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Understanding Workers Compensation Laws

Types of workers comp injuries

The attorneys of the Philadelphia workers compensation law firm of Nass Cancelliere Brenner describe the laws of workers compensation to help clients better understand their legal rights to recover lost wages and benefits.

Workers compensation – what is the law?

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act was established to cover medical expenses for injuries sustained on the job or for illnesses caused by the workplace environment. Additionally, if you are unable to return to work, the Act provides you with “wage-loss” benefits to compensate you until you’re able to return to work. Should you die because of a workplace injury or illness, the Act entitles your family to receive death benefits.

Under the law, who is responsible for paying workers comp?

Workers compensation benefits are paid by either private insurance firms through contracts with businesses or by the State Workers’ Insurance Fund, which is a state-run insurance carrier. If employees are self-insured, they are responsible for paying a portion of their salaries toward workers’ compensation insurance, and so will, in effect, pay themselves back.

Am I covered by workers compensation?

By law, the majority of Pennsylvania workers are covered in some way, including seasonal and part-time employees. Not-for-profit businesses and small business entities must also provide coverage, even if they have only one employee. For certain employees, other compensatory laws apply. These include:

  • Federal civilian employees
  • Railroad workers
  • Longshoremen
  • Shipyard and harbor workers

Some other kinds of workers may not have any coverage, such as:

  • Volunteers
  • Agricultural workers
  • Casual employees
  • House Cleaners
  • Certain types of executives who opt-out of coverage

If for some reason you find that you are not covered by the Workers' Compensation Act, you may be eligible for benefits under the Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund. The Bureau of Workers' Compensation can provide you with more information on this alternative if you contact them at 800-482-2383.

When does my workers' comp coverage begin?

Day 1, as soon as you are hired. Any medical bills are eligible for payment the very day you suffered the injury or discovered your illness, so long as you report the situation immediately, while wage-loss payments kick in after seven calendar days of reported disability. If you remain out on disability for 14 calendar days, you will receive coverage for those 14 days, plus a retroactive payment for the first 7 days you missed. Assuming the workers’ comp insurance carrier doesn’t reject your claim, you should receive your first check within 21 days from when your injury or illness occurred and was reported.

What if the insurance carrier rejects my claim?

Temporary compensation may be paid by either your employer or the insurance company for a maximum of 90 days. If you are advised that you will not be covered past 90 days, you should file a Claim Petition with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, requesting a hearing regarding your benefits. If you haven't already retained an attorney, this would be the time to do so.

Contact our skilled attorneys in Philadelphia today

For more advice on dealing with Workers' Comp laws and what you are due under the law, contact the Philadelphia workers compensation lawyers of Nass Cancelliere Brenner.