Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law – The Basics (Part B)


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Below is a discussion of the types of workers’ compensation benefits available to injured workers in Pennsylvania, as well as common exclusions from coverage. Click here to read Part A, which discusses eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.

If you’ve been injured in a work accident, it is vital that you speak to a work accident lawyer immediately to evaluate workers’ compensation issues as well as other liability issues.

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits

There are five main types of workers’ compensation benefits available:

  1. earning loss benefits,
  2. specific loss benefits,
  3. disfigurement benefits,
  4. death benefits,
  5. illegally employed minor’s benefits, and
  6. medical benefits.

It is important to note that in general, workers’ compensation benefits do not compensate injured workers for pain and suffering, only for loss of wages and medical bills. What many injured workers do not know is that they may have a valid injury claim against other non-employer or third parties. In a third party liability case, workers may be able to recover pain and suffering damages, loss of wages, etc.

Related: Liability in a Construction Accident Case; Employer Liability for Work Related Accidents in Pennsylvania

An Explanation of the Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available

Earning loss benefits compensate you for total or partial disability that results in a loss of earning power. The exact amounts are determined by statute and depend on pre-injury wages and other factors. In general, the benefits are equal to two-thirds of the weekly wage for a work-related injury.

Specific loss benefits are payable for the loss/amputation or permanent loss of use of a body part, loss of hearing, sight or disfigurement. These benefits are not based on disability, but rather, the loss of the use of the body part or disfigurement.

Disfigurement benefits are available for serious injuries which result in disfigurement of the head, face or neck.

Death benefits are available to the survivors. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, notice of claims related to a worker’s death must be made within 3 years of the date of the death. In addition the death must occur within 300 weeks after the date of the injury. In the case of an occupational disease, the death must occur within 300 days of the last date of employment.

Illegally employed minors are entitled to receive not only their usual statutory loss benefits, but also an additional 50% of the compensation rate, which is paid by the employer directly.

Medical benefits are payable regardless of whether there is a disabling injury or not. All reasonable and necessary treatment must be paid. There is no co-pay or deductible. Medical providers are not allowed to seek any type of balance or payment from you.

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits – Exclusions

In general, injuries which are proven to have occurred as a result of any of the following will not be covered:

  1. intentional/self-inflicted injury,
  2. violation of law,
  3. violation of a positive order (i.e., violating an employer’s work order),
  4. illegal use of drugs, or
  5. intoxication.

Related articles:

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation & Accident Lawyer

The Philadelphia law firm of Laffey, Bucci & Kent represents workers who are injured on the job. Our work accident lawyers specialize in handling negligence cases against third parties and may handle workers’ compensation cases. Depending on the facts of a given work accident case, the firm may refer the workers’ compensation case to another law firm. Please call the firm for a free consultation. Click To Call

Jeff Laffey is passionate about workers’ rights and accident safety. Learn about his 2012 workplace safety presentation to union members in Philadelphia.

Jeff’s law firm proudly represents union and nonunion workers, such as:

  • carpenters,
  • plumbers,
  • electricians,
  • steel workers,
  • iron workers, and
  • laborers.

Disclaimer: The lawyers at Laffey, Bucci & Kent provide legal advice to individuals after accepting their case. No attorney-client relationship is created by this website. Nothing on this site is intended to provide legal advice. Because every case is unique, discussion of prior outcomes and settlements in past cases is no guarantee of a similar outcome in current or future cases.