How Do I Apply For Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation If I Was Injured At Work?
Once you sustain a work-related injury in Pennsylvania, whether from a traumatic accident or from repetitive work activities, you must give notice to your employer. You should try to give notice within 21 days of the injury, and the sooner the better. Once you give notice of your work injury, the employer and/or its workers’ compensation carrier has 21 days to accept, deny, or temporarily accept your claim by issuing one of three documents- a Notice of Compensation Payable, a Notice of Denial, or a Temporary Notice of Compensation Payable. If notice isn’t given with 120 days, the claim will be forever barred.
Can I Get Pain And Suffering For My Work Injury?
No. There are no pain and suffering damages in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation. This is because fault is not an issue in workers’ compensation, unlike a third party personal injury case.
Do I Have To Attend An Independent Medical Exam?
Yes. As long as you haven’t attended one within a six month period, you will have to attend. If you fail to attend, the employer/insurer will likely file a Petition to Compel which seeks a Court Order mandating that you attend.
What Benefits Will I Be Awarded If I Get Workers’ Compensation In Pennsylvania?
If you win your claim or if the employer/insurer accepts your claim without a fight, you will receive two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wage, plus medical benefits for “reasonable, necessary, and related” medical treatment. There are other benefits available, called specific loss, for disfigurement, for the loss of use of a body part for “all practical intents and purposes”, or for the loss of a limb, fingers, or toes.
Can I Sue My Employer For Negligence For Causing My Work Injury?
No. Pennsylvania workers’ compensation is your only remedy against your employer for a work-related injury. However, if the injury was caused by a third party- ie, someone other than your employer, then you may have a viable personal injury suit against that third party if you can establish a defective or dangerous product or condition. Or, if you are injured in a car accident while working, you will have a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim against your employer for wage loss and medical benefits, and a negligence suit against the driver for personal injury.
Can I Settle My Pennsylvania Work Comp Case For A Lump Sum?
Yes, if the employer/insurer are interested. The employer/insurer is not required to offer a lump sum settlement. It is a voluntary agreement between the parties. Most employers/insurers are interested in a lump sum settlement, called a “Compromise and Release”. It is strongly recommended that you speak to a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Attorney before settling your case.
Will I Have To Testify In Court?
A. Again, it depends on your situation. If a petition is filed, you will likely have to testify before the Work Comp Judge. Sometimes, you testify in a deposition, or both. Your Pennsylvania Work Comp Attorney will prepare you for your testimony in terms of what to expect.
If I Live In Another State, But I Am Injured In Pennsylvania, Can I Get Workers’ Compensation In Pennsylvania?
Yes. If you are injured while working in Pennsylvania then you are eligible for Pennsylvania workers’ compensation, even if you reside in another state. Similarly, if you live in Pennsylvania, but are injured in another state, you still may be eligible for Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits, if you were hired by a company in Pennsylvania.
If I Am Receiving Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits And My Employer Offers Me A Light Duty Or Modified Duty Job, Do I Have To Accept It?
No. However, there may be legal consequences. If you do not try the job, the employer will likely file a petition to modify or suspend your wage loss benefits, asserting they have available work within your restrictions. If your doctor says you cannot perform the job, then the workers’ compensation judge will ultimately have to determine whether the job is something you can handle, after reviewing your testimony, the testimony from any employer witnesses, and any testimony from your treating doctor and/or an independent medical examiner. If you were offered a job, it is strongly recommended that you speak to a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney.
How long will my case take?
It depends as every case is different. Some claims are short- just weeks- in duration because the injured worker returns to work. In other cases, the claims last much longer, sometimes even years. In terms of litigation, a petition can take up to a year or more until a final Decision from the Work Comp Judge. You should speak to your Pennsylvania Work Comp Attorney about your specific case.