What Do I Do When I Get Injured?
A. When you get injured on the job, find your nearest supervisor, manager or authority figure and report the injury immediately. If nobody is available, leave a phone message for one of these individuals detailing exactly how you injured yourself and follow up with them the next day. YOU MUST REPORT THE WORK INJURY TO THE PERSON IN CHARGE OF YOU UNLESS YOUR COMPANY HAS SPECIFIC REPORTING PROCEDURES FOR WORK INJURIES.
B. Be very specific when you report the injury to your employer. Explain exactly how you injured yourself on the job and include all of the body parts you hurt. It is better to report all injuries even if you think they are not a big deal at the time. Many small aches and pains turn into bigger problems down the road.
C. Ask your employer for an incident report and make sure you are specific when describing the work injuries. Make sure to put the date when you injured yourself on the form. ALWAYS ASK FOR A COPY OF THE DOCUMENT, ESPECIALLY IF YOUR JOB FILLS IT OUT FOR YOU! You can print out an Employee Incident Report Form from our website and use it if your employer does not provide one to you.
D. Seek medical attention as soon as you can. Your job should send you to a panel physician, company nurse or hospital. If they do not provide you with a list of doctors, go to the nearest hospital and get treatment.
E. You have 120 days from the time you get injured to report a work injury. The quicker you report the work injury the better off you will be. DO NOT DELAY.
How Do I Get Medical Attention?
A. The most recent version of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act requires employees to be treated by a medical provider on the employer’s list of designated doctors for 90 days. The list of medical providers must be clearly posted in the workplace. Additionally, your employer must get WRITTEN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of the designated doctor list at the time of hire and again when you get injured. Please refer to the checklist below. If you answered no to any of these questions, you can treat with a doctor of your choosing.
- Is a list of panel doctors posted at my work?
- Did I sign a written acknowledgment at the time I was hired?
- Did I sign a written acknowledgment at the time of my work injury?
B. If the panel doctor recommends surgery, notify your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier that you would like a second opinion. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier should pay for the visit for the second opinion. It is important to choose a doctor who specializes in surgery for the area of the body you injured.
C. Once you get the opportunity to treat with your own doctor, try to pick a specialist who deals with the specific part of the body you injured. Today, physicians specialize in all different types of medicine. We will be happy to refer you to a doctor who specializes in the type of injury you have. Once you obtain a new doctor, notify the workers’ compensation insurance carrier and your employer that you have switched your treatment.
D. Always ask for a copy of the medical report from the doctor who is treating you. If they provide you with a prescription note, please keep a copy for your records. It is very important to keep copies of all of your medical records.
E. Always ask your doctor to fill out a physical capabilities form which defines your physical restrictions. Keep a copy for your records and provide one copy to your employer. A physical capacities form notifies your employer what physical accommodations should be made for you.
F. When you get to choose your own doctor, you may be asked for a second form of insurance. This typically means that the doctor wants workers’ compensation insurance information as well as your private insurance. In the event that workers’ compensation denies payment for medical treatment, your private insurance will act as a backup insurance.
What If My Injury Is Accepted By Workers’ Compensation?
A. There are no guarantees that your injury will be accepted by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If your work injury is accepted and your doctor removes you from work, then you will begin receiving Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD). A calculation will be done to determine your compensation rate. You will either receive two-thirds of what your gross earnings are per week or 90 percent if your gross earnings are less than a set amount of money per week. For the calendar year 2008 if you earn $448.32 or less per week then your TTD benefit will be 90 percent of the gross amount of your earnings. If you earn $448.33 or more then you will receive two-thirds of your gross earnings per week.
B. If you are working light duty and earning less than your pre-injury wage then the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will pay you two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wage and your post-injury wage. This is known as Partial Disability Benefits. It is important to remember that if you refuse to perform the light duty job because it pays less, you will jeopardize your entitlement to ongoing compensation checks.
C. It is a good idea to go to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry website to review the section on temporary and partial disability benefits.
D. Unfortunately, your employer has no obligation to find you work that complies with the restrictions placed on you by your doctor. If they do not offer you light duty they should be paying you TTD benefits.
E. If your employer lays you off while you are on restrictions from your doctor, you should receive TTD benefits.
F. If you refuse to do a light duty job offered to you that your doctor says you can do, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will file a Modification or Suspension Petition against you and try to reduce your TTD benefits or stop the TTD benefits altogether. You will still be entitled to medical benefits.
G. It is a difficult decision to make when asked to return to work while you are injured. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and your doctor. However, your choice may impact your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits. Contact your attorney to weigh your options before deciding what to do.
H. When you have an accepted work injury, your employer through their workers’ compensation insurance carrier must pay for reasonable and necessary medical expenses that relate only to your work injury. Your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier have no obligation to continue paying for private medical coverage for you. If this is the case, please give your workers’ compensation attorney a call. Your lawyer can help you research how to get medical coverage for other health-related concerns.
Contact Our Law Firm For Answers To All Of Your Questions
The attorneys at Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo have been representing injured workers since 1936. Email us or call us at 877-794-2396 to schedule a free consultation in Philadelphia or in locations throughout Pennsylvania.