If you are injured on the job (or develop an illness because of your job), you may not be aware of the compensation available to pay for your medical bills, loss of wages and other losses you suffer as a result. As a Pennsylvania worker, you may recover workers' compensation benefits to help with these expenses.
Although you may already know about workers' compensation, the rules surrounding it are very complex, so there is quite a bit of misinformation out there. As a result, it is helpful to be aware of the most common misconceptions about workers' compensation that many people believe. Some of these myths include:
A very common misconception that circulates is that you are ineligible to receive workers' compensation benefits if you have a pre-existing injury. However, this is not true. You may be able to recover benefits if you can prove that your job accelerated, aggravated or reactivated your pre-existing condition.
Another common myth is you can be fired for claiming workers' compensation benefits. However, Pennsylvania law prohibits employers from firing employees solely because they filed for workers' compensation benefits. However, the law does not require your employer to hold your position for you, if your injury requires an extended absence.
Many people also believe that it is immaterial when you notify your employer of your injury. However, failing to timely do this can limit or compromise your ability to receive benefits. Under the law, you must report your injury within 120 days to receive benefits; if you wait longer than that, you are barred from receiving benefits. However, it is a good idea to notify your employer as early as possible. If you notify your employer within 21 days of your injury, you can receive benefits as of the date of your injury. Waiting longer than that, however, will only allow you to recover benefits as of the date you report the injury.
Location of injury
Many people assume that they have to be injured at the work site in order to receive workers' compensation. However, this is not always the case. In general, you can be compensated regardless of whether you were injured on your employer's premises, as long as you were performing job-related duties at the time.
Necessity of an attorney
Although you can apply for workers' compensation benefits without a lawyer's help, the law surrounding workers' compensation is very complex and full of exceptions. As a result, you may be wrongfully denied benefits or be misled by incorrect information. Because of this fact, it is helpful to have the assistance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney by your side. An attorney can ensure that all the correct paperwork is filed and your best interests are represented throughout the process.
There are strict time limits in workers' compensation and in Social Security cases, so do not delay.