What is the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act


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Nearly 100 years ago, in 1915, the Pennsylvania legislature enacted the Pennsylvania Workman’s Compensation Act (Act). It is now known as the PA Workers’ Compensation Act. Under the Act, the PA Department of Labor and Industry, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is tasked with overseeing all aspects of the Act, which provides compensation for workers injured as a result of employment, without regard to fault. Since 1915, there have been multiple amendments to the Act. One of the most important amendments involved bringing both work related injuries and occupational diseases under the Act.

Are Employers Required to Provide Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

The purpose of the Act is to protect both employees and employers. Under the Act, injured workers receive medical treatment and compensation for lost wages associated with injuries or occupational disease.

Employers who provide Workers’ Compensation benefits for employees are thereafter protected from employee lawsuits. Workers’ Compensation coverage for the most part, is mandatory for employers in Pennsylvania. An employer who fails to obtain Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage may be subject to lawsuits by injured workers and may also be subject to criminal prosecution by the state.

However, some employers are exempt from having to provide Workers’ Compensation coverage to certain classes of employees who may be covered under other Workers’ Compensation laws, such as railroad workers, longshoremen, federal employees, and certain classes of agricultural workers.

In Pennsylvania, employers can obtain Workers’ Compensation insurance through a licensed insurance carrier or the State Workers Insurance Fund.

Benefits Covered under the Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Act

Lost Wages (Disability). An injured worker who is disabled from returning to work as a result of a work related accident or occupational disease, is eligible to receive a certain portion of his or her lost wages. There are however certain limitations. For example, the disability must last longer than seven days. In addition, it is important to note that there are maximum allowable benefits per week. Effective 2014, the maximum weekly wage allowable under the Act is $932.00.

Medical Expenses. Under the Act, reasonable and necessary medical expenses for the treatment of injuries sustained as a result of the work related accident or occupational disease are covered. There is no requirement that an injured worker miss time from work in order to obtain medical treatment under the Act. In other words, an injured worker can make a medical expense claim even though he has not lost any time from work.

Specific Loss Benefits. When an injured worker suffers catastrophic injuries such as the loss of a limb, loss of vision, or hearing, the Act permits special benefits (compensation) for the specific injury. The maximum amounts are laid out in the Act.

Disfigurement Benefits. Under the Act, benefits are available in the event of permanent disfigurement of the face, head or neck.

Death Benefits. In the event a work related accident results in death or an occupational disease results in death, the injured employee’s dependents may receive death benefits. In addition, reasonable burial expenses are payable subject to the maximum set out in the Act.

Related: Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation – Do You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Pennsylvania and New Jersey Workers’ Compensation & Accident Lawyers

Laffey, Bucci & Kent is a work accident and injury law firm based in Philadelphia. 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

Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.