If a worker gets hurt on the job in Pennsylvania, they may need to take time away. In minor cases, an individual employee may need to leave before the end of a shift but will be able to return to work the next day. Other times, workers will have significant injuries to address that may require weeks if not months of treatment.

A worker who is on leave for a job-related injury or illness can receive workers’ compensation coverage to replace lost wages and will typically have full coverage for their treatment expenses. When will that worker’s coverage end and their employer require that they return to their job?

Benefits can last as long as symptoms do

The type of condition someone has and the job that they work will influence how much leave is necessary after an injury or diagnosis of a work-related medical concern. In some cases, workers may not need any leave of absence as their employer can offer reasonable accommodations to keep them on the job. Moving them to a different position, letting the worker do their job remotely or even providing assistive technology are all ways in which employers can help someone recovering from a job-related medical issue remain gainfully employed.

In scenarios where a worker’s injury is serious enough or their job is demanding enough to necessitate an actual leave of absence, disability benefits will continue until someone’s symptoms resolve or until a doctor determines that they have achieved maximum medical improvement for their condition. At that point, they may need to pursue partial permanent disability benefits or develop a return-to-work strategy that may involve certain accommodations.

In scenarios where people have lingering symptoms, their medical benefits can continue to cover symptom management, although treatment options may decrease after someone achieves maximum medical improvement for their condition.

The unfortunate truth is that many employees who are unfamiliar with the workers’ compensation program have a hard time advocating for themselves. They may understandably not know how to handle a difficult claim or how to assert their rights when communicating with their employers. Learning more about the basics of Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits with the assistance of an experienced legal professional can be helpful for many people who are facing the aftermath of an occupational diagnosis or a recent incident on the job.