Many people are devastated when they are injured on the job or suffer from a work-related illness and have to rely on workers’ compensation benefits as income, in addition to recuperating from their injury or illness. If you are employed in Pennsylvania and have a work-related injury or illness, you are covered by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. This act provides payment for medical expenses and a portion of your wages, as well as a death benefit.
What to Do After a Workplace Accident
In the event that you are injured, you must promptly report any injury or illness to your employer or supervisor and explain the nature of your injury as it relates to your work. Once you report the injury, your employer is required to report the injury to the Workers’ Compensation Bureau. At this point, your employer can accept your claim and you will receive the benefits you are entitled to. Or, your claim can be denied.
Appealing a Denied Claim
In the event that your claim is denied, you have the right to file a petition with the Workers’ Compensation Bureau for a hearing before a Workers’ Compensation judge. The Bureau is required to send a denial of the claim within 21 days from the date the employee provided notification of the injury or illness. Once the denial is issued, the claim closes and it is up to the employee to pursue a claim any further.
After receiving the denial, you have up to three years from the date of injury to file a petition for appeal. Once the petition is filed, a judge is assigned to your case and a time and place of a hearing is given. During the hearing, both sides will be able to present evidence, including medical evidence and witness testimony. In some cases, a judge can schedule mediation for the parties instead of a hearing, unless it is obvious that mediation would not be successful.
If the hearing takes place, a written decision is given to the parties once a decision is rendered by a judge and no further action is taken by the judge. Either party has the right to appeal the decision within twenty days from the date the decision is given to the parties. The appeal must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board.
Any step taken past the Appeal Board will have the case entered into the Pennsylvania court system. Meaning, once a decision is rendered from the Appeal Board, either party has 30 days to appeal that decision to the Commonwealth Court. Following this, if party is not satisfied with the decision of the Commonwealth Court, there is a thirty day time period to appeal to Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Based on this process, you can control the path your claims takes by contacting an experienced and knowledge Philadelphia attorney to help you with your workers’ compensation claim from the onset of the injury or illness. The longer you wait to contact an attorney, the longer you may go without your benefits. Contact an attorney for an assessment of your claim today.