Understanding Workers’ Compensation: What Every Employee Should Know
If you’re injured on the job as an employee in Philadelphia, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp provides medical care and lost wages if you suffer an injury or illness related to your job. Here’s what Philadelphia workers should understand about claiming workers’ comp if injured at work. Here we would like to thanks Alva Foster & Moscow, LLC, a leading Philadelphia law firm for providing required information for this blog,
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program mandated by state law that provides cash benefits and medical care to employees who get hurt or sick because of their jobs. Every employer in Pennsylvania is legally required to have a workers’ comp policy to cover injuries to their workforce. Speak to your manager or HR department to learn the details of your employer’s workers’ comp coverage.
What Types of Injuries Are Covered?
The workers’ compensation system covers injuries from workplace accidents as well as certain work-related illnesses. This includes physical injuries you suffer at work, such as back injuries from heavy lifting or slips and falls. It also covers occupations illnesses that develop over time from repeated job site exposures, such as lung diseases from asbestos.
Injuries that happen during normal work activities, like typing reports at your desk, are typically covered. So are injuries stemming from company-sponsored events, as these are usually considered part of the job.
What Benefits Does Workers’ Comp Provide in Philadelphia?
If your claim is accepted by your employer’s workers’ comp insurer in Philadelphia, benefits should kick in promptly. These include:
- Full coverage of all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to your injury, such as doctor’s appointments, surgery, physical therapy, medical devices and prescription medications.
- Temporary wage replacement benefits equal to approximately two-thirds of your average weekly wages, up to a maximum amount set by state law. These lost wages benefits are not taxed.
- Vocational rehab and job placement services if you cannot return to your prior occupation because of permanent restrictions.
- Permanent disability benefits if your injury causes lasting damage that decreases your earning power. The payout amount depends on your wages, degree of impairment, occupation and age.
- Death benefits for surviving dependents if you die of a work-related injury or illness. This compensation can include burial expenses and wage replacement.
What’s the Process for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
The first step is reporting your workplace injury to your manager or supervisor immediately when it happens. There are strict state deadlines for reporting claims – generally within 45 days of the accident. After telling your boss, you’ll need to file the appropriate paperwork to start your claim. This includes forms like an employee injury report and attending physician’s statement detailing your diagnoses and work restrictions.
Cooperate fully with your employer’s insurance carrier as they investigate your claim. Be prepared to provide witness names, respond to questions about how the injury occurred and attend independent medical exams they schedule. You may also need to give recorded statements. While an insurer can initially deny a claim, you can appeal a claim denial and may need to testify at assigned hearings before a workers’ comp judge.
Throughout the process, keep copies of all paperwork and document any out-of-pocket claim expenses you incur or lost wages from missing work for appointments. Track these carefully as you can request reimbursement.
When Should You Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney?
It’s advisable to consult a seasoned Philadelphia Work Injury Lawyer if your claim gets denied, if you’re not getting prompt medical treatment or wage benefits, or if you’ve been seriously injured and have uncertainties about maximum settlements.
An experienced lawyer understands the claim rules and processes and can guide you through them, request hearings, investigate issues, handle communications and negotiations for you, appeal denied claims and help you pursue fair compensation – especially if issues arise or an insurer disputes the seriousness of your injury and its impact on your wages. Consider hiring legal help from the start for catastrophic on-the-job accidents, traumatic brain injuries or fatalities.
Does Workers’ Comp Cover Injuries to Gig Workers?
Unfortunately standard workers’ comp policies don’t automatically cover gig workers and independent contractors injured delivering rides, food or goods. That’s because workers’ comp insurance only applies to employees of a business, not freelance contractors.
If driving for a transportation network company like Uber or Lyft when you got hurt, you should qualify for some injury protection benefits through their contingent coverage. Food delivery couriers for apps like DoorDash and GrubHub have new insurance funds they pay into to provide medical and lost income help for injured drivers. Self-employed contractors can also purchase their own occupation accident policy.
Protect Your Rights if Injured at Work in Philadelphia
All employees in Pennsylvania have legal rights to workers’ compensation benefits for workplace injuries. However navigating the bureaucracy of the system can be confusing and frustrating if unfamiliar with processes for properly reporting claims, appealing denials and proving eligibility. Consider connecting with an experienced local Philadelphia Work Injury Lawyer for guidance optimizing available benefits so you can focus on healing and getting back to work safely.