A person who gets hurt or sick at work will probably care more about getting their rightful compensation as soon as possible than knowing the nuts and bolts of the workers’ compensation process. However, for those looking for a brief overview, here is a summary of how workers’ compensation works in Pennsylvania, as provided by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
First, employers are required to give their employees notice of whom to contact in case of a workplace injury. This can be the employer’s insurance company, a third-party administrator or an internal contact person.
When an injury actually occurs, the victim is supposed to tell his or her employer within 21 days. If he or she does not report it within 120 days of the date or injury or being diagnosed with a work-related disease, he or she cannot collect workers’ compensation, except in the case of some slow-developing diseases. From there, the employer must report the incident to its insurance company or in-house person responsible for workers’ compensation claims.
Within 21 days of the employee filing a claim, he or she is supposed to be notified if the claim has been approved, denied, or if the employer or insurance company needs more time. If an extension is needed, the victim will receive payments for 90 days while the investigation continues.
If the claim is approved, the victim will receive benefits until he or she returns to work, or the benefits are terminated for another reason, which the worker can contest.
If the claim is denied, the affected worker can appeal to the state Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, and then to court if necessary. The entire process can be easier and more successful with the help of an experienced attorney.