I’m a New Hire and Hurt on the Job: Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?

Injured Construction Worker

As businesses slowly reopen after the coronavirus, some furloughed and laid-off workers are moving into new positions. While they adapt to unfamiliar environments and procedures, they expose themselves to new workplace hazards, which means some could suffer injuries. Although these employees are new to the company, they likely still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. 

How Long Do You Have to Wait Before You’re Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

In general, employees are eligible for workers’ compensation on the day they begin working for an employer. If you slip and injure your leg a few hours into your first day on the job, the state grants you as much protection as someone who suffers the same injury after 10 years in the same position. 

Injured Worker Receiving Treatment

Basic Requirements for Workers’ Compensation

To qualify for workers’ compensation, you must generally meet three requirements:

1. You must be an employee of a company that carries workers’ compensation insurance. Almost all employers, with few exceptions, are required to have this insurance in Pennsylvania.

2. You must have a work-related injury or illness. This generally means your injury occurs or stems from an event in the workplace. In some cases, workers’ compensation covers workers when a pre-existing illness or condition is aggravated by on-the-job activities.

3. You must meet the Pennsylvania deadlines for reporting the injury and filing a workers’ comp claim. Pennsylvania has three important deadlines to meet:

  • 21 days – Pennsylvania grants injured employees 21 days to notify their employer to receive benefits dating back to the time of their injury. If they wait any longer, they may only receive benefits to the time of reporting the injury. 
  • 120 days – The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act grants employees 120 days to report a work injury. In many cases, an employee will not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if they wait longer than 120 days to alert their employer. 
  • 3 years – If your claim is denied, you have three years from the date of the injury to file a petition. 

If you have questions about any of these requirements, reach out to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for guidance.

Procedures for Reporting a Workplace Injury 

If you suffer an injury in the workplace, you should follow the procedures for reporting an injury as quickly as possible:

  1. Seek medical treatment. Your employer may have a list of designated medical providers who can treat your work injury for the first 90 days from the date you first seek treatment. If your employer has a set list, they should have provided a notice for you to sign when you were hired. Your employer should review this list with you when you report your injury.
  2. Report your injury to your manager or supervisor. Explain how the injury occurred and which part of your body was injured. If they are unavailable, call and leave a message, then follow up the next day. 
  3. Ask to fill out an incident report or work accident report form. Always request a copy for yourself. 

Following these steps protects your rights as an employee while ensuring you receive the medication attention you deserve.

When to Seek Legal Assistance

Your employer and their insurance company may take every step possible to reduce the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Protect yourself with an experienced attorney. Contact Dugan & Associates to ensure you receive every penny you are entitled to. 

Think you have a workers’ compensation case?

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