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Workers' compensation in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act requires that workers who are injured on the job or who develop a disease or illness related to their employment receive certain forms of benefits. The law requires employers to either carry private workers' compensation insurance, to participate in the state's workers' compensation fund or to be self-insured.

The mandate covers most employers in the state. People who discover their employers do not carry the required insurance are still able to seek coverage for incurred expenses due to a workplace injury through the Uninsured Employer Guarantor Program.

Compensation is provided for any injury, illness or disease caused by a person's employment. Coverage does not extend to injuries that are self-inflicted or to those whose injuries were caused by on-the-job substance abuse or intoxication.

Workers' compensation coverage starts from the moment the employee begins working. Employees must immediately report any work-related accident, injury or disease as soon as they learn of it. In order to access workers' compensation benefits, employees must provide their employers with the date and location the injury occurred. Employers, in turn, are then required to report the injury by filing a report with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. Employers have the ability to either accept the claim as is or to dispute or deny it. If an injury claim is denied, a hearing will be scheduled and the employee will have the opportunity to provide medical documentation to support his or her claim that the injury occurred due to his or her employment. Many people whose employers dispute or deny their workers' compensation claims choose to seek out the help of a workers' compensation attorney who may be able to help their clients receive the benefits to which they are entitled as a result of a workplace accident or disease.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, "Workers' Compensation & the Injured Worker", October 19, 2014

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Gregory R. Gifford
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