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Every state has a different set of laws when it comes to Workers’ Comp benefits. It is critical to get an attorney who represents injured Pennsylvania workers when work-related accidents happen for Pennsylvania residents. Those who live in other states should contact an attorney from their hometown state for the requirements and answers to their questions.
The answer to the question of how long can be tricky. It depends on several factors discussed below. According to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, a total of 9.6 years or 500 weeks is allowed on partial disability benefits. An additional two years can also get claimed for wage loss benefits that bring the total to 11.6 years.
Breaking Down the Benefits
Pennsylvania Workers Compensation benefits come in two different sections. The first section is meant for the loss of wages. The second part is payments disbursed for the necessary and reasonable medical expenses incurred due to the work-related injury.
Salary is easy to figure. The Workers’ Comp insurance will only pay 2/3 of the compensation the worker received before the injury. This is calculated according to the previous weeks. Hourly pay is based upon the earlier weeks and averaged, known as the average weekly wage or AWW.
After two years of receiving temporary total disability (TTD), the company’s insurance carrier for compensation does an Impairment Rating Evaluation. If the employee is less than 50 percent disabled, the pay will not change, but the name of the insurance will change. It will go from TTD to partial disability benefits (PDB). This is when the 500 weeks kick into place.
After the timeframe, there are exceptions to the rule where payments will continue for the loss of wages. Workers Compensation will pay the medical bills for life if the injury is proven it is necessary. An attorney is the only sure way of getting the benefits and legal protection necessary.
How Can an Attorney Help?
In a perfect world, the Workers’ Comp Insurance would pay for all work-related injuries, lost wages, and the company would be held liable at any cost if the damage is due to negligence. However, this is nowhere near a perfect world, and insurance companies will do whatever they can to short-change the employee. After all, the insurance company loses money for every claim, so they will cheat to keep whatever they can. An attorney who knows the Workers’ Comp laws can assist the client in gaining all that is necessary from their work-related injuries.
The insurance company lawyers will fight to prove there is nothing serious to the injury, no surgery is necessary, and even try to say there was nothing work-related. A reasonable and experienced attorney will know all the tricks and fight to prove the client is telling the truth.
Explaining the Different Types of Work-Related Injuries
Each type of injury can take a worker out for different periods. These extended periods make the question even more critical as to how long the benefits will last. Questions will arise if it is a brain or spinal injury; what if it’s for life? The person may outlive the 11.6 years. Without the best attorney, some will lose their case. This will put the worker and their family in deeper turmoil and unimaginable debt. Listed below are the prime examples where a person’s situation will take them out of work for life. These accidents can happen anywhere and at any moment. The most common places are industrial, mining, gas drilling, chemical plants, and construction sites.
- Occupational diseases (Asbestos, Fibromyalgia, etc.)
- Broken neck, spine, or brain injury
- Tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Chemical burns or exposure. It may cause neurological, bronchial, or lung problems.
- PTSD or any other stress-related condition
- Loss of the use of a limb or amputation
- Any aggravation to a pre-existing condition ruins a worker’s career and (or) life.
Receiving the Proper Benefits
As the situation changes, constant reviews are done by the insurance company and the lawyer’s recommendations, usually the worker’s primary physician. Notes are taken, and evaluations deliver the results to the final answer of how long the benefits will last.
Naturally, if the worker is better and the injury is not for life, the worker’s benefits will end after the doctor’s release, and the worker is 100 percent healed and fit for duty. However, the attorney can see that the benefits last for life if the medical attention calls for it.
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