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- After suffering a work-related injury, it is imperative that you provide notice to your employer that you have sustained a work-related injury and also provide some specifics regarding the injury itself, and the parts of your body that were injured.
Notice may be provided orally or in writing to an individual with supervisory responsibilities. It is not sufficient to notify your friend or coworker that you have sustained said injury unless they are in a supervisor or managerial role.
It is also important to notify your employer which part of your body was injured such as your lower back, right knee or left shoulder. It is not sufficient to merely to tell your supervisor that you got hurt and need to go home.
- After providing proper notice to your employer it is imperative that you secure medical treatment to properly diagnose the injury, and just as important, to document the cause of injury and your initial complaints.
Typically, your employer will tell you to go to the "Company Dr." for treatment. In general, after providing your employer with notice of your work-related injury, you are required to treat with physicians of your employer's choice. More often than not, the employer does not comply with its obligations and as a result, you cannot be forced to treat with the "Company Dr."
The Pennsylvania Workers Composition Act, as amended, and the Medical Cost-Containment Regulations require that your employer establish a list of designated healthcare providers that must comply with Section 127.752 of the Regulations and more importantly, post said list in a prominent and readily accessible place at the worksite such as over your timeclock, on the employee bulletin board, or in the employee lunchroom. Failure to establish and post such a list of doctors will preclude your employer from controlling your medical treatment.
Just as important, your employer is also required to secure your signature upon the required Notice of Employee Rights and Duties in accordance with Section 127.755 of said Regulations. This Notice indicates that you have been made aware of the existence of the List of Company Doctors and sets forth your rights and obligations with respect to your entitlement to medical treatment. Said Notice is to be provided to you for your signature as soon as practicable after the injury has occurred.
- If your employer has failed to establish and post a List of Doctors and/or have you sign the Notice of Employee Rights and Duties you are free to treat with a physician of your own choosing. In that regard, your employer's failure to do either or both will preclude them from directing your medical treatment.
If your employer has established and posted the list of doctors and secured your signature on the Notice of Employee Rights and duties, you will be required to treat with physicians of the employer's choice for up to 90 days. If you undergo surgery during the course of that 90 day employer controlled period of time, you may be required to treat with the surgeon for an additional 90 days.
Even if your employer does establish and post the List of Doctors and secures your signature on the aforementioned Notice you cannot be ordered by your employer to only treat with one facility such as Work Health or the Industrial Health. Should you be dissatisfied with one of the doctors on the list, you are able to treat with any other physician or medical provider on that list.
- After you have provided prompt notice of your injury to your employer, its Workers Compensation Carrier is required to notify you within 21 days as to whether or not your claim has been accepted or denied. Your claim can be accepted either via a Notice of Compensation Payable or a Temporary Notice of Compensation Payable. They could also issue a "medical only" NCP or TNCP which acknowledges your injury with no wage loss but entitles you to medical treatment.
It is important to note the distinction between the two documents. A Notice of Compensation Payable is binding upon the Workers Composition Carrier. The Temporary Notice of Compensation Payable is not an admission of liability and can be revoked for any reason within 90 days. In order to properly "stop" the TNCP, the Workers Compensation Carrier must issue a Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation within five days of the last payment of workers compensation benefits and also issue a Notice of Workers Compensation Denial. If the TNCP is not "stopped" within 90 days it will convert to a NCP.
If you have received a Notice of Workers Compensation Denial, your claim has not been accepted and you will no longer be entitled to any Workers Compensation Benefits or any medical treatment.
You will then need to file a Claim Petition with the Bureau of Workers Compensation in order to litigate your entitlement to Workers Compensation Benefits.
- Probably the most important thing that an injured worker must do after sustaining a disabling work-related injury is contact an experienced and aggressive Workers Compensation Attorney such as Richard A. Jaffe, Esquire of the Law Offices of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC.