What Happens When You’re Injured at Work in Bethlehem?
A historical city along the Lehigh River, with the picturesque Monocacy Creek flowing alongside some of PA’s oldest architecture, Bethlehem has so much to offer. From its rich industrial and American colonial history to annual celebrations attended by visitors from all US states and beyond such as the Celtic Classic and Musickfest, Bethlehem is experiencing “an economic and cultural renaissance promising a future as bright as the city’s past.” Bethlehem is a city of 72,000 residents and is always growing, developing economically, and adapting to the times.
If you work in one of Bethlehem’s many industries, you know you are a vital part of the area’s economic growth. Bethlehem shines culturally and economically thanks to our hard-working employees in every economic sector: Warehousing, manufacturing, transportation, education, healthcare, retail and hospitality, and all else Bethlehem has to offer the Lehigh Valley.
So what happens when you become hurt at work?
If you are an injured worker, you have the right to receive help with your medical expenses and lost wages through PA workers’ compensation insurance. If you or a loved one is suffering from a work-related injury call the experienced Bethlehem workers’ compensation attorneys at Munley Law. We will help you file your paperwork, we’ll answer your questions and we will fight for you to receive the workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to.
Call us today at our Lehigh Valley offices or fill out our online form for your free case evaluation. An attorney with expertise in worker’s compensation law will help guide you to your next steps.
What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated insurance program (also known as workman’s comp or workers comp) that provides benefits to workers in the form of financial relief for job-related injuries and illnesses. Most employees in PA are covered by workers’ compensation regardless of their status as part-time or full-time and regardless of their immigration status.
Workers’ compensation insurance was mandated in 1914 by the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act to protect workers and employers. It is a safety net for workers who become injured or sick as a result of job-related duties.
You are entitled to collect workers’ compensation for medical expenses and lost wages when you suffer a work-related injury or aggravate an existing medical condition while on the job or if you develop a work-related occupational disease.
All PA employers are obligated by the state to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
How Do I File a Claim for Worker’s Compensation Benefits?
There are many steps and deadlines that need to be met for your claim to be successful.
When you are injured on the job, notify your employer immediately. If you are seriously hurt, seek medical treatment and then follow up with your employer, in writing, notifying them as soon as you can after the injured occurs.
- Seek Medical Attention
You should seek medical attention immediately following a work-related injury. If you hold off going to the doctor, your employer and their insurance company can use that gap to deny your claim. They can argue that the injury must not have been serious because you waited to get medical care.
Keep detailed records of each visit. Make sure to inform your doctor you are there because of a work injury and ask him or her to make a note of that in your records. Keep all the bills for hospital stays, ambulance rides, physical therapy, prescription medicine, and follow-up appointments. Your workers’ compensation lawyer will use all this documentation for your claim.
- Notify your employer. Preferably in writing.
Be sure to include all of the details about the location, date and time, and circumstances of the accident or incident leading to the injury.
If you have an existing injury aggravated by work duties, an occupational disease, or an injury sustained over time, notify your employer as soon as you receive your official diagnosis.
- Your employer provides you with the necessary forms to complete and return
Once you report your injury or illness, your employer will provide you with your claim form which is to be filled out and returned to them. This form will request all of the details of the injury or illness. You should also receive a “report of injury” form which will be submitted to the state Workers Compensation Board.
- Your employer reports your injury or disease to the state and files your claim with their worker’s compensation insurance company
Your employer will send the claim form to your workers’ comp insurance carrier and your doctor will submit an additional medical report testifying to your injury or illness.
- The insurer receives your claim and now decides to approve your claim or deny it
Once your claim is filed, it will be in the hands of your employer’s workers comp insurance company to approve or deny your claim to workers comp benefits.
Your Munley Law Bethlehem workers comp attorney knows workers’ compensation law and can help you file your forms correctly, make sure you meet deadlines, and that all steps are followed correctly.
If your claim is approved, your attorney will fight to make sure you are receiving your maximum benefits and will negotiate a settlement, if appropriate. In the event of an initial denial, your attorney will file your request for review and will be prepared to go to trial, if necessary.
How Long Do I Have to File My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania for filing your worker’s comp claim is three years from the date of your work-related injury or diagnosis of your work-related injury or illness.
Can My Employer Fire Me for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim in PA?
No. It is against PA state law to retaliate against an injured worker for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits for work-related injuries or occupational disease. This is one of our most frequently asked questions. Injured workers have a right under the law, mandated by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act to collect workers comp insurance for their workplace injuries.
If you have questions about your rights under the law, call the workers’ compensation attorneys at Munley Law today. Let us review your claim for free. Chat live, fill out our contact form, or call today. We do not collect a fee for our services unless we succeed in recovering your benefits. Se habla Espanol.
Are All Employees Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Yes, as a general rule, with very few exceptions.
Pennsylvania state law requires that all employers purchase workers comp insurance coverage regardless of how many employees they have.
Every employee, including full and part-time, seasonal, and temp in Pennsylvania has the right to collect worker’s compensation benefits if they are injured in a work-related accident.
There are a few exceptions. Traditional workers’ compensation insurance may not cover business owners, volunteers, or independent contractors. Also, some employees, such as federal employees or those who work for the railroad, generally have specialized workers’ compensation insurance.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Long-Term Conditions and Illnesses?
The PA Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Disease Acts mandate that all employers carry workers’ compensation insurance. If an employer fails to comply with state law they can be subject to fines, imprisonment, or both.
Coverage for all employees affected by the acts begins on their first day of employment. Your workers’ compensation benefits begin the day after the state receives your completed workers comp claim application provided the forms are completed correctly.
If your injury or disease is found compensable, you are entitled to receive approximately two-thirds of your salary. This wage loss benefit is paid for the time lost from work related to your injury or illness. The payments are made for the entire duration of your disability. Total disability is paid as long as you are unable to work due to your compensable injury or disease.
An employee can collect workers comp benefits until:
- You return to your full, pre-injury employment
- You have completed your medical recovery and have no work restrictions
- You are medically allowed and able to preform other employment that is made available to you if it incurs no loss in earnings compared to your pre-injury employment
What Will My Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?
Workers’ compensation insurance provides wage-loss and medical benefits to compensate employees who are injured, contract a disease or have a condition worsen as a result of employment, regardless of the employee’s previous medical or physical condition and without regard to the employee’s fault in most cases.
If you suffer from a work-related injury, your employer or its insurance company must pay for reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to the injury.
Medical coverage includes:
- Services rendered by physicians or other health care providers
- Reasonable surgical and medical services needed
- Hospital treatment, services, and supplies
- Orthopedic supplies such as braces, walkers, wheelchairs
- Prescription medicine and prescription appliances and supplies
- Physical therapy
I Have a Pre-Existing Condition. Can I File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act applies to all work-related injuries or illnesses. A pre-existing condition does not prevent you from receiving PA state workers comp benefits as long as you can demonstrate that your pre-existing problem was aggravated or its progression has been accelerated as a result of a workplace accident or as a result of regular job duties.
Report your condition to your employer as soon as you receive your diagnosis from your medical provider.
Do All Workers’ Compensation Cases End in a Settlement?
Not all, but many workers comp claims end with an equitable settlement agreed upon by all of the parties involved. As an employee in the state of Pennsylvania, you have options regarding workers’ compensation settlements. Your Munley Law workers’ compensation attorney is highly skilled in workers comp law. We can offer legal advice and strategies so you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your occupational injury or disease.
There are two types of settlement you can receive through negotiation with your employer’s insurance company:
A Lump Sum Settlement
A lump sum settlement, or a compromise and release agreement, is when an employee settles a workers’ comp claim by giving up all rights to the workers’ compensation benefits in exchange for a single largerA sum of money.
Lump sum settlements are a good option for the employee if you have reached your maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement is when you’ve recovered as much as possible from your injury and no further recovery is possible. If this is the case, the lump sum payment would be based on total permanent disability.
A lump sum settlement may be reached when you suffer a specific loss injury. A specific loss injury is when your injury results in permanent scarring and/or disfigurement. It could be the loss of a limb or impaired use of a body part. Specific loss injury compensation can continue to be paid even if you return to work.
There are situations where the employee is already receiving payments for their workers’ comp benefits but requests them in a lump sum. This is called “commutation of compensation.” When you request this type of lump sum, you will not have to give up your other benefits, such as medical treatment.
A Structured Settlement
A structured settlement is when you negotiate to receive your money in a structured payout over time, either monthly, yearly, or every few years. This may be the best option for you if you are concerned about any tax implications of a lump sum settlement or if you’d rather stretch the payments over time to cover future expenses.
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys workers’ compensation attorneys offer free consultations so you can discuss all your legal options with a seasoned lawyer. Call today for a no-obligation consultation to discuss all your workers’ compensation options that would work best for you and your family.
How Much Will My Bethlehem Workers’ Compensation Attorney Cost?
When you have been hurt at work you might be overwhelmed and scared by what lies ahead. Not only are you recovering from an injury, or possibly a serious illness, but you have medical expenses, doctor visits, you are missing work and you are struggling with how to cope with lost wages.
Munley Law workers’ compensation attorneys are a Pennsylvania family helping injured Pennsylvania workers. We have more than 60 years of experience fighting for the rights of workers in Bethlehem and throughout the Lehigh Valley. We can help you navigate though this difficult time.
Your consultation with your attorney is free. Munley Law works on a contingency basis. We don’t get paid until we win your case.
We have the legal expertise, negotiating experience, and decades of trial know-how to help you succeed with your workers’ comp case. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. Se habla Espanol.