If you get hurt on the job, your employer usually has to cover the costs of medical treatment related to the injury, give you a portion of your lost wages, and pay some other expenses. This is the workers’ compensation system at work.
Workers’ compensation laws vary slightly by state. If you sustained an injury at work in Pennsylvania, the Department of Labor and Industry answers some questions you may have about your situation in its brief history of work comp.
Does workers’ compensation cover all work injuries and illnesses?
If your injury or illness arose from your job, workers’ compensation generally covers it. That includes conditions that occurred gradually due to repetitive motion or exposure to hazardous situations or materials. However, sometimes employers or their insurance companies dispute whether your condition arose from your work, which can complicate matters.
Does workers’ compensation cover pre-existing conditions?
If you have a prior condition that got worse because of your work, you can claim compensation for it. However, workers’ compensation only covers injuries or illnesses that relate to your work, either directly or indirectly.
Do all employers have to have workers’ compensation insurance?
The law does exempt some employers from the requirement to have workers’ compensation insurance. For example, the federal government provides its own compensation, so federal agencies are exempt. However, Pennsylvania law requires most employers to carry workers’ comp insurance.
What if your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage?
If the law requires your employer to carry workers’ compensation insurance and he or she fails to do so, it could mean that your employer could face criminal charges.
This could result in fines and other penalties.