5 facts about Pennsylvania workers' compensation

On-the-job injuries can lead to costly medical care and time off work. Workers shouldn't be held responsible for those costs. Therefore, employers in Pennsylvania must have workers' compensation coverage for their employees. Without this coverage, employees would either have to cover all of those costs or employers would have to pay them.

If you have suffered a workplace injury, you should remember these points about workers' compensation coverage in the state.

Employers must provide coverage

All employers, with very few exceptions, must provide workers' compensation coverage for all employees. This includes employers that only have one employee and those that employ seasonal or part-time workers. If a company's workers, such as railroad workers or seamen, are covered under another program, those employers don't have to provide workers' compensation coverage.

On-the-job injuries and occupational illnesses are covered

Workers' compensation coverage isn't limited only to injuries that occur during an accident at work. This coverage also applies to workers who suffer occupational illnesses or injuries. This means that a worker who suffers carpal tunnel syndrome or a lower back injury because of repetitive motion would be covered. Similarly, a worker who suffers from asbestosis because of asbestos exposure at work would also be covered.

Time limits apply

There are specific time limits that apply to these cases. You must notify your employer of the injury or issue within 21 days of the accident. If you wait longer than this, no compensation can occur until notice is given. No compensation can be made if notification isn't made within 120 days of the injury. If your claim is denied by the employer or by the carrier of the insurance, you have three years to file a petition to claim benefits. This time limit starts on the date of the injury, not the date of the denial.

Choice of medical providers

You have the right to choose the medical provider that you see for the injury. If your employer provides a list of at least six providers, you must choose one of those providers for your initial treatment. After 90 days, you can switch to a different provider even if the new provider isn't on the list. The exception to this is if the initial provider recommends an invasive procedure. In that case, you can seek a second opinion from another provider. However, the initial provider must complete the procedure if you opt to proceed with it.

Different types of benefits are possible

There are different types of benefits that might be possible through workers' compensation coverage. These include death benefits if a worker succumbs to the injuries. Wage replacement, disability payments, and medical care coverage are also possible.

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