Workers’ Compensation Frequently Asked Questions

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a system that reimburses employees for medical treatment and lost wages for work-related injuries and disease. Employers must have workers’ compensation insurance coverage in Pennsylvania to cover these expenses (with some exceptions.)

Workers’ compensation is also known as workman’s comp, workman’s compensation, and workers’ comp.

How should I inform my employer if I’m injured?

Report any injury or work-related illness to your employer or supervisor immediately. A conversation is acceptable, but an email or text is preferable. Tell your employer that you were injured at work and include the date and place of injury. Failure to notify your employer can result in the delay or denial of benefits.

Pennsylvania requires you to inform your employer of an injury no later than 120 days after the injury.

How much time do I have to file a workers’ comp claim?

In general, you should tell your supervisor or boss as soon as you are hurt, even if you think it is a minor injury or will go away without requiring medical care. In the case of a work-related injury, you must give your employer notice no later than 120 days after the injury for compensation to be allowed.

In the case of an occupational disease, injury/disability must occur within 300 weeks from the date of last employment in an occupation in which the employee had exposure to a hazard, and a petition must be filed no later than three years from the date of injury/disability.

Failure to file a petition in a timely basis may result in forfeiture of your right to benefits.

If you have any questions regarding your workers’ compensation claim, contact Aversa and Linn to assist you with understanding your rights under the law.

What types of payments can I receive for a work injury?

Payments for Lost Wages – An employee is eligible for wage-loss benefits if they are totally disabled and unable to work, or partially disabled and earning less as a result.

Death Benefits – If the injury results in death, surviving dependents may be entitled to benefits.

Specific Loss Benefits – If an employee loses the permanent use of all or part of a thumb, finger, hand, arm, leg, foot, toe, sight, hearing or has a serious and permanent disfigurement on their head, face or neck, they may be entitled to a specific loss award.

Medical Care – If a work-related injury or illness is covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act, you are entitled to the payment of related reasonable surgical and medical services, even if you have not lost time from work.

How long can you stay on workers’ comp?

There is no set time limit on workers’ comp benefits, but employers may try to limit how long you are able to collect.

If an employer or insurer has evidence that an employee has returned to work at wages equal to or more than their prior earnings level, they can stop paying benefits after providing timely notice.

Other reasons that benefits may be stopped include: a workers’ comp judge stopped benefits after a hearing; the employee signs either a supplemental agreement or an agreement to stop workers’ compensation (commonly referred to as a final receipt); the 500-week period of partial disability status expires.

Can I collect workers’ compensation benefits if the accident was my fault?

If your work causes an injury, illness or disease, you may be entitled to workers’ comp. However, no compensation will be paid if an injury or death was intentionally self-inflicted, or caused by an employee’s violation of the law including, but not limited to, the illegal use of drugs. Additionally, an injury or death caused by intoxication may not be covered.

Can I file a new claim if I already had a medical condition and an accident makes it worse?

Employees can make a claim for occupational diseases and pre-existing conditions that are aggravated by their job.

What if I am permanently disabled from my work injury?

If an employee is totally disabled and unable to work, they are in Total Disability Benefits Status. After 104 weeks of such status, the employee will typically undergo a medical examination.

If I’m permanently disabled, can I just get a lump sum instead of weekly payments?

Depending on your situation, it may be more advantageous to receive a lump sum. Contact Aversa and Linn to discuss your options.

What can I do if my employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance?

If your employer doesn’t have workers’ comp insurance or is not self-insured for workers’ compensation, you may be eligible for benefits from the Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund.

What do I do if my employer and/or their insurance company denies my claim?

If your request for workers’ comp is denied, contact Aversa and Linn to assist you with filing a petition with the Office of Adjudication. Although you are permitted to represent yourself, workers’ compensation litigation is complex, and your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier will be represented by an experienced attorney. Failure to file a petition in a timely basis may result in forfeiture of your right to benefits.

Do I have to be hurt at work to collect workers’ compensation?

To collect workers’ compensation, the injury or disease must arise during the course and scope of your employment. You don’t have to be physically on the premises of the employer, so long as you are engaged in the “furtherance of the business or affairs of the employer” when the injury occurs.

An occupational disease must have been proximately caused by, or aggravated by, the conditions of your work.

Contact Aversa and Linn to advise you if you were in the course of your employment.