Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania workers’ compensation continues to function and cases are proceeding by way of telephonic settlements, hearings and mediations. At the present time, telephonic hearings are anticipated to last through the end of April. Attorneys and Judges are settling into the new routines and it is largely business as usual via social distancing, telephonic and electronic communication. Fortunately, the PA workers’ compensation system was well equipped to handle the present crisis due to an electronic system known as WCAIS already being in place. Certain other requirements have also been suspended by Governor Wolfe to allow the system to operate from a distance.
If you have suffered a work injury your claim can still be filed and assigned to a judge and we are here to assist you in your case. If you were already working while under restrictions for an already accepted work injury and have found yourself laid off as a result of the present crisis and government mandated shut downs you should contact our firm as you may be entitled to a reinstatement of your workers’ compensation wage loss benefits.
Additionally, if you were working under restrictions for your work injury and receiving partial wage loss benefits and subsequently lost your job as a result of the present crisis, then your partial wage loss benefits should continue while you seek a full reinstatement. Even if you were let go and are receiving unemployment compensation benefits, you may still be entitled to receive workers’ compensation wage loss benefits, if you were working under restrictions for an accepted injury.
It is also important that if you receive a document called a Notification of Modification or Notification of Suspension that you contact an attorney immediately, as there are certain time restrictions to respond. Otherwise the insurance company may be able to change your wage loss benefits without a hearing in front of judge.
Additionally, if you contract COVID-19 as a result of your employment, especially if you are working in what has been deemed a “life sustaining/essential business” where there may be greater chance of potential exposure to COVID-129, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation or occupational disease benefits. The PA workers’ compensation system has also issued codes allowing insurance companies to recognize these claims.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Marzzacco Niven & Associates are here for you during these uncertain times to help you navigate all of your issues and questions and assist you in obtaining all benefits to which you are entitled.