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Common Workers’ Compensation Concerns

workers' compensation concernWorkers’ compensation is a form of no-fault insurance that became law in Pennsylvania over 100 years ago. It provides a safety net for workers who are injured on the job, while assuring employers that they won’t be vulnerable to personal injury lawsuits. It provides compensation for medical expenses, as well as partial coverage for wages lost while out of work due to the injury, and as such it is an important benefit – yet one that few workers give any thought to until they are injured and actually need it. At Vanasse Law, we are here to help answer any questions you may have about your rights under workers’ compensation law, and to give you the answer to common workers’ compensation concerns. Here are answers to some of the questions we hear most frequently from people who have been injured in the workplace.

I hurt myself at work and told my boss. He says I have to see one of the doctors on the company’s list of approved physicians. Is that true? Why can’t I see my own specialist?

Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law requires you to see a company doctor in certain circumstances – they have to have a list of at least six health care providers for you to choose from, they have to give written notification of the existence of this list, and have your written acknowledgement of having received this list. If all of these are in place then you have to see one of those doctors for 90 days from the time of the first visit.

 How long does workers’ compensation last?

If you are receiving total disability wage loss benefits, there is no limit to how long you can receive payments. If you are receiving partial disability wage loss benefits, the maximum duration is 500 weeks, or just shy of ten years.

I have been receiving workers’ compensation and have been working desk work, but have not been able to return to my full time job. Now my supervisor says I have to come back or resign. Can they do that?

No. If your physician says that you are still restricted to light duty then you have a right to continue doing so. Do not quit! If they lay you off you can still receive your workers’ compensation wage loss benefits.

I had a heart attack that my doctor says was caused by stress at work. Can I file for workers’ compensation?

It is possible to get workers’ compensation wages following a heart attack if your physician provides evidence that it was a result of the work place environment. The attorneys at Vanasse Law can assist you in preparing and providing evidence of this claim.

My Human Resources department wants to send the company nurse to my appointments with my doctor. Can I refuse this?

You can’t stop them from going to the appointment, but you can say that they are not permitted in for the examination and you can tell the doctor that you do not want them talking to the nurse. If you have previously signed an authorization permitting your doctor to discuss your condition with a work representative, then you can withdraw that authorization.

As these questions show, Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation laws are complex and often difficult to understand. If you have suffered a workplace injury, the attorneys at Vanasse Law are ready to provide you with the answers and explanation you need and the legal representation that will get you the compensation you need and deserve.