Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated program; there are no federal laws that regulate benefits across the county. Each state has its own rules, and coverage requirements can vary slightly. Some states may not require employers to purchase workers’ compensation coverage unless they employ a certain number of people. In Pennsylvania, most employers must purchase workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. To learn more about filing a claim and possible benefits, contact a  workers’ compensation attorney.

Who Doesn’t Have to Purchase Benefits?

Some employers are exempt from purchasing workers’ compensation coverage in Pennsylvania. These exemptions include:

  • Employees covered under other workers’ compensation acts, like federal employees, railroad workers, and longshoremen;
  • Agricultural workers who earn less than $1,200 or who work fewer than 30 days in one calendar year for a single employer;
  • Domestic servants, as coverage is optional;
  • Employees who were granted an exemption because of their corporate executive status in certain types of corporations;
  • Volunteer workers, contractors, and casual employees; and
  • Employees who requested and were granted an exemption due to their religious beliefs.

Outside of these categories, contracted or at-will employees are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania. Sometimes employers misclassify employees as independent contractors to keep from paying out benefits. If your application for benefits is denied due to your employment status, it’s essential to contact an attorney.

What Types of Benefits Can You Receive Under Workers’ Comp?

If your workers’ compensation claim is approved, you could be eligible for several different types of benefits. The first is medical care benefits that will pay for your reasonable medical needs. Reasonable medical expenses can include your prescriptions, surgeries, rehabilitation, and even prosthetics. You do have to see a workers’ compensation approved doctor, however.

If you miss time from work, workers’ compensation can cover up to two-thirds of your average weekly salary. There are specific limitations to this benefit. For 2020, the maximum weekly benefit is $1,081. If you make less than $600.55 or less, you will receive 90% of your average weekly wage. The amount of time you can receive lost wage benefits will depend on the severity of your injury. If you are temporarily disabled, your workers’ compensation coverage can continue to cover your approved medical expenses and partial earnings loss.

The third aspect of workers’ compensation is death benefits. If a work-related injury or illness causes your death, surviving dependents may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. The amount of death benefits will vary depending on your surviving family members. Surviving dependents are defined as:

  • Spouse;
  • Minor children (under 18 years old);
  • Parents; and
  • Siblings.

If you have children older than 18, they could receive benefits provided they are under 23 years old and enrolled in school full-time, or they are disabled.

If your injury or illness results in losing your hands, fingers, arms, toes, feet, or legs, you could be awarded specific loss benefits. Workers can also receive disfigurement benefits in applicable cases.

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you need assistance with pursuing a workers’ compensation claim in Kingston, an experienced attorney can help improve your chances of receiving benefits. If you filed an application and received a denial, you need an attorney to help you navigate the challenging appeals process.

Schedule a free initial consultation with the workers’ compensation attorneys at the O’Donnell Law Offices serving clients in Kingston, Wilkes Barre, Hazleton, and Pittston at 570-821-5717, or online today. There is no fee or costs until we win your case.


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