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What is My Responsibility as an Injured Worker in Pennsylvania?

young man with packing boxes grabbing back in painAfter getting hurt on the job, trying to figure out how to file a workers’ comp claim is the last thing anyone wants to do. In that scenario, all anyone wants is to get the medical care they need as quickly as possible. This is why taking time to review and understand your responsibilities in a workers’ comp claim now could greatly benefit you.

At Schmidt Kramer, we have helped a significant number of injured workers over the years. Hiring an attorney to help you navigate the workers’ compensation claim process is not always necessary. However, in more complex cases, such as if you got injured while driving to another site at your boss’s request, you may greatly benefit from having an attorney help fight for your benefits.

Not sure if you need a workers’ comp lawyer? You can call our law offices, night or day. We always have staff available to take your call, and you can quickly request your FREE case review with one of our knowledgeable workers’ comp attorneys in Harrisburg.

What Should Employees Do First After a Work Injury in Pennsylvania?

It can be overwhelming to think about what to do in the first few moments or hours after being injured on the job in Pennsylvania. That said, the state does task you with a few responsibilities. These tasks are important because they help ensure you start receiving workers’ comp benefits as soon as possible.

These steps include:

Seek Medical Care Immediately

Having any extended gaps between when you got injured and when you sought medical care could negatively affect your ability to claim benefits. By gaps, we mean hours to days. The reason for this is simple. Gaps give workers’ comp insurance carriers and your employer room to argue that you could have gotten injured somewhere else.

This brings us to another point we talk about a lot, both in personal injury and workers’ comp claims. Seeking medical care right away means you will have documented medical records, which can help to establish when and how your injuries occurred.

Even more importantly, your health should always be your top priority. You may think that slip and fall only caused you some bruising, but depending on how you landed, you may have internal injuries. For instance, if you struck your head on something during the fall, you could suffer a brain bleed. That is a life-threatening condition if left untreated. There is no way to know if you sustained a brain injury or other internal damages unless you seek medical care.

Report Your Work Injury the Same Day

Technically, you have up to 21 days under workers’ compensation laws to notify your employer about your work injury. If you do not report your injury within 120 days after it occurred, you are barred from seeking workers’ compensation benefits.

We do not recommend waiting even 21 days to report your workplace injury. We strongly recommend notifying your employer about getting hurt on the job for a couple of reasons:

  • It delays the start of your benefits
  • Reporting sooner than later helps you avoid a lot of potential headaches with your claim
  • You could easily lose track of time and miss the filing deadline
  • Your employer or workers’ comp insurance carrier might try to deny your claim
  • If you cannot work and are at home recovering, not reporting your workplace injury could cause you problems at work

Consider Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

As we mentioned above, it is not always necessary to hire a workers’ comp attorney to get the benefits you need. However, injured employees may benefit from a workers’ comp attorney if:

  • Your employer is refusing to file your claim
  • Your claim is denied by workers’ comp even though you are sure it is valid
  • You have a work-related repetitive stress injury or medical illness
  • You need to file an appeal

What if My Injury is Not a One-Time Incident?

If you have a repetitive stress injury, an illness or a medical condition that progressed over time, your responsibility is twofold. First, you should seek medical help as soon as you suspect something is wrong. Some examples:

  • You have pain that does not go away, despite ice, rest and over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Instead of getting better, your pain has continued to worsen – a good example is wrist pain that turns out to be carpal tunnel

The second part of your responsibility is to report this injury as soon as you are aware of it and have a diagnosis.

Repetitive stress injuries and medical illnesses that are work-related are common, but they can also make for a complicated workers’ comp claim. These are situations where you may especially benefit from having an experienced Harrisburg-based workers’ comp attorney manage your case.

What Does My Employer Do After I Report My Injury?

Once you report your injuries to your employer, he or she is required to immediately notify the workers’ comp insurance carrier. He or she must also file form LIBC-500. If your employer is self-insured, then immediate notification should go to the individual or party managing the company’s workers’ comp claims.

Will I Start Collecting Benefits Right Away?

It is important to note that your injuries must require you to miss at least seven days of work before you are eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Once approved, you are eligible to receive lost wages equal to two-thirds of your lost weekly earnings.

Injured workers often have questions about workers comp benefits and when to expect their first check. Pennsylvania has also created a workers’ comp flow chart to help explain that process.

It is a good idea to track the days you miss from work and then review the first check you get to make sure you have been properly compensated.

Is There Anything Else I Have to Do Once My Claim is Approved?

You have a duty to mitigate your injuries – this means doing all you can to get better to help avoid unnecessary costs to your employer and insurance carrier. For example, you should take care not to miss doctor’s appointments or physical therapy. You should also be diligent to do any exercises you are given. It is also important to refrain from doing any activities your doctor restricts you from participating in.

Injured on the Job in PA? Call Our Law Firm to Discuss Your Situation Today

Having a lawyer with extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws can give you the peace of mind you need so you can focus on getting better.

Worried about upfront legal costs? At Schmidt Kramer, you do not pay any upfront costs, and you also pay nothing throughout the legal process. We only get paid for our services if we win through a settlement agreement or jury-awarded verdict. What this means for you is that you can hire a lawyer with no risk to you.

Schmidt Kramer Law. We get results.(717) 727-1403