Have you been hurt at work?
Hopefully you will never get injured at work, but if you are hurt at work, you need to follow these steps from a workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure you have a properly set-up workers’ compensation claim:
REPORT YOUR WORK INJURY TO YOUR EMPLOYER
If you have just been injured you must report your work injury or illness to your employer, and you must do so within 120 days of the work injury or illness occurring. If you just learned that your injury or illness is related to your work activity, then you must report the injury or illness within 120 days of your discovery that the injury or illness is related to your work activity. The law is clear that failure to report your injury within 120 days will bar you from recovering workers’ compensation benefits.
Also, to receive medical payments and wage loss payments for your workers’ compensation injury from the date you were injured, you must report the injury to your employer within 21 days of it occurring. Failure to report the workers’ compensation injury within 21 days of it occurring may result in benefits not being paid from the date of the injury until you reported it. A failure to report your injury in a timely manner could also be used by your employer as a basis to deny your claim.
SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT FROM YOUR EMPLOYER’S LIST OF PANEL PHYSICIANS
After you report your work injury to your employer, you should be provided with a list or directed to a posted list of panel physicians with whom you must seek treatment for the first 90 days of your injury. The list of panel physicians must contain several different physicians or physician practice groups with different specialties. Assuming you were provided with a proper workers’ compensation panel list (ask a workers’ compensation lawyer), you must treat with a doctor on that list for the first 90 days of your injury.
After 90 days, if your claim is accepted, you can treat with a doctor of your choosing and the carrier must pay for the treatment. If you do not treat with a panel list doctor within the first 90 days of your injury, that medical treatment may not be covered by the workers’ compensation insurance company. Also, if your employer does not provide you with a workers’ compensation panel list, you may seek treatment from any doctor for your injury. Generally, if the panel physician refers you to a health care provider that is not included on the panel within the first 90 days of your injury, treatment for that off-panel provider will also be paid by workers’ compensation.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOUR INJURY IS REPORTED
Within 21 days of your report of your injury, the insurance company must either:
1) accept your injury,
2) deny your injury, or
3) temporarily accept your workers’ compensation injury for 90 days.
If your claim is approved, you will start receiving disability payments and your medical bills relating to your injury will be paid.
If your claim was temporarily accepted, the insurance company may terminate your workers’ compensation benefits at any time within 90 days. Unfortunately, insurance companies deny many workers’ compensation claims. If your claim is denied, you need to talk to the experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers at McCormick & Vilushis to file a claim petition to pursue the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.
Is there a time limit for filing a workers’ compensation claim in PA?
Many people may put off notifying their employer of their injury or filing a claim for benefits because they do not know where to begin. However, delaying the filing of a claim can have a devastating effect on a worker’s ability to receive benefits. Failure to file a claim on a timely basis may result in forfeiture of your right to benefits. For this reason, you should never delay in contacting an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer after you have suffered a workplace injury.
The following is a list of deadlines an injured worker should be aware of:
- In Pennsylvania, an injured worker should report a work injury within 21 days after its occurrence to his or her employer. Without this notice, the employer and the employer’s insurer are under no obligation to pay workers’ compensation benefits. However, failure to give notice within 21 days does not preclude a worker from pursuing a legal claim; it only delays possible payment.
- If an injury is not reported within 21 days of injury, then an employee must provide notice to the employer no longer than 120 days after the injury or he or she will lose the right to receive any kind of benefits. If an injury is not reported within 120 days of injury, the claim is time-barred under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
- If your request for WC benefits is denied by your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier, you have three years from the date of injury to file a claim petition.
- In occupational disease cases, injury/disability must occur within 300 weeks from the date of last employment in an occupation in which you had exposure to a hazard, and a petition must be filed no later than three years from the date of injury/disability.
- If your benefits were terminated, you may file a petition to reinstate WC benefits within three years after the date of your most recent WC check.
- If your benefits were suspended, you may file a petition to have benefits reinstated. This petition must be filed within 500 weeks from the date of suspension. Payment of medical benefits by your employer does not mean that your claim has been accepted or reopened.
Free Consultation — No Fees Unless We Win — Contact an Erie Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
To speak with an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney about your workers’ compensation claim, contact McCormick and Vilushis today! There are no consultation fees and we charge no attorney’s fee unless we win your case.