Powell Law can help any injured Pennsylvania worker assert his or her right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Once injured on the job, a worker must comply with certain requirements when filing a claim for these important benefits. The Pennsylvania worker’s compensation program allows injured workers to receive reimbursement for lost earnings, medical treatment, death benefits, and vocational rehabilitation.
Although Pennsylvania employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, this isn’t always the case. Some employers, for whatever reason, do not have the necessary coverage in place. This may occur because the employer failed to maintain coverage or was not approved as a self-insurer. Failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance may be costly to Pennsylvania employers.
If an employer in Pennsylvania is uninsured at the time an individual in its employ suffers an eligible work-related injury, the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund provides benefits for medical care and lost earnings to workers who otherwise would have no source of compensation for their injuries. (For more about Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund, please click here.)
If an injured worker receives benefits from the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (the “DLI”) will take the necessary steps to compel the employer to reimburse the fund. However, such reimbursement may be expensive as it includes costs, interest, penalties, fees, and attorney fees.
Failing to maintain continuous workers’ compensation coverage exposes an uninsured employer to serious civil and criminal risks. An employee may sue the employer civilly in tort for work-related injuries and recover damages in excess of those allowed under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system.
Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, the DLI may pursue criminal prosecution against an uninsured employer. An employer and any other individuals responsible to act on its behalf may each be criminally charged for each day’s failure to maintain continuous workers’ compensation coverage.
If an employer is convicted of a misdemeanor, it may be subject to a $2,500 fine and up to one year in imprisonment for each day the employer is in violation of the requirement to maintain workers’ compensation coverage. If an employer is convicted of a felony, they may be subject to a $15,000 fine and up to seven years imprisonment for each day the employer intentionally violated the requirement. Additionally, the employer and any responsible individual agents may be required to pay all benefits that an injured worker is awarded.
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation investigates employer compliance with Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law and may file charges against employers and its individual agents if workers’ compensation coverage is not continuously maintained. Also, any individual, including competitors, may seek county district attorney approval to file a private criminal complaint against an employer who fails to maintain workers’ compensation coverage as required.
Any worker who has any questions about workers’ compensation benefits should contact a workers’ compensation attorney at Powell Law. Remember, you have 120 days to report your work injury! Our decades of experience make us the clear choice for representation in workers’ compensation cases in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. Since James Powell, Sr., founded Powell Law in 1906, our attorneys have represented all types of workers in workers’ compensation cases. We effectively help our clients throughout the entire workers’ compensation claims process. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE!