The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry requires that all workers who suffer an occupational illness or injury file a claim within a specified period of time in order to qualify for disability payments from the state. How soon you're required to report an injury or illness depends on whether you're looking to receive workers' compensation for those injuries and whether a death resulted from it.
Generally, employers are required to report any employee's occupational injuries or illnesses to the state within seven to ten days of their onset if workers' compensation coverage will be requested to pay for them. This includes any injury in which a lost wages claim will be filed or one in which an employee suffers a disfigurement.
There's one exception to this rule. If a worker develops an occupational disease resulting in death, then an employer is required to report those cases within 48 hours of it having occurred.
While the state encourages any employees to report their illness or injuries to their supervisors as quickly as possible, such instances must be reported to them within 21 days of them having occurred for a worker to be able to claim retroactive benefits. The one exception to this rule is if the employer was made aware of, yet didn't report, the injury during that time frame themselves.
Any employee that reports an injury to an employer more than 120 days after it occurred stands to not receive any workers' compensation benefits unless it can be proven that their employer already was advised of it.
An employee who develops an illness or is injured on the job has the option of relying on their employer to report an incident, reporting it on their own or having a personal representative do it for them. Even if an injury is reported and you've been under the care of a doctor for it, then your claim can still be denied simply because of the untimeliness of your filing. In such cases, it may be helpful to have a workplace injuries attorney on hand who is knowledgeable about all sources of benefits you can file a claim for in your situation.