PA Workers Compensation Act: A Safety Net for Workers in Pennsylvania

PA Workers Compensation Act:
A Safety Net for Workers in Pennsylvania

Every year, thousands of Americans suffer injuries and illnesses at work. Over the years, things have
become better through an ongoing focus on workplace safety. Systems and policies have been put in
place that help establish safe conditions to work. Safety trainings are part of the job in almost all
industries that deal with heavy machinery or hazardous materials.
Yet, work-related injuries and deaths still happen.
Worker’s compensations systems are legal protections, kind of like labor laws for salaried employees,
that are designed and put into place to protect workers and employers in case of accidents at work.
PA Workers’ Compensation Act is one such system. As a safety net for workers in Pennsylvania, it
protects workers and businesses of all shapes and sizes.
It is a comprehensive work comp system that allows all injured workers to receive free medical care, lost
wages, and death benefits in case of a fatal injury.

Monetary Assistance Under PA Workers’ Compensation Act

The PA Workers’ Compensation Act is a work comp system that allows all injured workers to receive free
medical care, lost wages, and death benefits in case of a fatal injury.

LOST WAGES

If you are unable to return to work due to a work-related injury, you are entitled to receive two-thirds of
your salary as replacement of your lost wages. You receive these wages on weekly bases.
These benefits are tax-free with no maximum payment period. You can receive these benefits for the
entire time you are unable to return to work. In only three cases can these benefits be withdrawn:

  • When you fully recover and come back to work.
  • When the work comp Judge deems you fully recovered based on medical evidence and doctor’s feedback.
  • When you are medically fit to perform other work (that may not be your actual job) that’s
    offered to you at no monetary loss.

MEDICAL COSTS

Under the Act, you are entitled to receive free medical care for your work-related injuries/illnesses. This
includes fees and costs for physicians and other healthcare professionals such as chiropractors, surgery
costs, hospital treatments, prescription medicines, orthopedic devices, hospital accommodations, and
others.

DEATH BENEFITS

If a worker dies during the course of their employment, their dependents become eligible to receive
death benefits. Some dependents, such as a spouse who never remarries, can continue to receive these
benefits for as long as they live. The benefits also extend to children, parents, and siblings that were
under the financial care of the diseased workers.

Under PA work comp system, the maximum amount of death benefits is limited to the average weekly
wage
of $1,205 – as per the Department of Labor and Industries. This amount changes every year to
make the benefits more meaningful and relevant. The minimum amount of weekly death benefits
cannot be lower than 90% of the worker’s average weekly wage if it is below $600.55.

PA Workers’ Compensation Rights

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides you access to 5 worker safety protections:

THE RIGHT TO BENEFITS

The Act guarantees you the right to receive a variety of monetary benefits after you sustain an injury
during the course of your work. These benefits include wage loss replacement, disability benefits,
coverage of medical costs, and more.
These benefits ensure that an injured worker and their dependents will be able to continue living their
lives with least disruption, and the worker will have the peace of mind to focus on their health and
recovery.

THE RIGHT TO NEGOTIATE A SETTLEMENT

In some cases, an injured worker may be looking to get a one-time lump sum settlement instead of
weekly payments. Amendments in the PA Workers’ Comp Act allow for this provision.

In exchange, you have to let go some or all of your rights under the Act. For example, instead of
receiving weekly payments against medical coverage, you can opt to settle that as a one-time payment
and receive a sizable amount. You can do the same thing with your wage loss benefits, or a specific
injury payment, or both.

THE RIGHT TO CONTROL YOUR TREATMENT

As per the work comp law, your employer can ask you to get treated by a physician of their choice. More
specifically, they can give you a list of approved doctors to choose from. The law gives you the freedom
to choose any physician from that list.
However, if you feel the medical care that you are getting is not up to mark and your employer’s
recommended doctor is unable to diagnose and treat you accurately, the law allows you to choose your
own doctor.
In many cases, this can be contested by the employer and their insurer. If that happens, a skilled
workers’ comp attorney can help you get the medical care you need.

THE RIGHT TO RECOVERY

After a workplace injury, your employer may force or threaten you to come to work sooner than you are
ready.
However, the law is on your side. The PA Workers’ Comp system gives you the right to take time and
care to get better. Unless you are medically fit again and declared so by the independent medical
examiner in the PA workers’ compensation case and the workers’ comp Judge, your employer cannot
manipulate you to come back to work, even for light duty.

THE RIGHT TO A COURT HEARING

Typically, both sides try to follow the law and avoid any disagreements because nobody wants to go to
court and fight. However, in instances where you feel that your rights as an injured worker are being
squashed, the PA Workers’ Comp Act allows you your day in court. If your employer tries to downplay
your injuries, reduce your disability wages, forces you to come back to work sooner, or any of your
benefits are calculated incorrectly, you can go to court for that.
You can hire an attorney who’s specialized in PA workers’ compensation and utilize your right to a court
hearing. You also have the right to appeal any court decisions, too.

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