Suffering any workplace injury naturally leads to worries. Who will pay the mounting medical bills? Are lost wages recoverable? Will the injury be compensated fairly and justly? Usually, those concerns are somewhat alleviated when the injured employee begins to receive regular Workers’ Compensation benefits.
In Pennsylvania, employers must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance by law or face penalties. However, not all companies follow the rules. This means an injured full-time, part-time, or seasonal employee could face a difficult situation unless they understand and act on their rights to recover fair and equitable compensation. The key is for them to take action quickly and act as their own advocates.
Immediately after any work injury, an employee should seek medical attention. Then, they must tell their employer about the incident in detail. Ideally, the employer would document the circumstances in an injury report and tell the worker how to contact the insurance carrier handling their work injury claims. If they do not have Workers’ Comp coverage, though, they may give the employee the run-around. Not only is this illegal, but it wastes the worker’s time.
In this very challenging situation, the worker still has choices. One of them would be to make contact with a local work injury attorney as soon as possible. He or she can advise on the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. The advantages to recovering damages through a personal injury lawsuit include being awarded full back wages, all medical treatment expenses, and in some cases, remuneration for pain and suffering. The disadvantages involve waiting for the case to go through the courts, potentially not being successful, and having to prove the injury was linked to employer negligence.
Despite the possible downsides to filing a personal injury lawsuit, many Pennsylvania employees whose employers skirted Workers’ Compensation laws take this route. It allows them to gain control over the situation and have a better chance at being compensated for an experience that was not their fault.
Injured workers whose employers do not carry Workers’ Compensation insurance cannot take too long to decide what to do thanks to tight statute of limitations. Pennsylvania requires injured workers to tell their employers within 120 days. In addition to notifying their employers within this timeframe, they have up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. To avoid missing deadlines, injured workers should seek the assistance of an experienced work injury lawyer, even if they are unsure they want to sue the company.
During the initial attorney consultation, injured workers should be prepared to talk about the details surrounding their accident. They may also want to bring all pertinent documents, including medical invoices or correspondence with the employer. That way, the attorney can get a better picture of the incident and offer advice on the most appropriate action to take.
Suffering an injury while at work is stressful enough without being told that the employer has not maintained Workers’ Compensation insurance. If you find yourself in this uncomfortable situation, contact the Pittsburgh Workers’ Compensation lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. to discuss your legal options. Call 412-765-1888 or toll free at 800-243-6095 or complete an online contact form to arrange a free consultation. Our team fights hard for injured workers in Allegheny County, Lawrence County, Washington County, and throughout Western Pennsylvania.