If you become disabled or seriously hurt at work, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Injured employees must follow the Pennsylvania guidelines to seek assistance through the state’s workers’ compensation program. 

These are the answers to common questions that injured workers have about receiving benefits: 

How do I apply for benefits? 

After receiving immediate medical attention for your injury, your next priority is to inform your employer about the incident. You have 21 days to do so in writing, although the sooner you provide notice, the sooner you will receive benefits. Once your employer receives notice, the company and its insurance provider have 21 days to either initiate workers’ compensation payments or deny your claim. 

Can I see my own doctor? 

Although you can visit the health care provider of your choice for initial care, make sure you tell the doctor that you were at work when the injury occurred. Save a copy of your medical records from the visit. 

Once you have provided notice of your injury to your employer, the company can require you to see its specified health care provider. After 90 days, you can once again seek care from your own provider, though the company can mandate follow-up visits with its doctor after the injury. 

What types of benefits can I receive? 

Your company’s workers’ compensation plan will cover the cost of all health care expenses associated with your illness or injury. This includes lab tests, diagnostic exams, doctor appointments, medical devices, prescription drugs and surgeries. If you cannot return to work, you may also receive partial or total disability payments. If you lose a limb, you can apply for permanent injury payments. 

What happens if my employer denies my claim? 

If you receive a workers’ compensation denial or your settlement is lower than your actual expenses, you have three years to file a grievance with the state. A workers’ compensation judge will set a court date at which both you and your employer can present evidence to support your positions. You can have an attorney present at this hearing to speak on your behalf.