Pennsylvania workers are entitled to compensation and other benefits for work-related injuries and occupational diseases. But they may lose these rights if they do not act quickly after suffering an injury.
Report injuries immediately
To pursue your workers’ compensation claim, one of your most important steps is to immediately report your injury to your supervisor. It is harder to prove that you suffered a work-related injury if time passes and your injury heals and this evidence is no longer available.
Workers have other reporting obligations. They should report their injury to their employer within 21 days. Compensation may be lost if an injury is not reported within 120 days from the injury or knowledge of work-related disease, except for progressive diseases.
An injured employee usually has three years from the injury to file a claim with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
You should also ensure that your employer accurately completes and files their first report of injury within seven days for injuries that lead to disability lasting over one day, shift or turn of work. Request your records from your employer.
Make your own records
By keeping good records, you may uncover inconsistencies with your employer’s information and support your claim. Create a file for any documents, records or information you receive.
Make a journal and document all information concerning your injury. Do this as soon as possible when information is still fresh. Document the hours and days you worked, medical visits and any time off.
Having these records may be essential for occupational diseases. These may take years to develop, and contemporary proof is important.
Seek medical care as soon as possible after an injury. This helps assure that your injuries are treated and do not become worse.
Also, insurance companies may not believe that the injury occurred as it actually happened and may avoid paying compensation if you fail to seek care. Obtaining care helps provide proof that the accident happened, and you suffered an injury.
Having your records, making a journal and obtaining medical documentation allows you to truthfully explain the accident and support your claim. This may be important if your employer contests your claim or appeals the compensation award.
Work-related injuries and occupational illnesses can have long-lasting health and financial consequences. Attorneys can assist you with filing a claim, gathering information and protecting your rights in workers’ compensation proceedings.