It doesn't matter if you work full-time or part-time. It doesn't even matter if you only work for a two-week stretch during the holidays. If you are employed in Pennsylvania, the odds are extremely high that you are covered by workers' compensation insurance - even if you don't know about it.
The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act obligates nearly all employers to carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees. This applies not only to large corporations but also to small businesses and nonprofits. Even if you are the only person working for your employer, he or she may need to provide coverage for you. It's as simple as that.
Here are a few common questions and answers about workers' compensation:
I wasn't physically injured, but I did become seriously ill on the job. Can I get benefits?
Yes, you can. Workers' compensation covers far more than physical injuries such as broken bones or brain damage. It also covers a wide range of occupational diseases and illnesses. Whether you are a nurse who contracted Hepatitis C or a construction worker who was exposed to asbestos, you can seek benefits.
My employer says that I wasn't employed long enough to qualify for benefits. Is that true?
No, your employer is incorrect. You are covered by workers' compensation insurance the same day you are hired. You don't have to wait for two weeks, a month or a year before you can pursue money and medical help for a work-related injury or illness.
My boss admits he didn't comply with the law, and he didn't buy workers' comp insurance. Am I out of luck?
Not necessarily. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, you may still be able to get medical and financial benefits through the Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund.
So are you saying that I'm absolutely, positively entitled to benefits of some kind?
No, it's not absolutely certain, but it is likely. In some situations - such as if your injury is caused by illegally using drugs or drinking on the job - you may not be covered. Likewise, you may not be covered if you are a farm laborer or volunteer, for instance. In the majority of cases, however, you will be able to pursue medical and financial benefits for on-the-job injuries.
To learn more about the workers' compensation laws in Pennsylvania and how they apply to you, consider contacting an attorney with in-depth experience in this area. He or she can advise you about your particular rights and options.