Every worker in Pennsylvania has the protection of workers’ compensation insurance in theory. Employers must carry coverage, and workers diagnosed with a medical issue related to their employment can often claim benefits.
However, the workers’ compensation claims process is notoriously bureaucratic. Workers have to follow the right steps or risk complicating and delaying the process of securing benefits. What steps do you need to take if you require disability or health coverage benefits through Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation insurance program?
You must make a report to your employer
One of the most crucial requirements for injured workers and employees recently diagnosed with medical issues related to their jobs is the requirement to report the issue to the company where they work.
Typically, workers should make a report on the same day if possible. However, sometimes such quick reporting isn’t a reasonable expectation. Employees should do their best to notify their employers within 21 days. Anyone who delays reporting their diagnosis more than 120 days risks not getting benefits at all.
You need to see a medical professional
Proper evaluation and diagnosis will be key factors in your workers’ compensation benefits claim. Thankfully, workers’ compensation will usually pay for all of your necessary medical costs.
A doctor will create a treatment plan that you will need to comply with to continue receiving benefits. In addition to receiving specific care, you may need to take a leave of absence from work or ask your employer for accommodations. In some cases, you may also receive disability benefits if you must take time off of your job to recover.
You must communicate with your employer
From a mandated period of rest to a limit on how much lifting you can do, there may be medical restrictions that your employer needs to know about after you first report your injury or diagnosis.
Timely communication with your employer can help you secure accommodations that keep you on the job and can protect you from punitive measures, like termination due to an extended leave of absence. Communication between you, your doctor and your employer will be particularly important as your symptoms improve and you prepare to return to work.
Know when you need help
At any point in the process, something could go wrong. You can make a mistake with your paperwork, or your employer could try to fight your benefits claim despite clear evidence that your job caused your injury. Injured workers who have the right support have a better chance of success and will have fewer challenges if they need to appeal an unfavorable decision.