How Long Does it Take to Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, there is usually a waiting period between an employee’s injury and when he or she can begin receiving benefits. During this time, the employer’s insurers will investigate the employee’s claim, speak with the injured party’s doctor, and address administrative issues. How long this process takes depends on a number of factors, including whether a worker’s claim is filed properly and on time, so if you were recently hurt at work, it is important to contact an experienced Wilkes Barre workers’ compensation lawyer who can ensure that you receive benefits as soon as possible.
Reporting an Injury
Employees in Pennsylvania are encouraged to file a notice of their injuries to employers within 21 days, but no later than 120 days from the date of the accident. Once notified, employers must send a notice to their insurers immediately, which usually takes between one and two days.
At this point, employers have 21 days to make a decision on whether to accept or reject an employee’s claim, a period of time that is often referred to as a waiting period. Generally, if an employer or its insurer accepts a claim, the injured employee can expect a workers’ comp benefits check within roughly a month of his or her injury. If, on the other hand, an insurer initially denies a claim, the wait for benefits could be much longer, as insurers are permitted to request an additional 90 days to investigate a claim.
Fortunately, injured employees can still collect benefits during this time even if the employer has not yet accepted full responsibility for an injury, at least until the employer files a Notice of Workers’ Compensation Denial, a Notice of Compensation Payable, or an Agreement for Compensation. If an employer fails to submit one of these forms within the 90 day investigation period, then benefits will anatomically convert to an accepted claim. If a claim is denied, however, benefits will cease.
If an employee’s claim is denied, whether immediately or during the temporary compensation period, the path to full benefits can take much longer. First, the injured employee will have up to three years from the date of his or her injury or the last payment of benefits to initiate a litigated workers’ comp claim. Unfortunately, even once an appeal has been initiated, it usually takes between eight and twelve months for a workers’ comp judge to issue a decision. Although this can place injured employees in dire financial straits, state law does allow for statutory interest of ten percent per year to be paid on all post-due benefits if a claim is successful. If an employer appeals that decision then a case could remain in the court system for up to two more years.
File Your Workers’ Comp Claim Today
Workers’ compensation litigation in Pennsylvania can be lengthy and complex, so if you were injured while at work, it is important to consult with competent legal counsel who can ensure that all of your rights are fully protected. Please call the Figured Law Firm at 570-954-9299 today to learn more about how an experienced work injury lawyer can help with your own case.