Under the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system, employers are required to purchase PA workers comp insurance that provides benefits to employees who suffer any work-related injuries or illnesses. The system strikes a compromise between employers and employees: Employees get benefits regardless of who was at fault, and in return, employers get protection from lawsuits by injured employees who want to be awarded money damages for pain and suffering, or for experiencing mental anguish.
State, not federal law, governs workers’ compensation, and each state’s system differs slightly in the way they handle such matters. However, the structure and operation of the overall workers’ compensation system is very similar from state to state. The main differences are the rates paid to injured employees and the procedural rules by which employers, employees, and insurance companies must abide.
What does workers’ compensation cover?
Workers’ compensation laws cover only work-related injury or illness. But, the injury or illness does not necessarily have to occur in the workplace. As long as it’s job-related, it’s covered. For example, employees are covered while performing any work-related duties. If they are injured while traveling on business, doing any type of work-related errand, or attending a business-related social function and suffer an injury, the company is liable for their medical expenses and any time lost from the job.
Covered injuries and illnesses can range from anything that may happen during the course of a workday. Different industries have different risks and concerns related to the type of work being performed.
Office workers are most often susceptible to carpal tunnel and other repetitive motion injuries, as well as back problems from the constant routine of sitting at a desk all day long. Warehouse workers suffer back injuries most frequently, and autoworkers can suffer from eye injuries, cuts and lacerations, and all sorts of respiratory ailments. Workers also receive compensation for illnesses and diseases that are the gradual result of working conditions, for example, heart conditions, lung disease, and stress-related digestive problems.
The list is long, and having the right insurer, someone who can also offer effective risk management services, claims analysis, and safety programs can be extremely helpful to employers. Hiring an agency to provide PA workers comp insurance and also analyze data to flag high-cost claims in advance, and put programs in place to deal with these injuries, can save money and reduce stress.