Workers’ compensation is a system of insurance guaranteeing compensation for medical expenses or lost wages, as well as disability and other benefits, when a worker has suffered work-related injuries.
While every state has separate requirements for employers to provide benefits and limits to coverage, in Pennsylvania, even an employer with even one employee must provide workers’ compensation. Of course, there are exceptions for those covered under other workers’ compensation laws, some agricultural workers, domestic employees, or those exempted by religious belief or executive status.
Workers in Scranton and elsewhere often experience delays or claim denials, and the red tape of deadlines, forms and other paperwork can be intimidating. When you have been injured on the job, it is essential to know your rights and be able to navigate the system in order to get the maximum compensation for your claim.
The most common work-related injuries
Workers in many fields, whether it is office work, construction and transportation, or in the service industry, can experience work-related injuries. The leading cause of job-related injuries or illnesses to workers that resulted in days away from work in 2020 was exposure to harmful substances and environments. Behind this, the other three causes that occur in many types of work are:
- Overexertion with bodily reaction
- Slips, trips and falls
- Contact with equipment or objects
Overexertion can take the form of lifting, carrying, pushing, holding, or turning. It can also occur due to repetitive motion, which over time strains the area of the body affected. Slips or falls can include falling on the same level or to a lower level such as from a ladder, roof, or scaffolding. Contact with objects or equipment can mean bumping into or being struck by an object, squeezed or crushed, or injured by vibration.
Workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania
Injured workers may receive a range of benefits from a work-related injury, including:
- Lost wages
- Specific loss or death
- Medical care
- Choice of provider with exceptions
- Occupational disease
- Total or partial disability
Workers’ compensation also protects employers from direct lawsuits by employees, although it is possible to file a claim for a work injury that was due to negligence on the part of a third party.