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An outline of workers' compensation benefits

Whether Pennsylvania employees work in an office or construction site, there is the chance they could experience an on-the-job accident,. That is where the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act comes into place. Most employees who suffer a workplace injury or illness are entitled to file for workers' compensation benefits, which cover their heath care costs, such as medication, medical supplies, hospitalization and other medical treatment necessary for their recovery.

Employees have the right to select their own medical provider unless their employer provides a list of six or more doctors or health care providers. The employee is not responsible to pay for any balance billing charged by a medical provider, unless the medical treatment is outside the state.

Specific loss benefits are also included under the act. This benefit awards workers who lose a limb, finger, foot, hand, finger, thumb, their hearing, their sight, or if they suffer a permanent or serious permanent disfigurement on their neck, face or heard because of an on-the-job accident. Occupational disease benefits are provided for those who suffer a disease directly linked to their job, and who meet certain criteria.

The act pays for income the employee lost while recovering from a workplace injury or illness as well. The amount of the coverage is about two-thirds of the employee's average weekly earnings and stops once the employee returns to work, or when the period of partial or total disability benefits status expires. Further, if an employee dies because of a work-related injury, the act provides death benefits to the employee's immediate surviving family members.

Most employers are required to have workers' compensation coverage. Employees who want to make sure they will receive all of the benefits that they are entitled to might wish to seek the advice of an attorney at the outset of the process.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, "Workers' Compensation & the Injured Worker", Dec. 18, 2016

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