An overview of what is covered by workers' compensation

Thousands of employees in Pennsylvania apply for workers' compensation benefits every year. But, do all of those applications for benefits get approved? No, they do not. Why would an application for workers' compensation be denied? Well, the most common reason is that the injury or illness that the workers are listing on their applications did not occur in relation to their workplace responsibilities.

The connection between the injury or illness and the workplace is crucial to being successful in filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits. Unsafe working environments and employer negligence lead to workplace accidents frequently, and these are the types of instances in which employees in Pennsylvania would find themselves entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits. In fact, these types of accidents are exactly why the workers' compensation program was implemented.

The system was not implemented to cover workers who either intentionally injury themselves, or who engage in activity that is outside of the scope of their employment responsibilities and become ill or get injured. And, workers who are attempting to do their jobs while intoxicated - either under the influence of alcohol or drugs - usually are not entitled to workers' compensation benefits if they suffer a job injury.

In short, workers' compensation benefits are intended for those workers who are doing everything as they should be doing it, but end up suffering an injury or becoming ill in the course of their employment duties. And, the good news is that employees are entitled to certain aspects of workers' compensation - namely medical benefits - on day one of the job.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, "Workers' Compensation & the Injured Worker," Accessed Sep. 19, 2015

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