Five important workers' compensation questions and answers

An on-the-job injury can be devastating to your physical, emotional and financial health. If you or someone you love has been hurt in the course of employment, it's important to know your rights and take steps to protect them. Read on for some of the most common workers' compensation questions and their answers.

Do I have to report an injury to my employer even if it's minor?

To benefit from workers' compensation, you must fulfill certain obligations. One key requirement is that you report your injury to your employer within 120 days of the accident. However, it is better to report the injury right away, then contact an attorney as soon as possible.

What medical bills will workers' comp cover?

Workers' compensation medical benefits can cover doctor visits, chiropractic care, medical equipment and medication, health club memberships, ongoing care and any modifications necessary to make your home or automobile accessible.

Can I choose my own doctor?

Pennsylvania law regarding doctor choice is complex, so it depends. You are required to choose a doctor from your employer's list of approved workers' compensation doctors during the first 90 days of treatment. After that period has passed, you may switch to a doctor of your own choosing. This is one reason why it's important to begin treatment as soon as you are injured - so that you can work with your own doctor as soon as possible if you choose. There is an exception when your injuries require surgery, in which case you may choose your own doctor at any time.

How much money can I expect from workers' compensation?

In addition to medical benefits to cover the cost of treating your injuries, you may also be eligible for wage replacement benefits. The maximum allowable weekly compensation rate in Pennsylvania is $932 per week until your doctor authorizes you to return to work.

What can I do if my employer or insurer treats me unfairly?

If you have any concerns about your rights while pursuing a workers' compensation claim or suspect that you're not being given what you are entitled to under the law, it is best to speak with a lawyer. A knowledgeable workers' comp attorney can make sure your rights are protected.

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