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Workers' Compensation Claims: The Basics

claim form

If you're preparing to file a Pennsylvania workers' compensation claim or have recently filed one, you're probably dealing with paperwork and insurance companies, as well as an injury that's preventing you from going back to work. We've provided a few commonly asked questions and answers to help you navigate this complex legal process.

If you still find yourself feeling confused, call our law firm at 412-394-1000 or submit your information at the top right of this page for a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you have to file a claim?
  • Immediately report any work-related injury or illness to your employer or supervisor. In Pennsylvania, you have 120 days to let your employer know that you suffered a work injury.
  • You have 3 years from the day you were injured to file a claim petition for an injury.
Can your claim be denied if you don't report the injury in time?

If you are hurt at work, notify your employer as soon as possible. Under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, if you don't tell your employer that you were injured within 120 days, you can't receive workers' compensation.

You live in Pennsylvania but work in a different state. Where do you apply for workers' compensation payments?

Pennsylvania's workers' compensation payments are higher than those in many surrounding states. So, obviously, you will want to see if you can receive workers' compensation payments in Pennsylvania.

You may be able to receive Pennsylvania workers' compensation payments if:

  • You work in Pennsylvania
  • You live in Pennsylvania but work in another state
  • You were hired by a company based in Pennsylvania

Each claim is different and must be evaluated on an individual basis. Unfortunately, just because you meet one of these criteria doesn't mean you'll be eligible for workers' compensation in Pennsylvania. Our workers' compensation lawyers can help you with these issues. The best way to get started is to take advantage of our free legal consultation by filling out the form at the top right of the page.

Can your employer fire you for filing a workers' compensation claim?

No, your employer cannot fire you for filing a workers' compensation claim. But, you may be fired for other reasons, including an extended absence from work even if it's the result of your injury. If you are a member of a union, the union may protect your job security. But your employer may stop other benefits, such as your health insurance.

What forms should I sign? What forms should I not sign?

The Workers' Compensation Bureau prints almost all forms on the same color paper, and they can be very confusing. You should make sure you read the documents very carefully. In Pennsylvania, if you sign a document, the Courts believe that you have read it and understood it, and they will enforce what you have signed, even if you made a mistake.

You should sign the following forms:

  • Authorization for Medical Records: This form releases your medical records so that the insurance company can review them to process your claim.
  • Employee Verification Form: You must complete this form whether or not you have earnings from alternative employment. You must return this form within 30 days of receipt or jeopardize your right to receive benefits.

Be careful if you are asked to sign the following forms. Our law firm recommends that you do not sign these until you have first consulted with an attorney:

  • Supplemental Agreement: Usually this form states that you can go back to work and your claim is still open. However, this form may state that your benefits are being terminated. Do not sign this form unless you are fully recovered from your injury.
  • Final Receipt: Do not sign this form unless you are fully recovered from your injury. If you are being pressured to sign and you don't think you are completely recovered, our Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorneys can help.
What if your employer refuses to file an accident or incident report for your injury?

If your employer refuses to complete an injury report on your behalf, you may file a claim petition for workers' compensation payments. You will need to go to a series of hearings with a workers' compensation judge. While you are not required to have an attorney with you at the hearing, we highly recommend consulting an attorney. The workers' compensation process can be very tricky, with opportunities to make mistakes at every turn.

What should you do if your workers' compensation claim was denied?

If you were denied workers' compensation benefits even though you know that you're too hurt to work, you need to contact a lawyer right away.

There are many situations in which your workers' compensation claim may be denied even though you're still too hurt to go back to your job. If you were denied workers' compensation benefits even though you know that you're too hurt to work, you should contact a workers' compensation attorney right away.

Is the workers' compensation insurance company allowed to follow you, take photos, and talk to your neighbors?

Yes, Pennsylvania workers' compensation insurance companies often use investigators. They are allowed to follow you, take photos, and talk to your neighbors.

In addition, we suggest you be very careful about anything you post on social media sites, regardless of your privacy settings. These networks are considered 'public domain,' which means insurance companies and judges may use the information against you.

If you are seriously injured and are following your doctor's orders regarding restricted activities, you should have nothing to worry about.