Back injuries can happen when you least expect them. You can try to take every precaution when lifting something heavy or operating dangerous machinery, but all it takes is one mistake to put you out of work for several weeks. Do you know what to do next if you end up in this situation?
When you hurt your back while working in Pennsylvania, you must notify your employer, who will then file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Your employer will review the claim and decide whether to accept or deny it. If the claim is accepted, your medical expenses and a percentage of your lost wages will be paid while you heal and cannot work. If the claim is denied, you can file a petition to have your case reviewed by a judge. If you disagree with the judge, you can further appeal your case.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates can assist you every step of the way through an injury claim. Call us today at (215) 355-6400 to have your questions answered in a free case review.
What is Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation and How is it Related to My Back Injury?
Workers’ Compensation is a type of insurance that Pennsylvania employers must carry (or self-insure). This insurance pays for medical costs and lost wages associated with a qualified injury while on the job. This means that a workplace back injury may qualify for financial compensation through this insurance program. The Workers’ Compensation process provides an avenue for financial recovery without filing a personal injury civil lawsuit, which saves time and expense for both employers and employees.
However, Workers’ Compensation is not guaranteed. Your employer may review your claim and deny it if their investigation shows the back injury was unrelated to your duties, intentional, or from the result of illegal behavior (like workplace intoxication). Some rules must be followed when treating your injury and filing a claim. If these legal requirements seem complex or confusing to you, contact our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation attorneys to receive guidance throughout the claim process.
What Will Workers Compensation Pay for if My Back is Injured in Pennsylvania?
A back injury will likely result in two categories of payment through Workers’ Compensation: medical care and lost wages. Any medical expenses related to your back injury are eligible for payment. The specific expense will depend on the type of injury sustained and the treatment required. Medical expenses are frequently incurred for transport to an emergency room, the fees for a hospital stay, pain medication, corrective surgery, physical therapy, and a back brace or other devices needed for recovery. Generally, if any medical cost was incurred because of your injury and you can prove this, it will be considered for payment through Workers’ Compensation.
Lost wages will also be paid if you cannot work for at least 7 calendar days or can only work at a reduced capacity or in a job that pays a lower wage. These are referred to as total disability benefits and partial disability benefits. A physician’s evaluation is used to determine this status, as is the availability of job accommodations or an alternate job you can perform following the injury. If you disagree with the disability status you have been assigned, our Bucks County Workers’ Compensation attorneys can pursue an appeal of that determination.
How Do I File a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The Workers’ Compensation claim process is triggered by notifying your employer. Once notified, your employer will alert their insurance carrier and Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The claim will be evaluated and either granted or denied. If denied, you may file a legal petition to have your circumstances reviewed by a judge. The judge will then issue an opinion, which may be further appealed if you disagree with the outcome.
When Do I Tell My Employer?
It would be best to tell your employer you were injured as soon as possible following an injury so they can report the incident and begin the claim evaluation process. Once you have provided notice of an injury, your employer has 21 days to approve or deny your claim or make temporary payments to extend the investigation up to 90 days. Compensation will be barred if notice is given later than 120 days after the injury. Promptly reporting an injury is key to receiving payment quickly and should not be delayed more than necessary.
Do I Need to See a Doctor?
You are required to seek medical treatment for your injury to receive Workers’ Compensation. If your employer allows you to choose your own healthcare provider, you may do so. However, some employers have a list of physicians you must choose from to receive treatment. Your employer cannot dictate the specific provider you must use, but if they offer a list, you must select from that list and seek treatment from that provider for 90 days. If the provider recommends invasive surgery to treat your injury, you are entitled to a second opinion at your employer’s cost.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?
An attorney is not required at any point in the Worker’s Compensation process, but hiring one can be extremely beneficial. Workers’ Compensation claims can be a complicated process if you do not know what to do. Navigating the deadlines and administrative requirements of a Workers’ Compensation claim can be overwhelming when you are simultaneously receiving treatment for a painful back injury. Our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation lawyers will remove that burden and provide the guidance your employer cannot provide.
Additionally, if your claim is denied and you request a hearing before a judge, legal counsel can aggressively advocate for you to receive compensation and will be familiar with the court’s procedures and rules. Our Delaware County Workers’ Compensation attorneys can also negotiate on your behalf to secure a fair settlement if you prefer to avoid going to a hearing and testifying. Finally, should an appeal be necessary, our attorneys can handle that process and develop the required arguments for an appeal.
Call Our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today for Help with Filing a Claim
Lerner, Steinberg & Associates has a team of Montgomery County Workers’ Compensation attorneys who can guide you through the claim process, answer your questions, and serve as your advocate. For a free case review, call us today at (215) 355-6400.