important to report your injury immediately to your employer, preferably within 21 days. After 21 days your benefits may be reduced, and after day 120, your workers’ comp claim may automatically be denied.
When you report your injury to your employer, they are required to give you the proper paperwork to complete your workers’ comp claim. If they fail to do so, this may indicate they are not going to report the injury to their insurance company and the PA Department of Labor and Industry.
Request the approved list of medical providers: Under PA Workers’ Comp law, you are required to see a physician approved by your employer for the first 90 days of treatment. Ask for a list of the medical providers to comply with your responsibility. If there isn’t a list, you are free to seek medical attention anywhere, so long as the treatment is reasonable, necessary and related to your work injury.
Seek medical attention: The timing of medical attention is critical in a workers’ comp case. The longer you wait, the easier it is for your employer to avoid reporting your injury or denying a claim. Document every appointment and keep notes during your recovery.
Consult with an attorney: The workers’ comp process can be incredibly challenging to navigate. Your employer’s insurance company has one goal – to minimize their financial burden. Working with a respected, credible workers’ comp attorney gives you the best chance of receiving maximum benefits.
Reporting Your Injury Yourself
If you’ve followed the steps to file a workers’ comp claim and haven’t received benefits, it may indicate your employer did not report the claim to their insurance company and the PA Department of Labor and Industry Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
If your employer has failed to report your injury, it is important that you take matters into your own hands by contacting your employer’s insurance carrier directly. If the problem is not resolved, you can file a petition with the Office of Adjudication either by filling out a form online or by calling the helpline directly. This office will help resolve disputes with your workers’ comp claim.
There are certain elements that must be included on the claim form: details about when and how the accident happened; information about any medical treatment received; contact information for witnesses; and other relevant details such as whether safety regulations were violated.
It is also important that any documentation related to the injury—such as doctor’s notes or hospital bills—be included when filing a claim. Keep copies of all documents so that they can be referred to at a later date if necessary.
Reporting an injury, yourself when your employer fails to do so can be complicated. When completing a claim form, it would be helpful to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can guide you through the process. An attorney can also help ensure that all applicable deadlines are met so that your benefits are not jeopardized.
Contact an Attorney
If you believe your employer has not reported your injury or illness in a timely manner (or at all), it is important that you take action as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for you to prove your case later down the line—especially if your employer attempts to deny liability for any reason.
The experienced and successful attorneys at Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, P.C. can help guide you through every step of the process while ensuring that all deadlines are met so that you get the benefits you deserve in a timely manner. Our team can help ensure that appropriate paperwork gets filled out correctly and on time so that there are no unnecessary delays in the process of filing for workers’ comp benefits—even if your employer is being uncooperative.
Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, P.C. will not charge you any fee for our time and efforts in securing or protecting your benefits. In fact, Georgelis is one of the few—and, quite possibly, the only—workers’ comp firm in Pennsylvania that does not charge or take a fee from an injured worker’s weekly compensation benefits. The attorneys and staff at Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, P.C. recognize that claimants need every penny of their benefits to provide for themselves and their families while disabled from working, so our firm’s policy is to only take a fee if the workers’ compensation claim ultimately settles for a lump sum payment.
Workers’ Comp Law Firm in Lancaster, Pa.
At Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, P.C. we understand how difficult the workers’ comp process can be when employers fail to cooperate after a workplace accident. We are here every step of the way throughout this process, so our clients have peace-of-mind knowing they have someone on their side.
If you were injured on the job and believe that your employer is delaying or failing to report your injury or illness correctly, contact us today. Our top workers’ comp attorneys know the ins and outs of the system and can conduct an investigation on whether your employer followed state law and can keep you informed of your options.
Reach out today to schedule a no-obligation, free consultation either online or by calling 1-800-HURT-NOW. We can meet you in our office, at your home, or even in a medical care facility. Again, we do not charge any fees for our time and are only compensated if and when your case settles.