Workplace accidents happen–in fact, they impact roughly 2.8 million workers yearly. However, when an accident occurs, you may be wondering what to do if you’re hurt at work. At Munley Law, we support Pennsylvania workers who are in need of legal assistance when it comes to workplace accidents and illnesses and we can do the same for you.
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Process
If you’re hurt at work, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. This is important because your medical files will serve as important documentation for the injury or illness and allow you to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Upon receiving medical attention, injured workers will need to inform their workplace supervisor. This begins the formal process of filing for workers’ compensation. While taking time of off work or missing out on wages may be the last thing on your mind, the National Safety Council estimates that the most common causes of workplace accidents are over exertion and slips, trips, and falls which account for 75% of all nonfatal work injuries that result in time away from work.
Other common workplace accidents include:
- Being struck by a moving object or being caught inside a moving object
- Vehicle accidents
- Repetitive motion injuries
While some of these accidents may seem less severe than others, they can result in serious to fatal injuries.
Informing Your Employer of a Work Injury
Once you have informed your employer of the workplace accident and resulting injuries, they will begin the formal process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. This will likely include the initial accident report, as well as a medical exam by a company approved physician.
These reports allow you to have a complete timeline and expense report of the accident and resulting injuries as well as serves as a guide to the employer on how the accident could have occured in the first place.
As an employee in Pennsylvania, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. If your employer does not permit you to file a claim, or says they do not offer coverage, you will need a workers’ compensation attorney. Nearly all employers in Pennsylvania are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Failure to do so can result in serious penalties and leaves the employer susceptible to lawsuits by injured employees.
When You Can See Your Own Doctor
When undergoing the workers’ compensation process when you are hurt at work, you will have to be examined by a company approved doctor for a period of 90 days following the accident. However, after the 90 days have passed, you will be able to go back to your own provider for any medical treatment.
As you go back and forth between medical treatment providers, be sure to keep documentation of everything. Many people fear that the company doctor is going to claim the injuries are not as severe as they have been made out to be. While this isn’t likely to occur–having records of all medical treatment can help create a timeline of recovery expectations and expenses.
When Do You Get Your First Workers’ Comp Benefits Check
The more promptly you move in notifying your employer and seeking medical attention, the quicker you can expect to receive your workers compensation benefits. You have 21 days from the date of injury to notify your employer to begin receiving benefits. However, you have 120 days from the date of injury to seek benefits at all–however, the more time passes, the harder it can be to receive these benefits.
From the date you notify the employer and they inform the insurance provider of the accident and resulting injuries, the insurance provider has 21 days to either approve your claim and begin benefits, or deny the claim.
What To Do If Your Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you have a few options. However, it is important to know why the claim was denied in the first place.
Common reasons an insurance company might deny a workers’ compensation claim at the first round of submission includes:
- You were late to submit you claim
- Your job injury was not severe enough
- The accident occured because you were under the influence
- The injury or illness is not because of a work accident or work-related condition
- You didn’t get medical attention
While these are all valid reasons a claim gets denied, sometimes workers’ compensation claims are denied on the first round because of other factors like:
- Your employer or the health insurance company filed the paperwork incorrectly
- Your employer claims there were no witnesses
- Your employer said your accident was suspicious
If these are the reasons presented to you for a denied claim, you likely will have strong grounding to appeal.
Appealing a Denied Workers’ Comp Claim
In order to appeal a denied workers’ compensation claim, you likely will want to seek legal advice from a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer. An attorney will have the legal knowledge and skills needed to help during the appeal/claims process and refute most claims for denial.
From there, you, not your employer, can appeal the denial. At this point, your attorney will help you gather the information you need to strengthen your claim and you can request a hearing. It is here your workers’ compensation attorney will be your largest resource, preparing you for any questions that may be posed, as well as collecting all needed information like medical records, accident reports, witnesses statements and/or surveillance footage, and information from family and friends about how the accident has impacted your emotional and mental well-being if applicable.
If still the judge denies your claim, you can appeal that decision. But know, you only have 20 days to do so with the Appeal Board. If for some reason you are denied by the Appeal Board, you can then appeal to the Commonwealth Court. If you are denied there, it may go all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
But know that many times, these cases are settled outside of court, or determined by the judge.
Were You Hurt At Work and Don’t Know What To Do Now? Call Munley Law.
Getting injured at work can be a stressful situation. You worry how the accident will make you look to your co-workers and employer. Then, as you spend more days off the job in recovery, you wonder how you’ll afford the medical bills that started to pile up and your everyday living costs.
After being injured on the job, you need to know who to call — and that’s Munley Law. Our attorneys will guide you through the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation process to ensure that it is a seamless transition into recovery. But, if you’ve already begun your claim and have received a denial of benefits, we can help with that as well.
For over 60 years, the workers’ comp attorneys at Munley Law have been helping injured workers with their accident claims. Let us do the same for you.
Our team of legal and medical professionals can help you gather the medical records, billing, and long-term costs associated with your workplace injury to begin building your claim if you are hurt at work. From there, we’ll call upon witnesses or secure the surveillance footage needed to establish what went wrong in the workplace. Then, we’ll work to ensure that your employer and the insurance companies do right by you so you get the compensation you need. And, if your claim is denied, we’ll take them to court.
For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact the compassionate workers’ compensation attorneys of Munley Law by calling 570-399-0406 or by connecting with us online.