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How workers' compensation in Pennsylvania works

Workers' compensation protects individuals who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act provides for medical expenses, wage-loss compensation and other such expenses. Businesses are required to carry workers' compensation insurance or to be self-insured. Nearly all workers in the state of Pennsylvania are covered. If an employer does not have insurance, there is an Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund to ensure that workers are compensated.

Any disease, injury or illness that occurs in the work environment may be covered by workers' compensation. Injuries that are self-inflicted or intentional or occur while a worker is intoxicated or in violation of the law will not be covered. Benefits are payable from the day that the workplace injury is first suffered. Wage-loss benefits of approximately two-thirds of a worker's average weekly wage are paid in the event of disability or inability to work, and surviving dependents may be entitled to death benefits in the event of a worker's death.

Workers are required to report promptly any injuries or illnesses to employers and supervisors. The employer is then required to report the injury to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. If the employer denies a workers ' compensation claim, a claim petition may be filed. Employers are responsible for advising workers of their rights and responsibilities with regard to workers' compensation and workplace injuries.

Workers' compensation law is often very complex. There are many things to consider with regard to the amount of money being requested, proving that workplace trauma caused an injury or illness, and filing paperwork promptly and accurately. A lawyer could help with such things as well as represent an injured party before a judge if necessary.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, "Workers' Compensation & the Injured Worker", September 09, 2014

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