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Workers Compensation: Reporting a Work Injury

If you suffer an injury at work you should report it right away, whether you miss time from work or not. In Pennsylvania, there is a strict 120-day deadline for reporting work injuries. If you don’t report the injury to your employer within the 120-day deadline, you can never file a workers’ compensation claim for that injury. With this in mind, even if you’re able to continue working after a work-injury or you think the injury will heal without medical treatment, you should still inform your employer about it in case the injury gets worse and causes you to lose time from work.

You can report a work injury in a number of ways, informally or formally. You can either have your employer complete an Employer’s Report of Injury Form that the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation provides, or you can tell your Employer in person or in writing. It is always best to have some sort of a paper trail in the event that there is a dispute about whether the injury was actually reported and when. An email, letter, or even a text message is all that is necessary to establish that you reported the injury.

There are exceptions to the 120-day notice rule where you may have additional time to report the injury. For example, with some types of injuries it may not be immediately clear that the injury was caused by your work. In these instances, an injured worker has 120 days from the date that they knew, or should have known, that the injury is related to their work to report the work injury.

As a general rule, it is strongly recommended that anyone injured at work should report the injury as soon as possible and in a way that allows you to prove that the injury was reported. If you have any questions about reporting a work-injury or anything else about protecting your right to workers’ compensation benefits, please don’t hesitate to call and speak with one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys.

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 Attorney Halmon Banks talks about reporting a work injury for Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation

 

 

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Preparing Your Social Security Disability Application

A carefully prepared SSD/SSI application will increase your chances of being approved for disability benefits or supplemental security income. Even if you are not approved after the initial application, the information gathered will be beneficial to your appeal because you will already have the proper information needed to prepare for a hearing.

In order to prepare a strong application you will need to gather the names of all the doctors, healthcare professionals, hospitals and clinics where you have treated, including their addresses, phone numbers and the dates of treatment. You will also need to compile a list of all medications and treatments you are receiving and their side effects.

You should also prepare a list of the places that you worked in the past 15 years. You will need to list the first and last date worked at each job and the date that your medical condition(s) began to affect your ability to work. You should be ready to answer questions pertaining to your duties at each job, especially the physical requirements. You will also need to list your highest level of education and any special training you may have received.

You should carefully choose a third party to communicate with the Social Security Administration (SSA) about your medical conditions on your behalf. You will want to designate a family member or friend who is familiar with your disability and who will be able to respond to the SSA’s requests about your medical conditions.

We understand that preparing a disability application can be a very difficult and time consuming process. We can help. Please give us a call at 215.561.1000. Our experienced SSD/SSI team can assist you in filing a SSD/SSI application that can increase the likelihood of being approved for benefits with your initial application, which will mean less time waiting to receive your benefits.

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Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation: The Basics

Workers’ compensation is insurance that an Employer must have to provide compensation to Employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. An Employee who suffers a work-related injury or illness is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who is at fault for the injury. The compromise that Employees make in getting a quicker resolution of their workers’ compensation claims is that they do not have the right to sue their Employer in court for pain and suffering damages because of a work injury.

Are there injuries that are not covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation benefits are available to injured workers, regardless of who is at fault. However, there are a few instances where an Employee would not be covered. These instances are ones where an injury occurs because:

  • An Employee is intoxicated or using illegal drugs
  • An Employee is violating company policy
  • An Employee is not on the job
  • An Employee is involved in committing a serious crime
  • An Employee causes a self-inflicted injury

What does workers’ compensation cover?

Workers’ compensation pays for all hospital and other associated medical costs to treat a work injury, including the cost of medication, surgery, braces, x-rays, MRI’s, etc. It also provides for wage loss or wage replacement benefits to the injured worker while they are unable to work which is usually two-thirds (2/3) of their gross weekly wages.

For example: If you make $900 per week, you would be entitled to $600 per week in workers’ compensation wage loss benefits.  Additionally, all of your medical bills associated with the work injury will be paid by workers’ compensation rather than through your private health insurance.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Workers’ compensation. Stay tuned for more!

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For Social Security Disability Regular Treatment is Key

Regular treatment with a doctor is highly beneficial to a SSD/SSI claim because the Social Security Administration will view the doctor as a “treating physician.” The SSA views the opinion of a treating physician as holding great weight because the doctor has first-hand knowledge of a claimant’s medical conditions, symptoms and prognosis. To ensure that your doctor is considered a treating physician you should see the doctor regularly, follow the doctor’s treatment recommendations, and make sure the doctor provides proper information to the SSA.

In many cases, doctors are unaware of what kind of information Social Security needs to approve someone for disability benefits. You can help by learning about what information your doctor needs to provide to Social Security, attending regular appointments, and making sure your doctor maintains detailed records of all of your conditions and symptoms over an extended period of time. This will allow you to develop a comprehensive treatment record with your doctor, which can be used as compelling evidence in your claim.

Other than providing treatment records, your doctor can substantially strengthen your claim by filing out a Physical Residual Functioning Capacity (RFC) assessment. A Physical RFC assessment contains questions which your doctor will use to describe your disabling conditions and associated limitations. It can serve as strong evidence of your disability. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or other mental health conditions, your doctor can fill out a Mental RFC assessment.

We understand that applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be overwhelming, especially when you are suffering from severe medical conditions. We can help. Please give us a call at 215.561.1000. Our experienced SSD/SSI team can assist you in working with your doctor to develop a strong case for your disability application.

 

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Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Taxable

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We’ve rung in 2014 but there’s just one more thing we need to do before we can say goodbye to 2013…our taxes.  It’s important that you know that your benefits paid under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act are not taxable at either the state or federal level.  Make sure you or your tax preparer do not include this income on your tax return.

If you are a recipient of workers’ compensation benefits, you should not receive a W-2 or a 1099 form or any other form of accounting of annual benefits received from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

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