Workers’ Comp Claims Are Insurance Processes, Not Suing Your Employer
There is a common misconception that being hurt on the job means you will have to sue your employer to recover compensation for your injuries. This idea naturally scares many people, and plenty of employees who have experienced a workplace injury suffer silently—and unnecessarily—to avoid what they believe will be a confrontational and emotionally fraught situation at work.
However, making a workers’ compensation (WC) claim in most situations will involve working through an established WC insurance process specially designed to eliminate the need to sue your employer and avoid a fight. If you’ve been hurt, disabled, or developed an illness while working, it is your right to make a workers’ comp claim, and you should not avoid doing so out of fear.
Just Because It Is an Established Process Does Not Mean It Will Be Simple
Now, it’s important to note that many things can go wrong with seemingly straightforward WC claims—mainly because workers’ compensation insurers are motivated to close claims quickly and avoid paying out fair amounts of money to injured people. We have discussed some of the potential complications in our wealth of previous blog articles about WC topics, which we encourage you to check out.
Among those complications is having your benefits claim denied by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
If this happens to you, it is critical that you do not give up—you will need to appeal the decision to get the compensation you need to pay medical bills and get you through any period in which you can’t work. And this will require help from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney like ours here at Westmoreland Injury Lawyers.
Quick Recap: How Do I Apply for Workers’ Comp Benefits?
But let’s back up from the idea of a benefits denial for a second. Hopefully, that will not happen to you, and the idea of it happening should not hold you back from applying for benefits!
As we covered in our earlier article—How to File for Workers’ Compensation in PA—beginning the workers’ comp claims process equals informing your employer about your illness or injury as soon as possible (within 120 days). That action on your part will kick off the claims filing process with the PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation—which is your employer’s responsibility—so you can focus on getting needed medical care.
Your employer will give you forms to fill out for their WC insurance carrier and the Bureau—if they do not do this, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer for help.
What if My Employer Doesn’t Have Worker’s Compensation Insurance?
Not all employers have WC insurance, but you’re still able to make a claim thanks to our state’s laws. If your human resources rep or another administrator at your company seems confused about their responsibilities related to filing a workers’ compensation claim for you, you may need to help them understand.
While this might seem intimidating, making a WC claim when you are injured or sickened on the job—no matter what the job or industry you’re in—is your right as a worker in Pennsylvania.
Are There Situations When I Should Sue My Employer Over Job-Related Injuries?
We started this blog post off saying that filing a workers’ comp claim is not suing your employer, and that’s true. The WC process has been put in place and exists so that most injured employees will not have to go through the hassle and hardship of suing their company.
And, WC also protects businesses at the same time. In many cases, you won’t be able to sue your employer over workplace injuries because of the nature of the WC system.
However, there are some situations in which suing your employer is possible—and potentially your best course of action. For instance, if you were hurt at work, and you believe your employer intentionally caused you harm, you may be able to sue them in civil court for something known as an intentional tort.
Things like assault and battery or even non-physical violence/abuse—like intentional infliction of emotional distress—are just a few examples of situations in which you may be able to sue your employer. Know that these scenarios can be extremely complicated and combative, and you will need a personal injury lawyer on your side to work through the process with you.
Get the Experienced Legal Help You Need with Your Workers’ Comp Claim
No matter the circumstances surrounding your WC claim—or what type of injuries or illness led to the need to make a claim—Westmoreland Injury Lawyers is the helping hand you need to get the compensation you deserve, right here in Greensburg.
When you’re hurt at work, you don’t need the added stress of navigating the workers’ compensation claims process alone. Contact us today for caring guidance and the most capable legal help when benefits are denied or prematurely stopped. Westmoreland Injury Lawyers is here for Western PA’s injured workers.