No one wants to suffer an injury at work. Unfortunately, workplace injuries are all too common. In 2022, 7,098 new Workers’ Compensation claims were received in Pennsylvania. When you are injured, you will likely wonder what needs to be done to receive compensation and how soon you should start the process.
Injuries should be reported to your employer as soon as possible and no later than 120 days after the injury has occurred to receive prompt compensation. If your employer has denied an initial compensation claim, you can file a claim petition within 3 years from the date of the injury. If you received compensation payments that were later terminated or suspended, you may appeal that decision, but different deadlines apply.
Understanding the required deadlines surrounding Workers’ Compensation is crucial to ensuring you receive the benefits you are entitled to. The Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates are here to guide you through the claim timeline.
When Should I Tell My Pennsylvania Employer that I Was Injured?
The Workers’ Compensation process begins when notification of the injury or illness is given to the employer. Ideally, employees should report a workplace injury to their employer immediately after it occurs. In reality, receiving medical attention often takes precedence over immediate notification. Ultimately, a notice of an injury must be given to an employer no later than 120 days following a workplace accident. Workers’ compensation claims will be barred for injuries reported after this timeframe.
Occupational diseases present a different timeline since they may not be discovered until after employment has ceased. In these instances, the illness or disability must happen within 300 weeks from the date you were last employed in a job that caused the illness or disability. A Workers’ Compensation petition must be filed within 3 years from the date of the illness or disability.
Since employer notification initiates the Workers’ Compensation claim process, the best way to ensure your claim is processed quickly and to increase your chances of receiving compensation fast is to report injuries or illnesses as soon as possible. However, there are situations where the illness or injury may not be diagnosed until years after exposure to a hazardous work condition. In these cases, the timeline surrounding your disability should be carefully tracked to preserve your opportunity to file a claim.
What if My Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied, Terminated, or Suspended?
After your employer has initiated a Workers’ Compensation claim, they will review the claim and decide whether to accept or deny it. You are entitled to file a claim petition with the Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication if your claim is denied. If you receive compensation and it is terminated or suspended, you can also file a petition to reinstate the benefits. The deadlines for each situation should be kept in mind to ensure petitions are filed on time. Finally, even if your Workers’ Compensation is denied following a formal hearing, several appeal options can extend the amount of time you have to continue fighting for your benefits.
After an employer has been notified of a workplace illness or injury, they will evaluate the associated Workers’ Compensation claim to determine if it is warranted. If an employer decides to deny a claim, they will issue a Notice of Workers’ Compensation denial to the employee. At this point, the employee can abide by the decision or file a claim petition to ask the Office of Adjudication to review the decision. If a review is sought, the claim petition must be filed within 3 years from the date of the injury.
Once a claim petition is filed, the case will be assigned to a judge who works exclusively on Workers’ Compensation matters, and a hearing will be scheduled. There are many deadlines associated with Workers’ Compensation litigation, and they must be carefully observed to avoid complications to your claim. While an attorney is not required, your employer will be professionally represented in these complex proceedings. Hiring our Bucks County Workers’ Compensation attorneys can help level the playing field and allow our experience to be at your disposal.
Claim Termination or Suspension
Even if a Workers’ Compensation claim is accepted and paid, the employer may deem benefits as no longer necessary and terminate the payments. This could happen if the underlying injury has healed and your employer believes you can return to work or if the compensation payments were temporary, to begin with.
In this case, the employee will receive a formal notification of the termination or suspension. If the employee disagrees with the decision, they have 20 days to file a challenge, which will be heard before a Workers’ Compensation judge within 21 days. Since the timeframe to appeal a suspension or termination of benefits is short, and the subsequent hearing occurs quickly, it would be beneficial to use our Workers’ Compensation attorneys to manage this process.
It can be disheartening when a judge issues a decision that denies or stops your Workers’ Compensation. Fortunately, this is not the end of the line. A judge’s decision can be appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. If the Appeal Board agrees with the original decision and ends or denies your payments, further appeals can be considered with the Commonwealth Court. As a disclaimer, situations that warrant this level of appeal are rare. Our Delaware County Workers’ Compensation lawyers can look at your case and advise if action beyond the Appeal Board is appropriate.
Call Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today to Find Out When to File Your Claim
If you are unsure of the time you have left to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, the Montgomery County Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates are here to support you. Call us at (215) 355-6400 for a free discussion about your claim.