Workers’ compensation questions
Do you know the first step you should take when you’re injured at work?
Workers’ compensation laws protect people who are injured on the job. The legal jargon is complex. When you’re stuck in a tricky legal battle, you shouldn’t have the added stress of learning a whole dictionary of workers’ compensations terms.
As a citizen, it is imperative to familiarize yourself with the workers’ compensation system. You probably have some questions regarding whether or not you’re eligible to receive workers’ compensation. If you think a pre-existing condition or an injury where you’re at fault would prevent you from receiving workers’ compensation, read on!
In general, an employee with a work-related injury or illness can get workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was the one at fault, whether that’s the employee, the employer, a customer or a third party.
Workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania are not taxable income. For federal income tax purposes, benefits awarded under a workers’ compensation act or statute due to work-related sickness or injury are fully exempt from tax.
If you are receiving Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits, your employer or its insurance company may require you to attend a medical examination with a doctor of its choosing. This exam is similar to an Independent Medical Examination, but its purpose is to try and limit your workers’ compensation benefits.
It is extremely important that you report your injury to your supervisor or employer IMMEDIATELY after your injury, even if injury doesn’t cause you to miss work or seem that bad. When reporting, you must include the date, time and circumstances of your injury.
Will a pre-existing condition prevent me from getting workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania?
A pre-existing condition will not prevent you from getting workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania.
Is it possible for you to receive a lump-sum settlement if you are found to be permanently and totally disabled?
Most minor to moderate injury cases are settled with a lump-sum payment—a type of settlement that offers one large amount to the injured worker rather than weekly payments for lost wages. You can also negotiate a lump-sum settlement rather than continuing to receive weekly permanent disability payments.
This depends. If your employer posts the names of at least six doctors in your workplace and requires you to sign a panel acknowledgment form stating that you will treat with these doctors, you must do so for 90 days. However, many employers fail to meet the requirements for the posting and the acknowledgment, and even if the insurance company will not pay for doctors who are not on the panel list, you still have options. Many doctors are wiling to treat injured workers even if they may not get paid until afterward.
The litigation process for serious work-related injuries or illnesses generally requires legal representation. If you are injured or have contracted a work-related illness and believe you have been treated unfairly, contacting a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney is in your best interest. Even if you think you’re able to handle a situation on your own, a lawyer is there to help you 100 percent throughout your case and receives no payment until your case is won.
Clients must be mindful of what they post on their social media accounts. The information posted on social media sites is not always private or privileged. Pictures and comments can be taken out of context and turn a perfectly fine situation on its head.
Unfortunately, yes. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, your employer may file a petition to terminate your workers’ compensation benefits. In order to succeed, your employer must show that you are no longer disabled or that any remaining disability is unrelated to the work injury.
No, you cannot be fired. It is against the law for employers to fire workers simply because they have filed a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim. It is rare for an employer to make the mistake of telling an employee that they are being fired due to a workers’ compensation claim. Most employers are aware that this would likely lead to an employment discrimination lawsuit.
Any employee injured at work in the state of Pennsylvania is covered under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. It doesn’t matter if your job is part-time or seasonal in nature. The Workers’ Compensation Act applies to ALL injuries or occupational diseases that occur during the course and scope of employment that are related to that employment.
An employer can hire a vocational counselor to show you are capable of performing some type of work even though you are injured. Your employer can use the opinions of the vocational counselor to suspend or reduce your workers’ compensation benefits
Workers’ compensation cases, like most personal injury cases, are generally handled on a contingency fee basis. This means many attorneys handle the cases for a percentage of the lump sum offered to settle the case. They don’t get paid unless and until you win your case.
The statute of limitations refers to the length of time you have to file a workers’ compensation claim. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims is three years from the date of injury.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you through every step of the process. Ideally, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as an injury occurs to prevent any ramifications. By law, you have 120 days to report an injury to your employer.
The short answer is no. Workers receive workers’ compensation benefits because they are injured and unable to perform their usual job duties. If you are physically capable of working a second job, then it may be determined that you are able to return to your current job or capable of finding employment somewhere else.