Pennsylvania’s Statute Of Limitations On Workers Comp Claims
If you were injured at work, time is of the essence. Filing a successful claim for workers compensation insurance benefits depends on comprehensively reporting your injury to your employer and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, and doing it on time.
Under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act, there is a 3 year statute of limitations on filing a Claim Petition for workers’ comp benefits. But if you want your application for workers comp to be a success, you will need to act faster than that. The three year limit mainly applies to workers whose first application for compensation was denied. Following a claim’s denial, a Pennsylvania worker has three years to appeal the decision. But immediately after your work-place injury, there are several more pressing deadlines to meet.
Time Limits For Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Benefit Claims
In actuality, injured workers in Pennsylvania must fulfill a strict timetable if they hope to receive monetary compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.
Reporting An Injury To Your Employer
Workers hurt on the job in Pennsylvania must report their injury to their employer within 21 days of the accident. This applies to workers injured in sudden, traumatic events, like a building collapse or heavy machinery accident. For those workers who have recently become aware that they have contracted an occupational disease or other chronic medical condition, this must be reported to an employer within 120 days of learning that the condition exists.
This 120 day period is a hard limit, and applies to all workers, regardless of the nature of their work-related injury. In short, if you do not notify your employer within 120 days of learning about your injury or condition, you cannot receive workers comp disability benefits.
Filing A First Report Of Injury
Next, your employer is required to fill out and electronically file a First Report of Injury with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. This form simply informs the Bureau that an injury has occured, although it will come into play if your claim is denied. Employers have 48 hours to file their First Report in the case of accidents that result in death, and seven days for all other injuries.
What Comes Next: Approval or Denial?
After you’ve reported your injury, and your employer has notified the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, several different things can happen. Basically, your claim can either be approved or denied by your employer and their workers’ comp insurance carrier. But there are several forms that an approval can take.
Approving A Workers Comp Claim In Philadelphia
Ideally, your employer will approve your claim outright, by filing an Agreement For Compensation or Notice Of Compensation Payable with the state. If they do, you’ll have to wait seven days before receiving your first payment of lost wage disability benefits, but if you’re kept out of work by your injury for more than 14 days, you will receive back-pay for the first seven. Unfortunately, the workers’ comp claim process is rarely this simple.
Instead of approving your claim completely, your employer may file a Notice Of Temporary Compensation Payable. This gives your employer an additional 90 days to investigate the circumstances of your accident. Yes, you will receive lost wage benefits during this period, but your employer can cut them off at any time. If they do, this is the same as having your workers comp claim denied.
Denying A Philadelphia Workers Compensation Claim
Your claim for workers compensation in Pennsylvania may be denied outright by your employer. It can also be denied because you missed one of the deadlines we discussed above. Prompt, thorough reporting is essential to the success of a workers compensation claim in Philadelphia.
If your claim is denied, you have three years after your work-related injury to file a Claim Petition, appealing the initial denial. Although it is not strictly necessary to employ legal counsel, litigation is extremely complicated, and should not be undertaken alone. Instead, contact an experienced workers compensation lawyer in Philadelphia to guide you through the legal process.