Since opening in 1978, the law firm of Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC has been representing injured workers in Downingtown and throughout Pennsylvania. We have been ardent advocates for residents in Downingtown and the surrounding areas for more than 40 years, successfully working with injured workers and their workers’ compensation insurance claims.
Located just over 30 miles west of Philadelphia, Downingtown has a rich history, with a strong focus on education, business, and agriculture. It is one of Chester County’s most beloved towns, and the law firm of Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC are proud to represent the town and its hard-working community.
Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania
Suffering an injury at work could easily upend your life: your future could drastically change as you may lose your ability to make a living because of a work-related injury or illness. Fortunately, the majority of employers in Pennsylvania is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, offering coverage for medical expenses and lost wages.
Workers’ compensation insurance in Pennsylvania is a no-fault system, which means that there is coverage for a worker’s injury or illness if it is work-related, regardless of whether it was caused by the employer or the employee. In exchange for this coverage, the employee agrees in writing that they cannot sue their employer for the injuries or illness they suffered. This contract is signed by both employer and employee and generally occurs when the worker is first hired.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Workers
Workers’ compensation coverage begins the first day an employee is hired. There are many important benefits for a worker, including:
- Income: The worker who suffered an injury will still receive income on a regular basis, which will normally be two-thirds of their original salary, and they will continue to receive payments while they are out of work recovering.
- Medical bills: Workers’ compensation insurance will cover any medical expenses the worker incurs that is a result of their injury, including surgery, hospital visits or stays, prescription medications, doctor visits, and others. Treatment/rehabilitation is also covered, such as physical or occupational therapy, which may be needed if the injury caused the worker to lose functionality they once depended on for work. Other medical devices like walkers, wheelchairs, or canes can also be covered under the program.
- Temporary partial disability: This type of benefit is given to employees who were injured but are able to return to work, albeit in a limited manner. Because of their injury, the worker may have to work in a different role or may have to work part-time in the role they had previously. With temporary partial disability, the injured worker can still receive two-thirds of their previous income until they are ready to return to their original role.
- Permanent partial disability: For workers whose injury limits their work opportunities for the future, or if their injury requires surgery, then they may collect the permanent partial disability benefit.
- Permanent total disability: For workers whose injury or illness has been so severe it prevents them from ever returning to work, they may receive permanent total disability benefits. These injuries must be diagnosed by a doctor, and could include paralysis, permanent illnesses, or traumatic brain injuries.
- Disfigurement and specific loss: These types of benefits are for injured workers whose injury or illness prevents them from ever returning to work, as well as returning to the life they once had before the injury. These injuries are permanent impairments or disfigurements.
- Death benefits: Should a worker die as a result of their injuries or illness, then their family will receive a death benefit, which would include items such as coverage for funeral expenses.
What Employers Must Carry Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
Almost all companies in Pennsylvania and other states must carry workers’ compensation insurance for their workers, but there are a few exceptions, including:
- Agricultural employees who work less than 30 days or earn less than $1,200 in 12 months from one employer.
- Railroad workers, federal employees, and longshoremen, who fall under a separate coverage outside of the state.
- Independent contractors.
- Domestic servants are not legally required to receive coverage.
- Some employees may be exempt from coverage for their executive status or religious beliefs.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Employers
Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation insurance benefits both employees and employers should an injury or illness occur. Employers receive the benefits of:
- It is appealing to prospective employees that the majority of employers in Pennsylvania are required to offer workers’ compensation benefits. This helps an employee feel more comfortable with a business or company knowing that they are covered should an injury occur.
- Workers’ compensation insurance protects the employer from any lawsuits regarding an injury to a worker. The employee accepts this agreement when they are first hired, and, in exchange, receives the benefits of the workers’ compensation package such as medical coverage and lost wage coverage.
- Workers’ compensation insurance is just like any other insurance plan, as the employer pays a premium to cover their injured worker’s medical bills and the insurance plan will cover the rest of the costs.
How to Report a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation benefits kick in as soon as the employee is hired. Should a worker become injured, they need to report the incident to their employer or supervisor immediately. Of course, that may not always be possible, as some workers work off-site, or the worker’s injury was so severe they are unable to communicate. Fortunately, work injuries must be reported within 21 days of the injury in order to be covered under the insurance plan.
Any person can report an injury a worker suffers, whether it is the worker themselves or a coworker, or a loved one. There are important details that must be included when the injury is reported to a supervisor or employer, such as the name of the employee, any witnesses to the incident, the location of the incident, the date and time, as well as the possible cause of the injury. This could be done through different forms of writing, such as an email. The employer then takes this information and then contacts the insurance carrier to file the workers’ compensation claim.
Downingtown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Help Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
If you have been injured at work, contact our knowledgeable Downingtown workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC immediately. Call us today at 610-594-1600 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With our offices located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve all communities of Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchland, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.