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Workers’ Compensation Retaliation

Nov 22, 2019

If you have been injured at work in Pennsylvania, you can file a workers’ compensation claim to cover medical expenses, lost wages and other benefits. If you cannot work due to a work injury, you may be eligible for benefits.

The statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims is three years. The time limit starts the day of the injury. Injured workers have three years to file a claim. If the deadline to file is missed, then the claim is forever barred.

It is critical for an injured worker to act promptly after sustaining a workplace injury accident. It is best to hire at attorney right away to help you navigate the complicated process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. Hiring a lawyer right away helps your attorney gather evidence, ensures you do not miss the deadline for filing your claim and lets your attorney deal with insurance agents.

The statute of limitations is not the only time limit you need to be aware of if you were injured in the workplace. Injured workers are required get medical treatment from their employer’s approved list of medical providers for the first 90 days after being injured. Moreover, different types of injury claims have different time limitations. For example, injury claims due to exposure to a toxin at work or loss of hearing due to noise at the workplace have different time limits.

Can you be fired for filing a worker’s compensation claim?

In Pennsylvania, workers cannot be fired or punished for reporting an injury and/or filing a workers’ compensation claim. It is illegal to do so. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for being injured and filing for benefits.

The difficulty in situations such as this is that after a claim is filed, your employer can fire you for other reasons, such as not having enough work for you, your failure to follow stated work policies or poor reviews and work safety warnings on your work file. If the firing is not punishment, but is for legitimate reasons, it is not illegal. That said, if you are fired shortly after filing a workers’ compensation claim, it is time to discuss your case with the workers’ compensation attorneys at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini. They work to ensure you get the benefits that you are entitled to after your injury and properly file your claim.

What the law says about retaliation

Pennsylvania courts have protected the following activities:

  • Employees filing for workers’ compensation
  • Employees seeking unemployment benefits
  • Declining a lie detector/drug test (without a good reason)
  • Fulfilling statutorily imposed duties
  • Refusing to violate the law
  • Participating in jury duty

Pennsylvania recognizes a public policy exception to Pennsylvania’s at-will employment doctrine and that exception is that an employer may not discharge a worker in a manner violating the clear mandate of public policy. Put another way, the worker may sue for wrongful discharge when the motivation for the discharge violates public policy.

A lot of workers are unaware of the protections the law provides to injured workers. The protections are in place for a good reason – employers sometimes retaliate against injured workers who seek to enforce their rights to workers’ compensation benefits. An injured worker should not be afraid to bring a workers’ compensation claim. They should make sure they have legal representation to assist them. Employers know that lawyers are aware of the protections in place for injured workers. An employer is much less likely to try to violate the law when an attorney is involved.

Workers’ compensation law can be complex and at Melaragno, Placid & Parini, we take all the time you need to for us to answer all your questions. We have been defending worker’s rights for years and have your back every step of the way. Give us a call today to discuss your workers’ compensation claim.

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