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    Workers’ Compensation Law in Philadelphia: What to Know

    Workers’ compensation laws in Philadelphia, PA, came into being in 1915 with the enactment of the Pennsylvania Workmen Compensation Act. According to workers’ compensation lawyers in Philadelphia, the act charges the Department of Labour and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to handle the appeals and administration work. They are also responsible for setting the minimum and maximum compensation employees can claim when injured due to employment, regardless of their fault. 

    As per the various amendments made to this act, compensation for injuries resulting from occupation was added to this act. The stature also defines the conditions under which the compensations are available and how compensation can be obtained. 

    In Philadelphia, PA, the workers’ compensation act protects both the employees and the employers. It protects employees from unsafe working environments and helps them get compensated for lost wages, medical expenses, and other work-related injuries. 

    The act also protects employers from covering the cost of compensation through insurance. It further protects them against lawsuits by employees that are directed towards the recovery of expenses resulting from injuries. 

    What Is Workers’ Compensation in Philadelphia, PA?

    So, in Philadelphia, PA, employers should mandatorily have workers’ compensation coverage under Pennsylvania law. If employers do not have insurance coverage, employees can file lawsuits against them, making them subject to criminal prosecution by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

    However, not all employers need to have coverage in Philadelphia, PA. Some employers are exempted. The employers exempted from workers’ compensation coverage in PA include:

    • Where employees are covered under other compensation acts like railroad workers, federal employees, and longshoremen
    • Domestic servants like household help, caretakers 
    • Agricultural workers who work for less than 30 days or earn less than $1,200 in a year from one employer
    • Employees who have requested to exempt them due to religious beliefs or due to their executive status in corporations

    Employers in Philadelphia, PA, can obtain their workers’ compensation insurance through either the State Insurance Fund or licensed insurance carriers. 

    What Types of Benefits Are Provided by Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation?

    If you want to figure out the amount of compensation you are entitled to through the act, you first need to know your injury type. In PA, compensation benefits are provided depending on the type of injury. If you are not sure, you might like to consult a workers’ compensation lawyer in Philadelphia to make the right claims.

    In this regard, the benefits are divided into three types:

    Total Temporary Disability

    Total temporary disability or TTD benefits are determined after Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). This evaluation rates your temporary disability, i.e., injuries. This test is conducted if you cannot get back to work for more than 104 weeks due to your injury. If you are more than 35% bodily injured under this evaluation, you are eligible to receive TTD benefits subject to state limits. 

    According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labour and Industry, the employees with TTD are entitled to receive 2/3rd of their average weekly wage subject to maximum caps. Such caps are changed annually. Workers with a lower wage bracket are entitled to receive up to 90% of their average weekly wage. This payment may continue until 104 weeks. Thereafter, they have to get IRE done again. If their disability has improved, they may shift to partial disability benefits. 

    Temporary Partial Disability

    Workers examined as less than 35% disabled due to injury qualify for partial disability benefits. Under this, they may be able to do some work but not able to return to their pre-injury work. They are entitled to receive 2/3rd of the difference in wages they are currently earning (i.e., in their new work) and the wages they earned before the injury (i.e., in their pre-injury work). 

    Permanent Total Disability

    This benefit is entitled to workers who cannot return to work in any form. This is also examined through IRE. If the evaluation finds that the worker is at least 35% disabled and there is no scope for further improvement, there are covered under the permanent total disability. 

    Such workers are entitled to receive a lifetime pension through workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania. 

    Permanent Partial Disability

    Permanent partial disability refers to a disability that allows workers to return to work in some form of employment. They are not recovered but can still work to an extent. Such workers can file for IRE if they think their disability has increased to 35%. 

    The PPD payments in Philadelphia are given up to 500 weeks from the day they fall into the permanent partial disability status. 

    Some of the injuries that fall under PPD include:

    • Head injuries
    • Back injuries
    • Joint injuries
    • Post-concussion injuries
    • Traumatic injuries

    Not only this, but workers in Philadelphia are also entitled to other benefits like :

    Specific Loss Benefits

    Specific loss benefits cover injuries resulting in vision loss, loss of hearing, loss of any limb, or part of limbs like toes or fingers. These benefits are entitled regardless of whether the worker returns to work or the period they are away from work. There are no limits. 

    Disfigurement Benefits

    Such a benefit covers injuries that involve disfigurements of any body part, like the head, shoulder, neck, or other areas. The benefits can be received from the first week the injury is discovered to the 275 weeks thereafter. There is no fixed set payment for such injuries. 

    Benefits can be received by filling out an appropriate application form by the employee and sending it to the employer or the insurance carrier. If they agree to compensate for the same, you can receive the benefit. If not, the employee can file a petition before a Worker’s Compensation Judge. 

    Death Benefits

    If the workplace injury caused a worker’s death in Pennsylvania, the dependents are entitled to receive funeral expenses of up to $3000. 

    The employer also has to file the death claim with the Worker’s Compensation Bureau within 48 hours from the death report. The death benefits are payable to:

    • Surviving spouse: entitled to receive 51% of the employee’s average wage on the date of injury. A spouse with one dependent is entitled to 60% of the average wage. Spouses with two or more dependents are entitled to 60 2.3%, subject to state-wise weekly wage limits. 
    • Dependent children under the age of 23. No age limit if the children are disabled. 
    • Dependent parents or siblings

    You can contact a lawyer for help at any stage of claiming benefits. Contact our personal injury attorney in Philadelphia, PA today. 

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