Question

Do I qualify for workers’ comp in Pennsylvania?

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Jerry M. Lehocky - Workers' Compensation - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Jerry M. Lehocky

Located in Philadelphia, PAPond Lehocky Stern Giordano

Philadelphia, PA
Phone: 215-568-7500
Fax: 215-568-7550

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Answer

Most workers in the United States qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, even workers who are undocumented or only work part time. There are several categories of workers who are exempt, including domestic workers. However, they are the vast minority. In general, if you meet four conditions, you can pursue workers’ comp benefits after an injury. 

1. You must be an employee.

By this, I mean that you cannot be a contractor, freelancer or other type of independent worker. In some instances, cases have hinged on the injured party proving that they are in fact an employee who has been mistakenly categorized as a contractor. Volunteers are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits at all.

2. Your employer must carry workers’ comp insurance.

Nearly every employer is legally required to hold a workers’ comp insurance policy. This is purchased on the private insurance market and covers their employees. That is one reason why many businesses do employ so many contractors: to keep their insurance premiums down. If you are an employee, you are covered by your employer’s policy starting from the first day you work there.

3. The injury stopping you from working must be work-related.

An “injury” can include a lot of things for the purpose of workers’ comp benefits, including:

  • A single incident such as a broken bone or accidental amputation.
  • A condition caused by ongoing work such as carpal tunnel or tennis elbow. This also includes permanent conditions, such as blindness or deafness, and diseases as well.
  • A pre-existing condition aggravated by work such as a back injury.

All of these different types of injuries, diseases and conditions are covered by workers’ compensation, if they are caused by working conditions. You will need to prove that that is true to qualify.

4. You must report promptly.

Because it is your employer’s insurance company paying out the policy, they will have their own restrictions around deadlines, paperwork to fill out, doctors to see and more. Your boss will know what to do to kick off the process, but the most important thing is to report your injury promptly. If you do not do so, you may inadvertently miss a deadline or do something wrong to jeopardize the possibility of getting benefits. 

Get The Benefits You Need For Your Family

Nearly all American workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, but not all get them when they need them. To qualify and maximize your chances of getting them, your best option is to report your injury promptly, and then retain a lawyer to help you navigate the process.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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