I Got Hurt On The Job, What Are My Rights?
It is a complete fallacy on your part to assume you will never be hurt on the job. It definitely CAN happen to you. People are human, we do make mistakes, and sometimes, accidents just happen. These mistakes; whether they are made by you or a co-worker, can result in a serious injury for you. Just exactly what are your rights when you get hurt on the job? We will shed some light on that subject right now.
First and foremost you need to report your injury to your supervisor immediately. Even if you do not think your injury is severe and feel you will be fine with over-the-counter medication; report it anyway and as soon as possible. That way if complications do arise where you need to seek medical attention, both you and your employer will be prepared to deal with it. This is also crucial to your well-being in case any legal action on your part stems from this exact injury. If you have failed to report all details to your supervisor you could find yourself without any legal recourse at all.
The next thing you should do is speak to your attorney about filing for Worker’s Compensation benefits. All employers in Pennsylvania are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their workers’ injuries. Remember your injury may well cause you to stop working for an extensive period of time. This can be detrimental to you, especially if you have a family to support. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will be able to obtain your earnings from your employer, and advise you as to how much your worker’s comp. weekly rate would be, if you are entitled to wage loss benefits. This knowledge will help you budget your finances accordingly.
After you get hurt on the job, you will need to obtain medical treatment for your injury. In Pennsylvania, employers are supposed to provide their employees with a list of Panel Providers to treat with for the first 90 days, in the event that they suffer a work injury. If your employer has Panel Providers, you will be required to treat with them for that initial 90 day period in order to have your medical bills paid for. After the 90 days, you can treat with providers of your choice, as long as it is related to the work injury. Once again the services of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will come into play. He or she can help you to fully understand what your company WILL pay for AND what they will NOT pay for.
Also to keep in mind is that if you do suffer a work related injury, and receive medical and or wage loss benefits as a result of that work injury, the workers’ compensation carrier has the absolute right to send you for an Independent Medical Examination (IME) once every six (6) months while you are on workers’ compensation. This is because while they are paying you benefits, wage loss and/or medical, they are entitled to monitor your progress, with their goal being to get you off of workers’ compensation as quickly as possible.
Avail yourself of the expertise of your attorney in order to find out this information. You can avoid a lot of headaches later on.