Being injured on the job can be devastating for numerous reasons. Not only do you have to deal with the pain and suffering from your injury, but you might miss several days or even weeks of work and have medical bills that rack up quickly. Depending on the circumstances of your injury, workers’ compensation may cover you. In some cases, you may have difficulty collecting the compensation you are owed, and that’s when you should work with a personal injury attorney. This guide will discuss the steps to take in order to file a workers’ compensation claim and how an experienced attorney can assist you.
Pennsylvania Work-Related Injuries
A workplace injury is an injury that a worker sustains while on the job or en route to or from their job. The worker must be an employee and not an independent contractor and meet the criteria for being insured.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017 there were 141 recordable workplace injuries and 172 workplace fatalities in Pennsylvania. Almost 30% of non-fatal injuries resulted in the employee missing days from work.
These injuries can alter a person’s life significantly and impact their ability to support themselves and their loved ones. In order to counteract the bills, missed work, and other losses, victims of workplace injuries may be entitled to a settlement that will minimize their financial struggle.
Though most work-related injuries are covered by an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, there are exceptions that employees should be aware of. In Pennsylvania, the following injuries are not covered by workers’ compensation:
- Purposefully self-inflicted injuries
- Caused by a co-worker intentionally harming an employee
- Due to illegal consumption of drugs or alcohol
- Resulting from an assault unrelated to the job
- Caused by the injured employee breaking the law
Outside of these exceptions, your injuries will be covered under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. After being injured, it’s important to take immediate action in order to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Steps for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Follow this procedure after being injured at work in order to receive the compensation you are owed.
Seek Medical Attention
Your health and well-being are paramount after a work-related accident. Contact an ambulance if necessary or have someone drive you to the hospital. Medical professionals will perform a full evaluation in order to spot and treat the injuries you’ve sustained. Be sure to request copies of your medical records and keep all the bills you’ve incurred due to the injury. This will serve as verified documentation of your injuries that will be crucial when filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Report the Injury
Once you’ve received proper medical attention and treatment, report the injury as quickly as possible. Do not hesitate to report as this could cause massive problems for you when attempting to collect compensation. As soon as you can after the injury, write down your recollection of how it occurred and be extremely detailed and thorough. If there were witnesses to the accident, ask them to corroborate your story as this will add credibility to your claim. If possible, snap photos of the scene in order to back up your narrative and find out if there is footage of the incident. Your employer will take it from there and perform a full investigation of the accident so be sure to comply with their procedures.
Keep a Record
Your medical bills are just one aspect of your compensation. After the injury, keep a record of the days you missed work due to recovery time. Also, keep a log of how the injury has affected your day to day life. Injuries may leave you with permanent disabilities or impairments as well as mental illnesses that change the way you live your life completely. These impacts will also be considered by your employer in order to calculate the settlement.
Why You Should Work with a Personal Injury Lawyer
There are some instances in which it would benefit you to seek legal advice for your workers’ compensation claim. A reputable personal injury lawyer will be well-versed in workplace injury cases and be able to guide you through any difficulties.
Rejected claim—If you meet the previously mentioned guidelines for workers’ compensation but your employer rejects the claim, you need to bring in assistance. An attorney will work directly with your employer and fight on your behalf to prove why you are entitled to compensation and maximize your settlement.
Insufficient settlement—If the settlement offered by your employer does not cover all the bills and lost wages you’ve incurred due to the injury, an attorney can put together a case that should increase the payment in order to sufficiently meet your financial needs.
Employer retaliation—Employers are not allowed to punish you for stating your intent to make a workers’ compensation claim or making one. If they do, an attorney can step in to protect your rights as an employee.
Special circumstances—In some cases, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits, therefore, an attorney can help structure your settlement in order to protect it and ensure you receive the proper compensation. Also, if there is a third party associated with your injury, an attorney can assist you as this can complicate the matter and make receiving compensation confusing.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim with a Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer
An experienced personal injury attorney can provide you with guidance and reassurance throughout the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. Donaghue and Labrum has extensive experience with workers’ compensation cases and will work hard to get you the best outcome possible. We have served the community proudly and believe in compassionate service for all our clients. Contact us today to set up your first free consultation.