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Workers' compensation and how it works for you

Workers' compensation is activated when you are injured while on the job or get a work-related sickness. The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, has a contingency in it in case you need your medical fees paid. It also offers wage compensation while you are recuperating. In the very unfortunate event that a person perishes on the job, the surviving family will be compensated.

There are two avenues that pay workers' compensation claims: private insurance companies and the State Workers' Insurance Fund, which is the state-run worker's compensation insurance carrier.

Almost every person employed in Pennsylvania is covered by the PWCA. It is a law that employers provide workers' compensation coverage for all its employees, no matter if it is a publicly held company, a private company, a not-for-profit company or a religious organization. Seasonal and part-time workers are included in the PWCA.

If you are injured due to the employment you engage in, you are entitled to workers' compensation. Your employer may deny the claim, so you may want to have an attorney by your side who will fight for your rights under the law.

If the injury was self-inflicted, you probably won't get compensated, but your employer has to prove this as true. If you were violating the law, you may not be able to claim workers' compensation. Were you on illegal drugs and got injured? Again, the employer has to prove this, so having a lawyer at a time like this can be a valuable asset.

The question arises as to how you get the benefit of workers' compensation. Promptly reporting is absolutely necessary. Report to your manager or supervisor immediately if you are injured or think you are sick because of something at work. Tell them the circumstances, when it happened and where. This is extremely important because failure to report can mean you won't be compensated.

Having someone in your corner who knows the laws of the state of Pennsylvania can be a game-changer.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, "Workers' Compensation & the Injured Worker," accessed June 02, 2015

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