Eligibility needed to claim workers' compensation in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act provides medical expense reimbursement if any worker suffers any work-related injury or illness. There is also compensation available for lost wages until the worker can return to work. Also, if a worker dies from a work-related injury or illness, dependents are compensated. All compensation is paid by a private insurance company with whom the employer has coverage, or by State Workers' Insurance Fund for self-insured employers.

All employees, including seasonal and part-time employees, are covered under the Act. Non-profit organizations, unincorporated businesses or a person employing even a single worker need to abide by the requirements of the Act. Federal and civilian employees, railroad employees and ship and harbor employees are covered under different legislation, so they are not covered by the provisions of this Act. Other employees exempt from coverage include agricultural laborers, domestic employees, volunteers and casual employees.

Coverage under the Workers' Compensation Act begins on the day the worker is hired and medical benefits are payable from the day the injury is suffered. No payment will be made if the injury is self-inflicted or has been caused due to the worker violating any law. A worker must be disabled for at least one week to be eligible for payment of workers' compensation for disability. Retroactive payment for the first seven days is made if the worker fails to rejoin work in 14 days.

Employers must be promptly notified of the date and place where the injury occurred. No payment is due unless the worker gives notice to the employer about the injury. Employees must provide notice within 120 days of the date of injury for compensation to be allowed. If a claim for workers' compensation as provided by the Act is denied by the employer or insurer, a worker can file a claim to protest the denial within three years from the date of injury. Failure to file a claim within the stipulated time period may lead to forfeiture of legal rights provided by this legislation.

Source: State.PA.us, "Workers' Compensation & the Injured Worker," Accessed on Nov. 19. 2014

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