Employees in Pennsylvania need to employ personal vigilance to protect themselves from an injury on the job. It only takes a few seconds of distraction for someone in a manufacturing facility to accidentally catch their clothing in a machine press or a mechanic to severely cut themselves with a tool.
Usually, people who get hurt at work have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. There will be medical coverage to pay for the care that they require, as well as disability coverage if they need a leave of absence from work.
Some workers who need benefits so that they can provide for themselves and their families might think that they don’t qualify. If you were the one at fault for the accident you suffered on the job, does that mean you cannot claim benefits?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program
If workers’ compensation did not cover injuries caused by workers, then the risk associated with taking a job would be far higher than it currently is. Any one mistake could lead to a lasting injury and no benefits, which would likely determine any people from working in dangerous professions like construction and manufacturing.
Pennsylvania workers’ compensation is a no-fault program. You can make a claim even if there is a clear record that you caused the accident. There are only two exceptions to this policy of universal coverage.
The first is if there is evidence that you intentionally caused the injury. Hurting yourself on purpose to gain benefits will preclude you from filing a claim. The second exception is when a worker hurt on the job tests positive for drugs and alcohol at the time of their injury. If neither situation applies to you, then you are not at risk of losing benefits just because you contributed to the injury.
What if your employer fights you?
Sometimes, employers will try to intervene in a worker’s claim because they want to keep insurance costs low. The good news is that outside medical evaluation and even testimony from your co-workers can play a role in your workers’ compensation claim. If you don’t get benefits right away, you even have the right to appeal and submit evidence so that you can get the benefits you need.
Learning about how the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system functions will increase your chances of filing a successful claim for benefits.