Who is covered under the Pennsylvania workers compensation law?
Almost every one who works in PA is covered. Your work injury is covered by the Pennsylvania workers compensation law for injuries that occur in the “course and scope” of your employment. However that does not require you to be injured on the employers premises or even “on the clock”. If you are injured just before or after your shift starts, or if injured away from the workplace but while performing activities that are in furtherance of your employers business, you are probably eligible for benefits under the law. You should consult with a qualified lawyer such as Dan Bricmont. Dan is a Certified Specialist in Workers Compensation Law having fulfilled the rigorous requirements and passed the test administered by the Pa. Bar Association as permitted by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Generally, injuries sustained while “coming and going” to work are not covered by the workers compensation law, but there are exceptions to that rule as well, particularly for those occupations that are considered “travelling employees” so it is advisable to consult with a qualified lawyer.
What do I have to do to get Workers Compensation benefits?
An injured employee MUST give the employer notice that they were injured at work within 120 days of the injury. If you are injured in the course of your work duties tell your supervisor or manager as soon as possible. Give the details — how the injury occurred, when and where it occurred, what part of the body was injured, or what symptoms you have noticed. The Act then requires the employer to investigate your claim and either admit or deny responsibility for workers compensation benefits.
My employer wants me to go to specific medical practice to treat my work injury?
If your employer has established a “panel of medical providers” to treat work place injuries, you generally must treat with a “Panel Physician ” for the first 90 days following your work injury. Like all rules, there are exceptions, for example the panel is required to have at least 6 different providers, and the worker is permitted to choose among those 6. If you have questions about getting medical treatment in the first 90 days following your injury, consult with a qualified attorney.
Dan Bricmont is also a Fellow of the College of Workers Compensation Lawyers, a national honor society which recognizes only a small class of lawyers who practice in the field of workers compensation. To be eligible a lawyer must be nominated, submit references and be elected by vote of the governing Board. The standard requires the lawyer to have distinguished themselves in their practice in the field of workers’ compensation. For more information about this distinction click here.
During the first 90 days an injured worker can get a second opinion from a different doctor on the Panel list. Importantly the panel physician rules DO NOT prevent the injured worker from seeing their own physician — as long as the worker has a way to pay for it – because the workers compensation insurance carrier will not have to pay that bill if a valid list of panel providers is in place. In some circumstances it may make sense to challenge the panel list, but only after consultation with an experienced lawyer.
If your claim is denied…..
Consult with a lawyer right away, you have a number of options to discuss, including filing a formal claim for benefits with a workers compensation judge. You may also have other benefit options such as unemployment compensation, social security benefits, or short or long term disability insurance claims. You may be able to get the injury treated up a group health plan or even a government agency health plan. Be sure to consult with a qualified lawyer to find out what options are best for your circumstances.
Dan Bricmont, Attorney at Law
606 California Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15202