If you have been injured at work in Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation is meant to protect you. Making the right choices after your injury is crucial to getting the benefits you deserve and ensuring you have the financial support you need as you heal. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the paperwork and any other requirements to establish a claim and recover the compensation you deserve. You work to support yourself, your family and your children. Any setback can impact your ability to pay bills or other daily necessities.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys whether you aren’t sure if you have a claim or you already have a claim started. We’re here to help you!
What Do I Do If I Was Injured on the Job?
If you have been injured on the job, you may need to get emergency help right away. If your injuries are serious or potentially life-threatening, get someone at work to call 911.
To get workers’ compensation benefits, you must report the injury to your employer. Your workplace likely has a process for reporting injuries, so you may need to contact your manager, supervisor or another person of authority at your company. When reporting your injury in the workplace, report the time and date of the incident and tell your employer or supervisor you were hurt during the course of employment.
You have 21 days from the date you were injured to tell your employer, so you will want to make your report as soon as possible. If you fail to report your injury within this timeframe, you will not necessarily lose your right to make a claim, but possible benefit payments may be delayed. If you do not report your injury within 120 days, however, you lose your right to receive benefits of any kind.
Your employer will then either deny or accept the claim. If your claim is denied, you have the right to file a claim petition and appear before a workers’ compensation judge. You will also want to consult with a Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure a legal professional with experience is working to strengthen your case.
I’ve Had a Workplace Accident — What Happens Next?
After you report your injury to your employer, you will need to see a doctor for treatment and to document your injuries. In Pennsylvania, you may need to see a physician approved by your employer. This is only the case if your employer has a workplace list posted of at least six healthcare providers and has accepted your claim. If your employer has provided such an option, you must select a provider from that list for initial treatment and for the first 90 days of treatment. You can change to another healthcare professional from the list during your initial 90 days, and you can choose any of them who are posted.
You can pick another provider after the initial 90 days, or before that if your employer does not provide a correct list. You can also choose another healthcare professional at any time, but your employer can refuse to pay for those doctor’s visits if they provide a correct list and you do not visit a medical professional on the list.
While you are seeking or getting benefits, your doctor or healthcare provider will be sending reports and information related to your claim to your employer or their insurance company. For this reason, you must tell your employer where you are getting treatment. Once you receive benefits, your employer or their insurance carrier can ask you to see a physician of their choosing for an examination.
I Need Help With My healthcare
If you are not sure which healthcare provider you can visit or if you are concerned about the providers on your employer’s list, contact a workers’ compensation attorney in Harrisburg, PA or your community. The rules surrounding doctors and healthcare professionals can be challenging, and if you have any questions about your claim, an attorney can address them. You can also contact an attorney if you have any questions or concerns about your benefits.
PA Workers’ Compensation Act
Effective in 1915, the PA Workers’ Compensation Act, originally called the Workmen’s Compensation Act, was created to address the needs of injured workers. Before this legislation, workers would file suits under common law when they were injured at work, but in many situations, it would take years for the cases to work their way through the courts, leaving injured workers without income for the duration.
Once this Act went into effect, workers gave up their right to bring these suits against employers, and the process of trying to determine liability was eliminated in the case of on-the-job injuries. Instead, regardless of fault, workers injured at work could get benefits, and employers were not held liable.
If you are injured at work, the PA Workers’ Compensation Act ensures you can get benefits. As per the law, your employer is required to pay for workers’ compensation insurance coverage for you, and if you are injured, you may have recourse to benefits. You may also qualify for benefits if you develop a medical condition because of your job or are disabled on the job because your work duties aggravate a condition you have.
The PA Workers’ Comp System
The workers’ compensation system in Pennsylvania can include different benefits, including:
- Lost wages benefits. A worker with a total or partial disability can claim lost wages and get about two-thirds of their average weekly wage, up to maximum weekly PA workers’ comp rates.
- Medical benefits. The employer or their insurance company pays for all needed medical treatment of a work injury.
- Death benefits. If a worker is killed on the job, surviving family members may be eligible for burial expenses and ongoing compensation benefits every week.
- Specific loss benefits. If the use of a body part is lost or an amputation occurs due to a workplace incident, injured workers may be eligible for a one-time sum.
- Illegally employed minor’s benefits. When a minor is illegally employed, additional damages may be paid.
In addition to these benefits, in some cases, it is possible to bring a third-party lawsuit against someone other than your employer who was liable for your injury. Defective machinery, for example, can precipitate this kind of claim.
Workers’ Compensation – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Am I eligible for workers’ compensation?
A: Most workers in Pennsylvania are covered, including workers in non-profits and very small businesses. Longshoremen, volunteers, federal civilian employees, railroad employees, shipyard workers, domestics, harbor employees, agricultural laborers and casual workers are not covered. Some workers are also given exemption from the PA Workers’ Compensation Act for religious reasons.
If you are injured and are not sure you are covered, contact McCarthy Weisberg Cummings, P.C. at (855) 716-2367 for a free consultation.
Q: How much will I get for my injury?
A: Pennsylvania workers’ compensation rates are established and reflect the maximum weekly wage loss benefits you can get. However, your wage loss is also based on your average weekly income, and you may further qualify for other benefits or even a third-party claim.
Your best option to find out how much you may qualify for is to contact a workers’ compensation attorney in your area to discuss the specifics of your situation.
Q: Do I need an attorney?
A: You can file a workers’ compensation claim without the help of an attorney, but many injured workers find they have trouble getting fair benefits for their injuries without legal representation. In addition, denied claims, modification of benefits, inaccurate injury descriptions, incorrect average weekly wage tabulations and other issues can arise when you seek benefits.
In these situations, it can be invaluable to have a workers’ compensation attorney by your side. An attorney seeks to ensure you get the benefits you may be rightfully entitled to.
Q: Why should I contact MWC?
A: You have the choice of many workers’ comp lawyers in PA, but McCarthy Weisberg Cummings, P.C. stands out for our approach to each client. We are always transparent, responsive and professional. We never treat clients like a number. We have helped many Pennsylvania residents get workers’ compensation benefits, and our results and testimonials speak for themselves. Quite simply, we get the results injured workers want and need.
We also offer a free consultation, so you can reach out to us and speak to an experienced lawyer. You can get answers to your questions and get a sense of what we can do for you in your situation with no cost and no obligation. You risk nothing by contacting us for a free consultation to find out how you can get fair compensation for your injuries.
Hurt at Work – Fault of a 3rd Party
In some cases, workplace accidents occur due to employer negligence. In other cases, they are simply accidents. A third-party work accident, however, happens because someone other than the employee or employer was reckless or negligent. A third party work accident can occur due to:
- Contractor or vendor negligence. If someone is hired to work on or near the work premises and their actions lead to the injury of an employee, that contractor or vendor may be held liable if their actions were negligent or reckless.
- Car accidents. If a worker is driving a company car or is performing workplace duties when they are hit by a negligent driver, the at-fault driver may be pursued in a claim.
- Product defects or manufacturer neglect. Sometimes, workers are injured because the equipment or machines they use as part of their job have a manufacturing or design defect. In these circumstances, the manufacturer may be pursued through a claim.
Why Pursue a Third Party Accident Liability Claim?
Many workers are covered under workers’ compensation in the event of an on-the-job injury. However, even if you’re covered, keep in mind this only pays for medical costs and part of your lost wages. You may still have substantial costs to pay out-of-pocket, and you will not be compensated for pain and suffering or any other incidental costs. Pursuing a third-party claim in a workplace accident can help you get fair compensation so you can replace more of your lost income and so you are compensated for the pain and suffering you have experienced.
If you have suffered an on-the-job injury, contact the Harrisburg offices of McCarthy Weisberg Cummings. Our legal team can explain whether you have a claim and can help you pursue a third-party claim if you qualify.
Construction Site Accidents
Construction workers put their personal safety on the line every day they go to work. A defective scaffold, a dangerous machine or any type of negligence can result in catastrophic injury or wrongful death.
If you are injured while working on a construction site in Pennsylvania, you are entitled to benefits from workers’ compensation regardless of fault. However, workers’ compensation benefits are limited and your family can suffer financially if you are unable to return to work fairly quickly.
In exchange for providing workers’ compensation, employers are generally protected from employee lawsuits for on-the-job injuries, except in cases of extreme negligence. However, many other parties may not be protected. If you are injured due to the negligence of someone other than your employer, you may have a right to pursue additional compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Examples of other parties who may be responsible for your injuries include:
- Scaffold injuries: The company that manufactured or installed the scaffold may be responsible.
- Ladder injuries: The manufacturer may be responsible.
- Equipment injuries: The manufacturer of nailers, conveyor belts, and other equipment may be responsible for defects or unsafe design.
- Auto accident injuries: The other driver may be responsible.
- Injuries caused by dangerous property conditions: The owner of the work site may be responsible.
- Building collapse injuries: The property owner or whoever caused the collapse may be responsible.
Contingency fee representation: Typically, our lawyers handle construction accident cases on a contingency basis. This means we do not charge attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.
Industrial Plant Work Accidents
Any type of negligence in a factory, drilling operation, gas storage facility or other industrial settings can put workers at risk of serious injury or death. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an industrial accident, now is the time when you could benefit from legal advice.
When a serious accident occurs in an industrial setting, companies often steer employees to filing a workers’ compensation claim. While workers’ compensation can provide needed financial help at a critical time, it may not be your only source of recovery.
If your injury was caused by the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to pursue a lawsuit against the negligent party. Examples of negligence in industrial accidents include:
- Chemical spills
- Improper storage or handling of dangerous chemicals
- Gas explosions
- Plant explosions
- Drilling accidents
- Truck accidents
- Unsafe equipment
- OSHA safety violations
- Faulty electrical work
In exchange for providing workers’ compensation, employers are generally protected from employee lawsuits for on-the-job injuries, except in cases of extreme negligence. However, other parties such as contractors, suppliers, and equipment manufacturers are not protected.
Contingency fee representation: Typically, our lawyers handle industrial accident cases on a contingency basis. This means we do not charge attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.
Consult with an experienced attorney
To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call 717-260-3854 or contact us online. We represent clients in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and throughout the state.