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Who is covered under Pennsylvania's Workers' Compensation Act?

One of the most significant concerns a worker may face if an on-the-job injury occurs is whether the incident is covered by workers' compensation insurance. In Pennsylvania, a majority workers are covered, even those who are employed part-time or in seasonal positions.

There are some exceptions to the state's compensation coverage. For example, civilian employees of the federal government have separate compensation laws and benefits. Those employed as shipyard, harbor or railroad workers have separate compensation resources as well. Those involved in volunteer work may not be covered under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act. Agricultural and casual employees may be excluded from workers' compensation. Those who work in domestic positions are also excluded.

Some individuals may claim exemption from the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act due to religious beliefs or because of status as executive officers in corporations. An individual may want to become informed about specific coverage issues on the job prior to any potential incident so that a proper approach to seeking treatment and benefits is understood. Those who are not covered by an employer's workers' compensation insurance may find that there is access to benefits through a separate means, the Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund.

Whether or not an employer provides workers' compensation benefits, a prompt filing of an accident report is important for documenting a situation that has caused harm. If benefits are not available through an employer, this report along with other documentation may be helpful in establishing the facts of the situation for accessing other possible benefits or in determining whether personal injury litigation is appropriate. While none of this information depicts specific legal advice, an attorney may be able to better advise a client on the matter.

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

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