GIVING YOUR EMPLOYER NOTICE OF YOUR WORK INJURY
All types of work can involve potential work injuries, even desk work. It can be a small injury or a life-altering event. If you or someone you know has suffered a work-related injury or occupational illness, it has to be reported to the employer. This means that the work injury has to be reported to a boss, foreman, supervisor, owner of the company, i.e., someone who is in charge and not simply a co-worker. To help yourself get the financial and medical benefits necessary for your work injury, do not doubt yourself – report your injury. If you fail to report your work injury, this can and will be used against you.
How and When to Give to your Employer Notice
When you are injured at work in Pennsylvania, give notice to your employer quickly, no matter how small you think your injury is. It is always good to document the incident, and even take photos of the work place injury scene, so that the facts can be easily recalled at a later date. You can give notice by oral, text, or written form.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides that you must give notice to your employer within 21 days from the work injury date. If no notice is given within 120 days from the date of the injury, then all rights to benefits can be lost. Help yourself by giving notice as soon as you can.
Employee Responsibilities During a Work Injury Case
If you are hurt on the job in Pennsylvania you have obligations to the workers’ compensation carrier who is paying your wage loss and medical benefits. The workers comp carrier for your employer is entitled to know your status on several different issues and will want to monitor your case and progress. The PA Workers’ Compensation Act outlines the rules about the injured workers’ obligation to report receipt of certain benefits or changes in status and has easy to complete forms to do so.
Once the forms are sent to you, the injured worker, you have thirty (30) days to complete, sign, date and send them back to the workers’ compensation carrier.
If you do not send them back within the thirty (30) days, you could face serious consequences, including suspension of your wage loss benefits or worse yet, proceedings under the fraud provisions of the PA Workers’ Compensation Act.
Typically, there are 3 forms, referred to as LIBC Forms (Labor and Industry Bureau of Compensation) that are sent as a packet by the workers’ compensation adjustor. They may include:
- Employee Report of Wages (Other Than Workers’ Compensation Benefits Received)
- Employee Verification of Employment, Self-Employment, or Change in Physical Condition
- Verification of Employment/Self Employment.
The benefit of being represented in a workers’ compensation case is that your attorney can help you in completing the forms and getting them sent back timely to keep you in compliance and receiving your deserved benefits.
Employer Responsibilities During a Work Injury Case
Employers also have duties under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Employers must obey both federal and state laws in providing a safe, hazard-free work environment for all workers. Some jobs require use of protective equipment and/or training for dangerous work.
At the time of your hire, your employer should advise you of their workers’ compensation policies and give you a list of panel providers who you can go to in the event of a work injury. Further, if you do suffer a work-related injury, after giving notice to your employer, they must advise you of how to file a claim.
After you report your work injury, your employer has the obligation to immediately notify their workers’ compensation carrier of the claim. They also must prepare and send a First Report of Injury to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation if you have missed time from work as a result of your injury. You should request a copy of this Report and review for any errors.
Once the workers’ compensation carrier has received the claim, the assigned adjustor has 21 days within which to accept or deny your claim. There are different forms of acceptance of claims which are a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable or Notice of Compensation Payable.
- If you receive the temporary form, this is only good for 90 days and could be for medical only or also could pay wage loss and medical for the 90 days.
- If you receive the Notice of Compensation Payable, this is your ticket to be on compensation, medical or medical and wage loss, until you are either ordered off of compensation by a Judge or settle your claim.
- If your claim is denied, you will receive a Notice of Workers’ Compensation Denial.
If you are on workers’ compensation, receiving wage loss benefits and medical benefits, your employer is obligated by law to offer your available work within any restrictions that you might have.