What is Workers’ Compensation?

Injuries happen in almost every occupation. Your employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance to provide wage loss and medical benefits to those hurt at work regardless of how the injury occurred, or who was at fault. In general, as long as the injury happened at work, or while doing your job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation.

Workers’ Compensation is the only benefit you can get from your employer as a result of being hurt at work. You cannot sue your employer in a civil action for negligence for a work injury. This means, you cannot collect pain and suffering from your employer because of a work injury.

However, in some cases, you can file both a workers’ compensation claim and a civil action if the work injury was caused by a third party. The third party might be the manufacturer of a defective machine, or the other driver in a car accident that happens on the job. Your civil claim is against that other “person” (the third party), not your employer. Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Banks Law can explain this concept to you in greater detail.

Quick Fact

The most important thing to do after a work injury is to report the injury to your employer.

Client Spotlight: Mike Filipovic

Watch Mike's incredible journey. Banks Law is proud to represent him and his family.

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Check out Joe's story. Banks Law fought for him every step of the way.

Do I need a lawyer?

Some people feel that since they are already collecting workers’ compensation benefits without a problem, they don’t need a lawyer. Others are reluctant to contact a lawyer because they don’t want to anger their employer or affect their relationship with their employer.

Keep in mind that your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance company will do everything they can to protect their rights—not yours. You have an absolute right to legal representation. Take advantage of it.

There are many ways an employer and their insurance company can try to stop or lower your benefits. You need a lawyer to fight to keep your benefits going when the insurance company threatens to stop them. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can provide valuable advice on what documents to sign or not to sign, whether your wage loss benefits were correctly calculated, whether you should attend a medical examination scheduled by the insurance company, and determine how much your case is worth in a lump sum settlement.

Banks Law can also refer you to a well-qualified doctor, surgeon or therapist to treat your work injury. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage by not having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer represent you. Your employer and the insurance company will certainly have a lawyer. So should you. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Hire a lawyer early in the process to protect your rights.

Remember, a workers’ compensation lawyer doesn’t get paid until you receive benefits, they help you keep your benefits, or they settle your case.

You have nothing to lose by hiring a lawyer, but you have everything to lose if you don’t.

“You have nothing to lose by hiring a lawyer, but you have everything to lose if you don’t.”

I got hurt at work, what should I do?

You should report any injury that you suffer on the job as soon as possible to your employer, or a supervisor or manager. This report can be made verbally or in writing. If your employer does not complete a special form called an “Employer’s Report of Injury”, you should ask them to do so. If they do not, contact a workers’ compensation attorney for advice on how to proceed. Providing prompt notice of your injury to your employer is very important. There are strict time limits on reporting a work injury. Failure to report the injury within the time limits may limit or prevent your ability to pursue benefits.

Who is entitled to workers' compensation benefits?

Any person hurt at work or while doing their job is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act applies to all injuries, even those not occurring on the employers property, as long as the injury happened while during something related to work. It doesn’t matter if your job is full-time or part-time. Even if you were hurt on the first day of work, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

What injuries are covered by the workers' compensation act?

Any injury resulting from your employment entitles you to workers’ compensation. Even a pre-existing medical condition (such as a bad back) that is made worse by a work injury, or the nature of your work itself is covered.

Can my employer stop my benefits before I am ready to return to work?

While you are on workers’ compensation benefits, your employer or its workers’ compensation carrier will almost certainly attempt to limit or stop your benefits at some point. They can have you examined by an “independent” medical examiner, who may assert that you are fully recovered when, in fact, you require additional treatment. Your employer may an alternative-duty position that is not suitable for your physical restrictions. While on workers’ compensation benefits, it is important that you respond quickly and appropriately to these attempts to stop or limit your benefits. Banks Law provides no-fee consultations during this period. We won’t charge a fee until and unless the employer files a Petition to go before a Judge to stop or reduce your benefits.

Can I get a lump sum settlement of my workers’ compensation benefits?

Yes. Very often, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will offer the injured worker a lump sum amount in exchange for the injured worker giving up their right to any future weekly checks and/or forfeiting their right to have their future medical bills paid. While such lump sum offers can be tempting, it is strongly advised that you consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you fully understand the implications of accepting the offer and that you are getting a fair settlement amount.

“Once my insurance company found out it was Banks Law who was representing us, the bullying stopped almost automatically. Reaching out and getting help from Banks Law made it more human for us, because we weren't just a case file or a number to them. They cried with me. They cried on the phone with me, because they knew exactly what we were dealing with and how to fix it.”
Mike & Lenore Filipovic
Workers’ Compensation Client