What to Do if You Get Hurt and Your Employer Doesn’t Have Workers Compensation in Pennsylvania

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that compensates employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry administers the state workers’ compensation program. State law requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance under almost all circumstances.

If your employer ignores this law and you get hurt in a workplace accident, such as a slip and fall accident, your employer could be liable. 

What Workers’ Compensation Covers

If you suffer a work-related accident or injury, workers’ compensation will cover a portion of your economic damages, including: 

  • All of your reasonable and necessary medical expenses;
  • Anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of your lost earnings, up to a weekly maximum of $1,273 (in 2023).
  • A lump sum payment for any loss of a body part or function (the loss of a finger, for example) or permanent disfigurement

If you are partially disabled, you can receive up to 500 weeks of partial disability benefits. There is no arbitrary limit on the amount of total disability limits you can receive. However, you cannot receive payment for any noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering.

You Can Sue Your Employer

Your employer cannot evade its obligation to pay you workers’ compensation benefits by simply refusing to buy insurance. If you get hurt, you can sue your employer in court. You may receive compensation if you win or your employer agrees to a settlement. 

File a Claim Through the Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund (UEGF)

The Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund (UEGF) is a safety net administered by the Pennsylvania state government. It provides workers’ compensation benefits to employees whose employers have failed to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer left you high and dry, file a claim with the UEGF to obtain your benefits. 

Strict deadlines apply to UEGF claims, and the UEGF may offer considerable resistance to your claim.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Third-Party Defendant

In this instance, a “third-party defendant” is a defendant other than your employer (you are the first party, your employer is the second party, and your personal injury defendant is the third party). If you were injured by a dangerous condition on a construction site not owned by your employer, you could file a lawsuit against a third-party defendant. In this case, you might file a premises liability claim against the property owner responsible for the dangerous condition.

The downside is that to win, you would have to prove the property owner was negligent and subsequently at fault. The upside is that you could demand full personal injury damages, including 100% lost earnings, pain and suffering, etc.

Penalties Against Employers for Failing to Carry Workers’ Comp

Your employer faces the following possible penalties for failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance:

  • Reimburse the  Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund for any amounts they paid you (a civil offense);
  • Up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine for an unintentional violation (a misdemeanor);
  • Up to seven years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines for an intentional violation (a felony).

In the event of a continuing violation, the state can charge your employer with multiple counts of the above-described offenses. 

Contact a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Yes, you have legal rights, but these rights do not enforce themselves. And it’s not necessarily easy for you to enforce them without the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer. Contact a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer today to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation. The sooner you act, the better your chances will be.

Contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 995-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963