Injured On The Job In Pennsylvania? Know Your Right To Receive Benefits.

In recent years, high energy prices have brought more oil and gas companies into Pennsylvania, hoping to tap into the natural gas deposits found on the Marcellus Shale area. Although this has provided jobs, it has not come without a cost. In recent years, many news sources have reported an increase of on-the-job injuries in the Keystone State, resulting from the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) techniques to extract the gas.

Fortunately, workers in the oil industry, as well as most full-time, part-time or seasonal workers, are entitled to collect benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act. Several types of workers' compensation benefits are available to all covered workers under the Act who develop an injury or illness because of their job.

Specific Losses

Workers that have lost the permanent use of all (or part) of their hand, arm, finger, toe, thumb, leg, foot, hearing or sight may be entitled to a specific loss award. This award is also available to those that have suffered permanent disfigurement of the head, neck or face. The amount of this award depends, as it is determined by loss tables under the Act.

Medical Benefits

Workers covered under the Act are also entitled to receive payment for the costs of all medical and surgical expenses that are reasonably related to the injury or illness. In addition to treatment expenses, the Act also covers the costs of medicine, orthopedics, prosthetics and medical supplies for as long as they are needed. Workers are eligible for medical benefits, even if they did not miss any work because of their injury or illness.

Wage Losses

The Act also provides for the payment of wage loss benefits to workers that are unable to continue working because of a total disability. Additionally, workers that suffered a partial disability but are able to work at lower wage are eligible for benefits. In most cases, the worker receives two-thirds of their average weekly wages under the Act (minus any unemployment, Social Security or retirement benefits the worker is receiving).

The length of time benefits are paid under the Act depends on the circumstances. If a worker is totally disabled, he or she initially receives benefits for 104 weeks. After this time, he or she may be required to submit to a medical examination. If the physician determines that the worker is less than 50 percent disabled, his or her status may change to partial disability.

Workers that are partially disabled receive benefits for no longer than 500 weeks, if they can, or do, return to work at a lower-wage position. If a physician determines that the worker is at least 50 percent impaired, the worker may apply for the reinstatement of total disability benefits.

Workers receiving benefits may receive an offer of employment, if his or her former employer can prove that employment is available which is suitable for the employer's level of impairment. If the worker denies the offer, the former employer may ask a judge to reduce or stop the wage loss benefits.

An Experienced Lawyer Can Help

If you have suffered an injury or developed an illness while on the job, it is advisable to consult an experienced workers' compensation attorney. An attorney can advise you throughout the process and ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled by law.

If you have suffered an injury or illness on the job in Williamsport, consult an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Learn more.