The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act gives injured workers valuable rights. They include payment of medical bills, wage loss compensation, disfigurement awards for work-related facial and neck scars and awards for specific loss of use of a body part (ex. – leg, hand, finger, etc). The following are key points that workers should know about workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Work-Related Injuries
According to the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act, employers must give their full-time, part-time and seasonal employees workers’ compensation coverage. Even if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may still get workers’ compensation benefits through the Uninsured Employer Guarantee Fund.
Employees who are injured or contract an illness or disease on or because of their job can collect benefits for their medical expenses and lost wages caused by the work-related injury. If a person dies as the result of a workplace injury, that employee’s dependent family members may be able to obtain compensation through workers’ compensation.
Choice of Doctor for Medical Treatment
Pennsylvania workers compensation law generally allows employees to choose the doctor they want to treat their work-related illness or injury unless the employer provides the injured worker with a list of its panel physicians to choose from. If the employer or its insurer provides the injured worker a list of its panel doctors, then the worker must choose a doctor from the employers’ list and receive treatment from that preferred provider for 90 days. After 90 days have passed, workers may elect to obtain treatment from a doctor of their own choosing.
Other Workers’ Compensation Benefits – Specific Loss Benefits
In addition to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, if an employee is no longer able to use or has lost a body part because of a workplace accident, he or she may be able to receive a specific-loss award. This also applies to workers who have become disfigured on the job.
Disfigurement of the Head, Neck or Face
Injured workers who suffer disfigurement of the face or neck that results from a work injury may be entitled to a separate disfigurement award. The scar can be directly from the work injury or even a surgical scar. However, scars to any other part of the body are not compensable. The injured worker may receive up to a maximum of 275 weeks of benefits for his/her disfigurement claim.
If you have been injured on the job, contact a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney to help you get your benefits. A lawyer can help you navigate the workers’-compensation system and help you get the benefits you deserve.