Hurt at Work? How to Protect Your Interests
It’s one of those situations that can threaten your livelihood – your ability to put food on the table at home, pay the mortgage and keep up with the bills.
You are injured on the job, and it is preventing you from returning to work.
What do you do?
Under Pennsylvania law, employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, which provides a framework for injured workers to receive benefits if an injury or illness occurred while they were on the job.
If you’ve been hurt at work, you need to follow a very specific course of action if you want to protect your ability to collect benefits. Here’s what to do right after your injury:
- Tell your employer you were hurt while at work. Don’t delay in informing them. Ideally, you should notify your boss immediately after you sustain the injury or get sick. You must notify your employer within 120 days of when you were injured to be eligible for any benefits. Any delay in notification can make it more likely your claim will be denied.
- See a doctor immediately. If your injury is severe, report to the emergency room. If you don’t feel you need emergency treatment, ask your supervisor if there is a list of doctors you should see for a work-related injury. this list should be posted prominently in a public location such as a break room. If there is no panel list, you may see any doctor you choose. At your appointment, make sure the doctor notes that this was a work-related injury. This is crucial to the process of proving your claim. Moreover, this means the physician treating you will submit your medical bills to your employer’s insurance carrier for payment.
- Start the claims process. Once you’ve informed your employer of what has happened, they should submit a report to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, which starts the official claims process. The insurance company has 21 days to decide whether they will accept or deny your claim for benefits. You should receive documentation in the mail regarding your claim. If you don’t receive this documentation, follow up with your employer to make sure your claim was filed.
Once all is in place, consult a lawyer. Navigating the complicated workers compensation claim process can be confusing and overwhelming. It has multiple deadlines and requirements attached to it. If you do not understand the process or miss a deadline, you could jeopardize your claim, and it may limit or altogether erase your ability to collect any compensation.
Jack Goodrich and Associates offers a no-cost personal consultation concerning your case and will advise you on how we can help.
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