If you suffer an on-the-job injury or get sick from work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The laws in PA provide broad protection to workers who face job-related health issues.
The best way to avoid problems with your claim for workers’ comp benefits is to get help from an experienced attorney right away. Shor & Levin, P.C., is available to review your case and get started right away.
You should also be aware of some of the common mistakes that people make when filing a workers’ comp claim in Pennsylvania. Some of these mistakes include:
1. Not notifying your employer about your injury right away.
Under PA law, you must report your injury within 120 days from the time of the accident or from the time you discovered you had a work-related health problem.
However, you are only entitled to retroactive benefits – “back pay” – if you notify your employer within the first 21 days after your work-related injury. So, if you wait 40 days, your benefits will start from Day 40. But if you wait only 15 days, your benefits will start from Day 1 of your injury.
Waiting too long to tell your employer can also put your claim at risk. Your employer could argue that your health issue isn’t work-related or that you are exaggerating it.
2. Not going to a doctor on your employer’s list.
PA law requires you to go to a doctor that is on your employer’s designated list of providers. You need to do this if your employer told you about this requirement when you were hired and when you got hurt. You will have to see this doctor for the first 90 days after you got hurt. After that, you can switch to your own doctor, but you must let your employer know.
3. Delaying getting medical assistance.
If you do not get medical help right after you got hurt, your employer may argue that this shows that your injury wasn’t job-related or that your injury wasn’t serious. This can make it harder for you to get benefits. It gives your employer a reason to deny your claim. Not only that, but you could have a life-threatening condition that you may not realize unless you see a doctor. The bottom line: If you get hurt on the job, get help.
4. Not making a workers’ comp claim because you think the injury is your fault.
Your eligibility for workers’ comp benefits doesn’t depend upon you being a perfect employee. It doesn’t hinge on whether your employer created a dangerous workplace. Workers’ comp is called a “strict liability” system. This means that if you got hurt on the job, you get workers’ comp benefits regardless of who was to blame. Unless you were drunk, on drugs or doing something expressly violating company rules at the time of your injury, mistakes you made should not disqualify you from receiving benefits.
5. Depending on other benefits instead of workers’ comp.
Employers may suggest that you don’t really need workers’ comp benefits. They may be uncertain about whether you should make a workers’ comp claim if there are other kinds of insurance available to you. For example, your employer might suggest using your health insurance to get your bills covered.
But the fact remains: No other insurance program will provide as much coverage as workers’ compensation.
For example, health insurance may have co-pays, and it won’t cover things like transportation to your doctor. Workers’ comp has no co-pays, and any expenses related to medical treatment (like transportation) can be covered.
Remember: Workers’ comp laws exist to make sure workers are fully covered. You should take advantage of the law’s protections if you get hurt on the job.
6. Not consulting with a PA workers’ compensation lawyer.
If you get hurt on the job, you can bet that your employer and insurance company are going to have a team of professionals helping them to protect their profits and pay you as little as possible. Your interests and their interests are not the same.
You should have a passionate lawyer by your side to represent your interests, protect your legal rights and handle the legal issues involved in your work injury claim.
At Shor & Levin, we will take care of all aspects of your claim. We’ll deal with everything from handling paperwork to appealing a benefits denial. We’ll fight for you. We’ll treat your case with the importance it deserves and stand up for your rights.
We won’t charge you for any of these legal services unless we win and you are compensated for your injuries.
Call us today at (866) 462-8553 or use our online form to schedule a FREE case evaluation right away.