As an employee in Pennsylvania, you have a legal right to workers compensation insurance. And PA employers are required to respect that right, by buying the insurance to cover your medical expenses and lost wages after a work-place injury. Even though Pennsylvania’s Workers Compensation Act holds businesses to this standard, some employers choose not to purchase workers comp insurance to save money. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps necessary to get workers comp insurance benefits when your employer hasn’t bought it for you.
Getting Workers Comp Benefits When Your Employer Fails
You’ve been injured on the job. Maybe you already know that your employer doesn’t have workers comp insurance, or maybe you asked after the accident and they simply told you “no.” What’s next?
Contact A Workers Compensation Lawyer With Experience In the Philadelphia Area
Workers comp laws vary from state to state, so it’s important to contact an attorney with workers comp experience in your area. You will almost invariably run into obstacles in your search for justice, so having an experienced, aggressive attorney in your corner will prove invaluable. In fact, the majority of workers comp claims made by uninsured workers are denied on a first attempt. You need someone to fight for you.
Report Your Injury To The PA Bureau Of Workers’ Compensation
Prompt reporting is absolutely essential to the success of a workers comp claim. From the date that you learn that your employer is uninsured, you have exactly 45 days to report your workplace injury. Visit Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Contact page for more information. If you’re still not positive whether or not your employer offers workers comp, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation can tell you.
Seek Medical Treatment For An Injury Sustained In The Course Of Employment
Make sure to inform your doctor or medical professional that your injury was sustained on the job, or that you suspect that a disease you’ve contracted is due to exposure to toxic materials at your workplace.
Of course, there’s a good chance that your first visit to a health professional after an injury will be going to an ER. If you have personal health insurance, don’t charge your ER visit to your existing carrier. Your insurance carrier will require you to state where your injury occurred. If you state that the accident happened at work, your claim will most likely be denied. If you don’t, you will be committing insurance fraud.
Legal Recourse For Uninsured Workers In Pennsylvania
After consulting with your workers comp attorney, you can decide on the best course of action for you and your family. It may be possible to directly petition your employer for expenses incurred after your accident. In addition, it may turn out that you are eligible for Social Security Disability insurance which could help to cover some of your financial needs. If no other option is open to you, your lawyer will help you get workers comp benefits through Pennsylvania’s state fund for uninsured workers.
Pennsylvania’s Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund
Employees in Pennsylvania who work for employers without workers comp insurance can receive compensation through Pennsylvania’s Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund.
To secure the workers comp benefits you deserve, you will first need to file a “Notice of Claim Against Uninsured Employer.” This document formally notifies the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation of your injury and allows them to begin investigating your employer. 21 days after filing the Notice, you will be able to file another document, the “Claim Petition For Benefits From The Uninsured Employer and the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund.” The Workers Compensation Bureau will then decide whether to begin payments or not.
Like all workers comp claims, you also need to file an accident report with your employer. Your report must be submitted within 120 days of your accident.
Disability Law Advocates Group, P.C.
Again, we urge you to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Philadelphia before beginning this process. Even if you’ve followed all the steps correctly, it’s likely that your claim could be denied. Our lawyers want to help you get the benefits you deserve.