If you or a loved one was hurt while at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania. These benefits will provide income for you while you are recovering from your injuries or if you are permanently disabled and cannot return to your job or any other job.
Workers’ compensation can also cover the costs of medical treatment or provide death benefits to surviving dependents of a family member killed on the job.
Workers’ comp benefits are generally available to almost all workers for almost all injuries at work, including workers in the Philadelphia area. However, there are still specific requirements that must be met.
At Shor & Levin, P.C., our PA workers’ compensation lawyers can help you to determine if you qualify for workers’ comp. If so, we can pursue the benefits you deserve.
Our attorneys offer free consultations. You can contact us and schedule one today to get answers to key questions on qualifying for PA workers’ compensation benefits, including:
Does My Employer Provide Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
With a few limited exceptions, every PA employer is required to provide workers’ compensation coverage. The exceptions are volunteer workers, agricultural laborers, domestic employees and employees with personal religious exemptions. Executives within corporations may also opt out.
Outside of these unusual circumstances, PA law says a company with even a single employee must provide workers’ compensation insurance.
Am I Entitled to Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits?
The workers’ compensation laws cover only employees and not independent contractors. If you are a freelance or contract worker and you get a 1099 at tax time rather than a W-2 tax form, then you are not covered under PA workers’ comp law.
Unfortunately, in some cases, employers try to avoid providing workers’ comp benefits to someone who should legitimately receive them. For instance, an employer might contend that you are an independent contractor just to avoid giving you benefits.
Under both PA and federal rules, the label the employer gives you isn’t what determines whether you are an independent contractor or an employee. Instead, factors such as how much control your employer has over your work hours and your work process will determine your eligibility to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
If an employer has incorrectly labeled you as an independent contractor and you get hurt while doing work, you should talk to a PA workers’ compensation lawyer right away for help getting coverage and benefits that the law says you deserve.
Is My Injury Work-Related?
The last key question that determines whether you can qualify for PA workers’ comp benefits is whether your injury is work-related.
If your injury happened as a direct result of doing your job, then it should be considered work-related. Examples are:
- Injuries that happen outside of your normal workplace, such as injuries from a car crash when running errands for your employer. (If you were merely commuting from home to work, however, it would not be covered.)
- Illnesses like mesothelioma or other forms of cancer due to your exposure to toxins at work.
- Repetitive stress conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome that happen because your job puts stress on your body.
Injuries from accidents are covered as long as they happen while you are doing work. If your employer tries to claim it is not, you should speak with a Pennsylvania workers’ comp lawyer right away.
The Process of Qualifying for Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you are eligible to make a workers’ compensation claim, the process should be simple: You simply let your employer know, in writing, about your injury. Your employer is supposed to take it from there and notify the workers’ compensation insurer that covers you. Your benefits should then begin, including coverage for medical treatment as well as disability or lost wages benefits if you cannot work for a while as you recover.
While the system is supposed to work this way, it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, employers or insurers simply don’t do what they should.
At Shor & Levin, we protect workers throughout Pennsylvania who have been hurt at work. We aggressively pursue the benefits they deserve.
If you are concerned about applying for benefits, if your claim is denied or there is a dispute over coverage, call or contact us right away to schedule a free consultation and get help with your case.
For More Information
• Workers’ Compensation, Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation