A worker who is injured on the job anywhere in the United States may be entitled to benefits through workers’ compensation. Each state operates its own workers’ compensation system, meaning that the rules, procedures and benefits vary slightly from one state to the next.
Two important differences among states may be the maximum weekly benefit that a claimant may receive and the number of weeks a claimant may collect benefits. Because of slight differences among the states, the question may arise as to where you should file your claim if you are injured.
In most cases, the answer is clear because you only have one option. If your employer is based in Pennsylvania and your injury occurred in Pennsylvania, for example, then you must file your claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
However, consider the following scenarios:
- You are a pharmaceutical representative. Your employer is based in Pennsylvania but your sales area also includes some surrounding states. While at a customer’s office in New York you slip and fall and suffer an injury. Do you file a workers’ compensation claim in Pennsylvania or New York?
- You work for a construction company based in New Jersey but you are contracted to construct a building in Pennsylvania. You are injured in a workplace accident while at the site in Pennsylvania. Do you file a claim in Pennsylvania or New Jersey?
The simple answer is that you may file either of these claims in Pennsylvania. Although you may be entitled to file in New York or New Jersey, depending on the workers’ compensation laws in those states, you are entitled to file for benefits in Pennsylvania.
Another issue that frequently comes up when a worker from out of state is injured in Pennsylvania is whether a pre-employment agreement establishing jurisdiction for a workers’ compensation claim prevents the worker from filing a Pennsylvania claim. The state of Pennsylvania considers these agreements to be unenforceable, meaning that you retain the right to file in Pennsylvania even if you contractually agreed to file in another state.
Because the laws and benefits that could be available if you suffer a workplace injury can vary from state to state, it is in your best interest to consult a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney prior to deciding in which state to file your claim.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident or have an illness that you believe was caused by your workplace, you may be entitled to benefits through the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system. If you have questions or concerns about your legal rights to compensation, contact Shor & Levin, the Bulldog Lawyers, by calling 866-462-8553 or by using our Worker’s Compensation.