Workers’ Comp vs Occupational Accident Insurance (Explained)

Many people have questions about workers’ comp vs occupational accident insurance. Likewise, they may have heard of OSHA, but not know what it is or does. Since 1915, Pennsylvania has required certain employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance policies to support injured employees who are hurt while at work. By providing this policy, employers give back to the workforce by providing them with financial benefits such as payment of medical expenses and lost wages, and even death benefits if the worker is killed on the job. 

Occupational accident insurance is a similar type of insurance that provides payments to injured workers in certain circumstances. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also supports workers by enacting laws to protect them from safety and health hazards they may encounter on the job. 

Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo was founded in 1936 by a retired Workers’ Compensation Judge. Since then, the firm has grown to include 11 attorneys, three of which have been named Lawyer of the Year. Our firm focuses on providing outstanding and pointed representation to workers who suffer injuries and cannot return to work. Our Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers will tirelessly fight for you to help ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to under the law. 

What Is the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and OSHA? 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and workers’ compensation both involve worker safety and accidents, but they do so in different ways. OSHA is an organization in charge of safeguarding workers’ health and safety while workers are performing their jobs. For example, they enact regulations to limit workers’ exposure to chemicals and thus their risk of developing cancer or lung diseases. In contrast, workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to workers when they suffer an on-the-job injury and cannot return to work. 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is part of the United States Department of Labor. OSHA provides guidelines to protect the safety and health of workers throughout the United States. The guidelines that organizations must follow are outlined in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and in regulations enacted by OSHA throughout the years. 

OSHA conducts regular safety and health audits of many facilities and work sites in industries such as agriculture and construction. For example, OSHA regulates workers’ exposure to chemicals such as beryllium to help reduce the risk of lung issues among workers. Likewise, OSHA has regulations for noise exposure, exit routes, and walking and working surfaces. Businesses that fail to meet OSHA’s standards may be fined, subject to citations, or incur other penalties. OSHA also encourages workers to file complaints if they believe their employer is putting them at risk of injury or death. 

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act requires most employers to carry an approved form of workers’ compensation insurance. The policy covers the medical expenses and lost wages of a qualified worker who suffers an injury while on the job and cannot return to work for a period of time. The benefits are typically (but not always) temporary and serve the purpose of supporting the employee while they are recovering from the injury. Pennsylvania also provides benefits for surviving family members whose loved ones died in a work accident. 

In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation insurance is not fault-based, meaning workers may still receive benefits even if their employer is not at fault for the injury. In exchange for this protection, employees cannot file a personal injury claim against their employer if they suffer a work injury. However, if their employer fails to carry the required insurance policy, the injured employee may be eligible to pursue civil penalties against the business or their employer. 

What Is the Difference Between Occupational Accident Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Insurance? 

Occupational accident insurance and workers’ compensation insurance cover similar situations. But both have important differences between them. In a nutshell, occupational accident insurance is a type of business insurance organizations can carry to cover work-related injuries suffered by employees and, in some cases, independent contractors. Workers’ compensation insurance, by contrast, is a legally required insurance policy that covers on-the-job injuries suffered by qualified workers and which must meet certain requirements. 

Occupational Accident Insurance

Occupational accident insurance is a type of policy that some business owners may carry in some states. Like workers’ compensation insurance, it typically covers medical expenses for job-related injuries and wage replacement benefits while the employee is recovering. Most occupational accident coverage allows employers to scale up or down the policy limits to meet their requirements and budgets. 

Some plans may also offer specific coverage tailored to an industry, such as trucking. For example, a truck accident occupational accident insurance policy may cover passengers involved in truck driving accidents. Some policies cover independent contractors and employees, but this is not always the case. 

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance is a specific type of insurance that most employers must carry under Pennsylvania law. The policy provides benefits to workers in the form of reimbursement for medical costs and lost wages while the worker cannot work. As explained by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s Guide to Workers Compensation Insurance, the benefits the worker receives depend on the classification of the injury. For example, workers who suffer a temporary disability typically receive less than someone who suffers a permanent disability. The workers’ compensation insurance policy covers eligible employees but not independent contractors. 

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?

Under the PA workers’ compensation laws, employees can file for benefits within 21 days after suffering an on-the-job injury (such as a back injury) or after discovering they developed an injury (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) because of their job. Once the employee notifies their employer that they suffered a job-related injury, the employer must then report the injury to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation within 48 hours if the injury results in death or within seven days after the employee becomes disabled. The employer must also report the injury to their workers’ compensation insurance provider, who then investigates the claim. 

At the end of the investigation, the provider issues a notice, either offering to pay benefits at a specified rate or denying the benefits claim. In some cases (such as if the worker is denied workers’ compensation benefits), the employee can request a hearing before a Workers’ Compensation Judge. If they do not agree with the outcome of the hearing, they may be able to file an appeal with the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. 

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney at Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo for Help

Suffering a work injury can be a trying and scary time. You have many questions and often very few answers. But our team is here to help you meet the challenges of the moment. 

We have decades of experience successfully standing by and fighting for injured workers in many different industries, from trucking to teaching and nearly every profession in between. Our team understands the complex requirements of Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law and stands ready to fight for your best interests, so you can get back to work and get the financial support you need. 

Geoffrey Dlin was a Workers’ Compensation Judge for many years before transitioning to private practice. During his time as a judge, he saw many attorneys unsuccessfully try to help injured workers. He rejoined private practice to be the change he wanted to see in the legal community and engage in effective advocacy for those hurt on the job. 

If you suffered a work injury in Pennsylvania, contact our team today to schedule a free consultation by calling 844-243-4843 or using our online contact form.

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