What do I need to do after an accident at work?

Immediately after the accident, report it to your supervisor and make sure an incident report is made. Even if your injury seems minor, it’s best to have a record of the event in case complications arise later on. After you report your injury, workers’ compensation insurance representatives may contact you asking for details. Do not feel pressured to sign away your workers’ compensation rights. Never sign any insurance document until a lawyer has reviewed it first. If you have questions about how to apply for workers’ compensation, or if you claim has been denied, call us at (570) 622-5933 for a free consultation.

Is there a statute of limitations for workers’ compensation cases?

Under Pennsylvania law, you must notify your supervisor at your place of employment within 120 days of the date of injury. Failure to do so can result in your claim being denied, so we suggest that you make the report immediately after the accident. Keep in mind that to be successful, any workers’ compensation case must be filed no later than three years from the date of injury or disability.

However, if you or a family member suffer from a disease that was contracted during your employment (such as Black Lung disease from working in a coal mine, or mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure), the laws are a bit different.  According to Pennsylvania law, the disease and inability to work must occur within 300 weeks from the date you were last employed in the job where you contracted the disease

Am I covered under workers’ compensation?

Almost every PA employee has coverage under the Workers’ Compensation Act. This includes all full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers. Nearly all businesses, no matter how big or small, are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Workers in certain industries may be covered under different compensation laws specific to that particular industry, such as railroad or shipyard workers. Exceptions such as volunteers and independent contractors may not be considered an employee and therefore may not be covered. But, that doesn’t mean you are out of options. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer at Williamson Friedberg and Jones at (570) 622-5933 to learn more about your legal rights as an employee.

May I choose my own doctor?

For the first 90 days of medical care, you are required to choose from a list of doctors provided by your employer. Your employer must give you at least six doctors to choose from, and your employer cannot choose for you. If your employer does not provide a list of options, you may choose your own. You may also choose another doctor from the list if the first doctor selected is unsatisfactory.

If you require treatment beyond 90 days, you then have the option to choose your own doctor. If, after 90 days, you do decide to choose a doctor not on your employer’s list, you must notify your employer within five days after your first visit.

How much will I receive in compensation?

Your compensation will depend on whether you have a total or partial disability. If you are totally disabled by your work injury and cannot work at all, you are entitled to weekly benefits equal to about two-thirds of your weekly pay, or a maximum of $995, for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2017. This number changes yearly.

After two years, your disability status may be reviewed. At this time, if you are no longer at least 50% disabled (based on American Medical Association guidelines) your disability will convert to a partial disability. A partial disability that reduces your ability to work and your earning capacity may be compensated by a weekly amount that is two-thirds the difference between your present earnings and what you earned prior to the injury. You may receive these partial disability benefits for 500 weeks or for as long as you are working at the lower wage. For more information call the office of Williamson Friedberg and Jones at (570) 622-5933.

What should I do if my workers’ compensation claim is denied?

Don’t panic. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to deny a workers’ compensation claim. If you are denied workers’ compensation, you have three years from the date of your injury to file a claim with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. In this case, it is best to hire a lawyer who is familiar with the entire claims process and who knows the intricacies of workers’ compensation laws. The right lawyer will be instrumental in ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.

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