Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available in Pennsylvania
Not all workers’ compensation benefits are the same. While most injured workers can file for benefits if they are injured on the job, they may recover varying amounts of payments. Injured workers in Pennsylvania may be eligible for medical benefits, specific loss benefits, lost wages, and death benefits. By understanding the different types of available workers’ compensation benefits, injured workers can make sure they obtain the full compensation to which they are entitled.
Medical Expense Benefits
For many people, the medical expenses resulting from a workplace injury can be overwhelming. Workers’ compensation can cover many of the costs of medical treatment deemed “reasonable” and “necessary” for treating the injury including:
- Hospital stays
- Physician fees
- Surgical costs
- Medicine (including prescription drugs)
- Orthopedic appliances
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- In-patient rehabilitation
- Automobile modifications necessary to accommodate the injury
- Certain other medical supplies
- Travel expenses related to medical visits
In Pennsylvania, to receive medical benefits, workers must comply with the rules of the state workers’ compensation system in choosing a medical provider. Injured workers have three choices in medical treatment: 1) be seen by a medical provider recommended by the workers’ compensation insurer; or 2) be seen a medical provider chosen from a list of six provided by the workers’ compensation insurer; or 3) be seen for 90 days by one of the workers’ compensation insurer’s recommended or “on the list” providers and then switch to a medical provider of their own choice. Medical expense benefits are paid directly to the medical providers without the need for a co-payment by the injured worker.
Specific Loss Benefits
Specific loss benefits are lump sum payments meant to compensate injured workers for injuries resulting in disfigurement or permanent loss or use of a body part. This can include amputation, scarring, partial or total loss of vision, or partial or total loss of hearing. Specific loss payments are determined by the employee’s average weekly earnings and a preset value placed on the disfigurement or specific loss. In cases of loss of a limb such as an arm, injured workers can receive up to two-thirds of their weekly salary for 410 weeks. Other specific loss benefits relate to permanent loss of use of thumbs, fingers, legs, feet, and toes.
Wage Loss Benefits
When someone is unable to work due to a work injury, workers’ compensation typically includes a lost wage benefit. The injured employee is entitled to part of their salary during the time they are unable to work. Under most workers’ compensation plans, the amount of lost wages varies depending on the severity of the injury and the type of disability. Wage loss benefits can also be reduced when the injured worker is receiving other benefits such as Social Security, severance pay, unemployment compensation, or retirement pension payments.
In cases of temporary total disability, individuals are unable to work at all while they are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Under Pennsylvania law, the injured workers experiencing temporary total disability are entitled to two-thirds of their weekly salary for up to 104 weeks, after which time a medical examination may be required to evaluate the injured worker’s level of impairment.
When an individual can work in some capacity following their injury, they usually are entitled to partial disability to account for the fact they are earning less than they would had the injury not have occurred. The permanent partial disability payment calculation in Pennsylvania is two-thirds of the difference between the injured worker’s former salary and the current salary up to maximum of 500 weeks or until the worker can work at full capacity again.
Families of workers who are fatally injured in a workplace accident may be entitled to death benefits on behalf of the deceased worker. All families are entitled to up to $3,000 towards funeral expenses. Spouses of deceased workers often receive weekly benefits based on the employee’s weekly salary until the spouse remarries. Children of deceased workers are entitled to death benefits until they become 18 (or 23 for full-time students). In some instances, parents or siblings of deceased workers may be entitled to some death benefit payment.
Philadelphia Work Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Help Clients Recover Maximum Workers’ Compensation Benefits
With the assistance of an experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer, individuals injured at work can obtain the maximum amount of compensation available. At Freedman & Lorry, P.C. we handle all types of work accident claims. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey to serve injured workers and their families throughout Pennsylvania and South Jersey. We also have offices in Pinehurst, North Carolina to assist our clients in the south. To schedule a free initial consultation today with an experienced work injury lawyer, call us at 888-999-1962 or submit an online inquiry form.