Factors that Determine Workers’ Compensation Eligibility
Pennsylvania workers’ compensation requires that you be an employee and be injured at work or due to job-related duties to be eligible for benefits. Although these requirements may seem straightforward, they can be more complicated than you realize.
It is common for workers to be uncertain about their workers’ compensation eligibility. Hopefully, this article will shed some light on whether your unique situation should be addressed by workers’ compensation insurance in Pennsylvania.
Basic Requirements for Workers’ Comp Eligibility
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. That means that as long as you were injured doing a work activity, even if it is was not on work property, you can still get benefits.
This broad definition means that most workers in Pennsylvania will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured at work or while doing something the benefits their employer.
In general, you meet the requirements for workers’ compensation if:
- You are an employee
- Your employer has workers’ compensation insurance (or is supposed to have it)
- Your illness or injury is work-related
- You meet required deadlines to report the incident and file a workers’ compensation claim
Most employers in Pennsylvania are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. That means that the vast majority of workers should have this benefit available to them if they are injured at work.
Who Qualifies for Workers’ Compensation?
If you are an employee, then you will be eligible for workers’ comp benefits even as early as your first day on the job. As long as your employer has workers’ comp insurance (or is supposed to have it according to Pennsylvania workers’ comp law), then you can get benefits.
This also applies to:
- Seasonal workers
- Temporary employees
- Part-time workers
Many part-time employees make the mistake of assuming that they do not get benefits like workers’ compensation simply because they are not employed full time. While other benefits may not be available to you as a part-time worker, Pennsylvania laws have determined that workers’ compensation benefits are so essential that virtually all workers should receive them.
The only workers who are not eligible are those who are considered independent contractors, freelancers, or consultants. However, sometimes employers attempt to classify workers in this way to avoid paying benefits like workers’ compensation.
You may still be entitled to benefits even if your employer calls you an independent contractor on paper.
Some employees and industries do not require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. However, all employees must be considered exempt for an employer to avoid having work comp insurance. Those situations are rare.
What Qualifies for Workers’ Comp?
If you are injured at work, you can likely get workers’ compensation benefits. In fact, you do not even have to be on your employer’s property to get work benefits.
Workers’ compensation qualifications are broad. If you were doing work on behalf of your employer at the time of the injury, you are likely covered.
Workers’ compensation applies to:
- Acute work injuries
- Gradual or repetitive stress injuries
- Work illnesses
- Mental injuries or impairments
If you believe your injury may be work-related, it is certainly worth asking a Pennsylvania workers’ comp attorney.
Requirements for Workers’ Compensation Reporting
As an employee, you have to get your employer notice of an injury within 21 days of the date it occurs if you want retroactive benefits.
You must provide notice within 120 days of the date of the injury. If you do not meet the 120-day deadline, then you may forfeit your ability to get workers’ compensation benefits at all.
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
If you are unsure, you can ask yourself the following questions to help determine if you should be seeking workers’ compensation benefits:
- Did my injury arise at work?
- Was I doing an activity that benefited my employer at the time the incident occurred?
- Do I need to see a doctor to address my injury?
- Did my injury occur over time, but it was from repeated actions or exposure at work?
- Did I report my injury to my employer within 120 days of when it occurred?
If you said yes to any of these questions, you should investigate your rights to workers’ compensation benefits a bit further. If you want to dig a little bit deeper, you can try our workers’ compensation eligibility quiz.
We Can Help You Determine Your Workers’ Comp Eligibility
You should talk to a member of our team at Krasno Law to determine if you should be getting benefits if you are still unsure.
Consultations are always free, and we never take any fees unless you get benefits. Contact us today to up your free consultation.