You probably know that you can collect workers’ compensation after an injury at your job. However, employees often receive misinformation about these benefits.
If you or a loved one has experienced a workplace illness or injury, review the real facts behind common myths that circulate about workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania.
Myth: My boss can fire me after a workers’ compensation claim.
In fact, Pennsylvania workers have protection against this type of retaliation. You can sue your employer if you think you lost your job because you reported an illness or injury caused by your work duties. However, the company may fire you during a disability period following your workers’ comp claim. For example, if the business loses money and layoffs result, your job could be at risk even though you recently filed a claim.
Myth: Your company must be at fault.
Pennsylvania has a no-fault system for workers’ compensation. Regardless of whether your employer’s negligence contributed to the illness or injury, you can receive coverage for your medical bills and related expenses. You can even receive benefits if the injury was your own fault.
Myth: You can report an injury months later.
You must report a workplace injury to your employer within 20 days of the incident. For an illness caused by workplace exposure, you have 20 days from the date of diagnosis to make your report. Making a report after 20 days eliminates your eligibility for benefits prior to notification. After 120 days, you can no longer collect workers’ compensation.
Myth: You can sue your employer for a work injury.
Again, Pennsylvania is a no-fault workers’ compensation state. However, you can sue to collect compensation from a third party whose negligence contributed to your injury. This could include a contractor, client, or unaffiliated individual or business, depending on the circumstances of your case. For example, if you drive for a living and had an accident with a drunk driver during work hours, you can sue that driver for costs that exceed your workers’ compensation benefits.
Knowing your rights and responsibilities when it comes to workers’ compensation can help you protect your interests if an injury occurs.