Last week we mythbusted Social Security Disability, and this week we’re tackling Pennsylvania workers’ compensation. Here’s five key things you should know the truth about when it comes to a workers’ compensation claim.
1. You can be fired for filing a claim. False.
It’s against the law for your employer to fire you because you file a workers’ compensation claim. They are not required to hold your position though if you are out on disability for an extended period.
2. It doesn’t matter how long you wait to tell your employer that you’ve been injured, as long as you tell them. False.
You must report your injury to your employer within 120 days. After that, you become ineligible to receive benefits. If you inform your employer of your injury within 21 days, you can be awarded benefits as of the date of your injury. Beyond 21 days, you can only be awarded benefits as of the date you report your injury. Keep in mind that there may be some circumstances where you are not even aware you have an injury, such as carpal tunnel or a serious illness. In these circumstances, it is important to report your condition as soon as your doctor gives you a diagnosis and relates it to your employment. You have three years from the date of an injury to file a claim petition if your claim is initially denied.
3. A pre-existing injury can prevent you from getting workers’ compensation. False.
You can still be eligible for benefits if you can show that your job duties have aggravated, reactivated or accelerated your condition. So if you have arthritis and over time it’s gotten worse because of your job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
4. You can never choose your own doctor for treatment. False.
You must treat with one of the doctors your employer provides for 90 days if sign a document called a panel acknowledgement. You must have signed this document when you were hired and immediately after your injury. After the 90 days though, you are free to treat with any doctor.
If you did not sign a panel acknowledgement and your employer did not provide a list of at least six doctors, you are free to treat with any doctor.
5. It’s easy to get benefits without a lawyer. False.
Most likely your employer and its insurance company will have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on their side. Also, insurance companies can be very unhelpful at times because they may provide you with wrong or conflicting information so having a knowledgeable lawyer will put you at an advantage.
Navigating the path to receiving workers’ compensation benefits can be tricky, but the attorneys at Pond Lehocky have more than 75 years of experience fighting for workers’ rights. If you have been injured on the job, call us today at 215-568-7500 and let us help you get your life back.