The first step to getting benefits under workers' compensation is reporting your accident to your employer, but this is where a lot of injured employees go wrong. Workers will often try to "tough it out" instead of reporting a small or seemingly minor accident to their employer; then, weeks later, they'll find themselves unable to work and unable to get benefits because they didn't report their accident in time.
However, what happens when you do report the accident…but your employer refuses to file your report?
In Pennsylvania, employers have to file a First Report of Injury (FROI) within a week of your first missed day of work due to injury. Then an employer will file a workers' compensation claim on your behalf, allowing you to receive benefits. However, sometimes an employer might decline to file a workers' comp claim on your behalf—sometimes to prevent insurance premiums from going up, or perhaps because their workers' comp insurance has (illegally) lapsed. They may even accuse you of lying about your injury to justify not filing.
How Do Workers Get the Benefits They Need?
If your employer refuses to file a claim on your behalf, workers are able to file claims on their own behalf with the state. However, it's going to be more difficult. Because your employer didn't file an FROI, you'll have to provide documentation of your own injury before the Workers' Compensation Bureau, which decides which work injuries are eligible for compensation benefits.
If the Bureau denies your claim, you'll be able to argue before a judge that you reported your injury on time, pursued proper medical care, and your employer didn't comply with the Bureau's protocol for reporting injuries. The judge can then overrule the Bureau's decision and grant you benefits for wage loss and medical care, and even a penalty fine against your employer if you have suffered "financial harm" due to their failure to report.
You Don't Need to Face the Workers' Compensation Bureau Alone
If the fight to win compensation benefits sounds too difficult to handle, there's help for you. The team at Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC includes a specialist in the practice of workers' compensation law certified by the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Workers' Compensation Law Section, as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Attorney J. Jeffrey Watson can take on your workers' comp claim and make sure you're on the fast track to recovering as soon as possible.
Getting injured at work is life-changing. Facing a serious injury is hard enough without your employer actively sabotaging your attempt to recover what you need. Let Attorney Watson and the team at HHR fight for you to get back on your feet.
Call (888) 498-3023 today for a free and confidential consultation, or send us a message with our short online form.