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Workers Compensation Lawyers in Erie, PA - Elderkin Law Firm

Workers’ compensation benefits entitle employees to full and free medical care for injuries or illnesses caused by their normal job duties. If you’ve been injured on the job, you need a skilled workers’ compensation attorney. The laws and statutes regulating Pennsylvania workers’ compensation can be extremely confusing, and you need an experienced attorney like ours at Elderkin Law Firm to help you navigate the regulatory process and make sure that you receive full compensation for your workplace injuries.
 

At the Elderkin Law Firm, our lawyers assist workplace injury victims in matters including:

  • The right to choose their own doctor if they don't like the one provided by the employer's insurance
  • Obtaining compensation for lost income while healing
  • Ensuring that they still receive proper medical care through the employer's insurance until their injuries are healed
  • Taking care of the filing claim forms
  • In appropriate cases, obtaining a lump sum settlement of their claim
     

An injury on the job can interfere with your life for an extended period of time. We know the stress that comes with a workplace injury.

Tell us about your case and let our experienced attorneys alleviate your stress by handling the complicated workers' compensation system for you. We want to get you results. Call our Erie, PA offices at 814-456-4000, send us an email at contact@elderkinlaw.com, or fill out one of the contact forms. Talk to us, we can help.  

How do I know if I am eligible to receive workers' compensation and what do I receive?

All Pennsylvania employers are required by law to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. The term “employee” is broadly defined, so that almost everybody is an employee unless they truly fit within the narrow definition of an independent contractor.

 

If you are an employee, and get hurt at work, you get two things: 

 

First, you get two-thirds of your wage loss, subject to a cap. That wage loss benefit is tax-free.  If you make $300 a week, and are injued at work, you get $200 a week through workers' comp.

 

Second, all of your medical bills are paid by the employer.

How long do I have to report my workplace injury?

You have 120 days to report the injury, but it is not advisable to wait that long.  You should report it immediately.

What if I was at fault for the injury?
Pennsylvania is a no-fault system, so it doesn’t matter if it’s your fault, the employer’s fault, or someone else’s fault, you are always covered if you’re working and you’re injured. If it is intentional infliction of an injury, you are not covered.
How long can workers’ compensation last?

In theory, it can last as long as you live. Your entitled to disability benefits so long as you are unable to work as a result of the work injury.

 

After you have been disabled for a period of two years, however, your employer can send you for an Impairment Rating Evaluation ("IRE"). If you are found to be less than 50 percent disabled based on total body impairment rating, then your benefits will be capped at 500 weeks after the initial 104 weeks (two years), allowing about nine and a half more years.

 

If you return to work in any capacity and make less than you did before your injury, or if you fail to return to work when it was available to you, then your benefits will be two-thirds of the difference between what you used to make compared to what you could have made now, and that would be capped at 500 more weeks.

 

If you fully recover, then your benefits will be terminated as of the time of full recovery.

My employer says it doesn't have the money to pay my claim -- what happens to my benefits?

There should never be a situation where your employer doesn't have the money to pay your claim. The law requires all employers to have insurance for such situations.

Will all of my medical bills be covered by workers' compensation?
All of the medical bills that are reasonable, necessary, and causally related to the work injury are to be paid. If you injure your back and need to have your appendix out, your appendix surgery will not be covered.
Can I make a claim on my spouse's behalf if he or she can’t do so because of the injuries?

Yes. You can make a claim on your spouse's behalf. You want to make sure that the employer is placed on notice within 120 days. If timely notice is not given, then your claim may be lost. It is critical to make sure that the employer is aware of the injury, and for you to keep proof of when you notified the employer, who you spoke with when you called and what you told them. 

If my employer wants to have an IRE done, what would you suggest?

Your employer has the right to send you for an exam, either an Impairment Rating Exam or a general independent medical exam to check on your status and discuss treatment options. Under certain circumstances you have to go as a matter of law.

 

If you’re asked to go, it would be wise to talk to a lawyer prior to the exam to discuss what to expect at the exam, what the employer's obligations are with regard to costs such as gas, parking, food, transportation, etc., and what to do and not to do at that exam. Remember: the doctors performing these exams are not treating you, they are there just to assess your ability. Information you provide to them will become available to your employer, so you may not want to discuss matters that are confidential and not related to your workplace injury.

Do I get to choose my doctor for the IRE?

You can choose your own doctor at any point in time, but if you want your employers to cover the cost, you may have to be treated by an employer-selected panel physician for a period of time. You have specific rights with respect to who provides treatment for you. You should discuss any concerns you have with your attorney. 

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