Common questions about the workers’ compensation system in Pennsylvania

Following a workplace accident, injured employees may have several questions about the workers’ compensation system and their eligibility for benefits.

Every year, thousands of workers in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S. are injured or killed in workplace accidents. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in 2015 alone, 4,836 employees were injured while on the job. For employees who survive a workplace accident, workers' compensation benefits are available.

What benefits are available?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, several types of workers' compensation benefits are available to injured workers:

  • Lost wages-For workers who are determined disabled and unable to work, wages less than pre-earned wages may be disbursed.
  • Death benefits-If a workplace accident results in death, the surviving dependents of the deceased worker may be eligible for benefits.
  • Medical care-Workers who incur a work-related injury or illness are entitled to reasonable medical and surgical services.

Specific loss benefits are also available to workers who lose all or part of their sight, foot, hearing, toe, hand, finger, These benefits are also available to those who experience serious disfigurement in a workplace accident.

How do injured employees get these benefits?

Those who are injured in a workplace accident must promptly report the incident to enhance the likelihood of benefit approval and dispersal. After the accident occurs, workers should let their employer know about what occurred as soon as possible. After this notification is provided, the employer is required to file a report with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

How are payments for lost wages calculated?

Those eligible to receive wage loss benefits following a workplace injury can obtain up to two-thirds of their prior weekly wage until a weekly maximum is achieved. These payments can also be offset by Social Security benefits, severance pay, unemployment compensation, a portion of an employer-paid retirement pension or other earnings available to the employee.

Can employers choose their own healthcare provider?

Injured employers are able to choose their own healthcare provider unless their employer has already chosen and posted a list of six approved physicians in the workspace. If one of these lists has been posted, an employer is not allowed to designate a provider from the list for an injured employee.

Reach out to an attorney

Following a workplace accident, employees may still have many questions about the workers' compensation system and their eligibility for benefits, especially if their injury is serious. When this occurs, injured workers in Pennsylvania should contact an attorney in their area for legal assistance and for further information about workers' compensation.