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Workers' Compensation

The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation laws provide benefits for employees who are injured or develop a disease related to their employment.  Workers' Compensation is administered by the Bureau of Workers' Compensation of the Department of Labor and Industry in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

An employee is required to notify their employer of a work injury.  The employee must notify the employer within 21 days of the work injury, or no compensation benefits are due until notice is given.  If the notice is provided within 21 days, compensation is due from the date of injury.  If notice is not provided to the employer within 120 days after a work injury, no compensation is payable and the employee loses the right to benefits and the claim is barred.

 The workers’ compensation law provides two types of benefits to employees injured in their employment – lost wages and payment of medical treatment.  Lost wages are paid if, because of work injury, you are unable to work at all, you are working at a lower paying job, or you are working reduced hours.  The amount paid for lost wages is based on a percentage of your average weekly wage.  You are also entitled to payment of all reasonable and necessary medical bills related to your work injury.  The amount of the medical bill that is paid is set by the Bureau of Workers Compensation, but the employee is not responsible to pay for any reduction.  You are not entitled to compensation for pain, suffering or inconvenience for a work injury.

If your employer or its insurance carrier denies the claim of a work-related injury, you must file a claim petition in order to receive benefits.  The petition has to be filed with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers' Compensation Bureau within three (3) years of the date of injury or disease, whether or not you have lost any wages from the injury.  The failure to file the claim petition within this time period will result in your claim being dismissed. 

A claim petition, or any other challenges to the right to obtain workers’ compensation wage loss or medical benefits, is decided by a Workers’ Compensation Judge in the County where the employee resides.  The judge can hear disputes over whether an employee is entitled to benefits, whether the employee’s benefits should be stopped or modified, whether certain medical treatment is related to the work injury, and whether the work injury is resolved.

Employees who develop an occupational disease from their employment, or who suffer the loss or amputation of a part of their body or serious and disfiguring scarring to the face or neck from a work injury, are also entitled to certain benefits.  Workers’ Compensation claims and benefits also can be settled by payment of a lump sum amount. 

Workers’ Compensation issues can be very complicated to employees and employers alike, with occupational disease cases having some rules different than injury cases.  For this reason, attorneys are often involved in Workers’ Compensation cases.  The Workers’ Compensation Judge will give an employee an opportunity to hire an attorney once a case gets before the judge.  Before then, attorneys who practice in the area of Workers’ Compensation can provide guidance and counseling on the rights and remedies that employees and employers have under the law.  For employees, the attorney’s fees in Workers' Compensation cases are usually paid on a contingent fee basis out of the amount of wage loss benefits paid, with the maximum set at twenty percent (20%).  Attorney fees are subject to the approval of the Judge.

The information provided in this message is only a very general description of Workers' Compensation law.  In actuality the law can be quite complex and, depending on your individual circumstances you may need much more information than is available on this tape.  We recommend that you contact an attorney who is familiar with Workers' Compensation law in order to determine if legal representation is advisable in your case.

If you need an attorney and don't have one, the Lawyer Referral and Information Service can help.

Call Us Monday - Friday from 8:30 AM - Noon and 1:15 PM - 3:00 PM at (814) 459-4411.