Important Deadlines for Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania
Workers exposed to toxic substances such as asbestos may soon get a break with workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania. The House Labor and Industry Committee Chairman, Jim Cox, sponsored a bill that was heard in the House of Representatives in early May. The bill would extend the 300-week workers’ compensation deadline for those that contract harmful diseases, such as mesothelioma or asbestosis, due to the harmful substances.
Although this is good news for those that need to work around these damaging substances, the story also has some thinking about the different deadlines associated with workers’ compensation. So, what are those important deadlines? What happens if an injured worker misses them?
Reporting the Injury
One of the first things any injured worker should do after being hurt at work is to tell their employer of the accident and injury. Although workers should do this as soon as possible, under workers’ compensation law in Pennsylvania, employees have 21 days to provide this notice to their employer in writing.
There are two very important points to remember when reporting an injury. The first is that seven days after the injury, the employer and employee may agree on compensation. The second is that when employees fail to provide proper notice within 120 days after the accident, they are likely barred from receiving workers’ compensation.
Time Required to See Employer’s Doctor
After an injury occurs at work, employees cannot always see their own doctor to treat the injury. In cases when the employer provides the hurt worker with an approved list of physicians and healthcare professionals, the employee must select a doctor from this list.
The only exception to this is when the list does not include a proper doctor or healthcare professional needed for the injury. For example, if a person hurt their back at work and needed to see a chiropractor, they could choose one on their own if the list did not include the name of a chiropractor.
It’s also important to understand that injured workers must only see a doctor from the approved list for the first 90 days of their injury. While not exactly a deadline, it is an important date to remember, as failing to see the appropriate healthcare professional can negatively impact a workers’ compensation claim.
Deadline for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
In addition to providing deadlines for reporting the injury or accident to an employer, Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law also outlines timelines for filing a workers’ compensation claim. For most injured employees, this deadline is three years from the date of the accident.
Currently, those filing a claim due to exposure to toxic substances that caused an occupational illness have 300 weeks from the date of the last exposure to file a claim. Hopefully, this new bill will pass and those that contracted a disease from exposure can get the benefits they need even when they file later than this. Often, these illnesses and conditions don’t show symptoms until years, and sometimes a decade, after the fact.
A Scranton Workers’ Compensation Attorney Will Ensure You Meet the Deadlines
Workers that are injured on the job in Pennsylvania have a right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, these benefits are sometimes difficult to get, particularly for those that don’t understand the many laws surrounding workers’ compensation in the state. A Scranton workers’ compensation lawyer will help you file your claim properly, so you can receive the benefits you’re entitled to.
If you’ve been injured at work, contact Haggerty, Hinton & Cosgrove, LLP at 570-354-5205. We’ll guide you through the complexities of workers’ compensation law in the state, and ensure that your claim is filed in a timely and accurate manner. Don’t risk your benefits by going through this process alone. Contact us today to discuss your legal options.