Workers compensation board in PA: What it is and how it works

If you are an employee in Pennsylvania who has suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits. Workers compensation is a system that provides medical care, wage replacement, and disability compensation for workers who are injured or sick because of their job. Workers compensation also protects employers from being sued by injured workers for negligence.

Workers compensation is regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) and the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau (PCRB). The DLI oversees the administration and enforcement of the workers compensation law, while the PCRB sets the rates and rules for workers compensation insurance. For more information on workers compensation insurance, you can visit the official website of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

One of the key components of the workers compensation system in Pennsylvania is the workers compensation board. In this blog post, we will explain what the board is and how it works.

What is the workers compensation board in PA?

The workers compensation board is a panel of judges who hear and decide workers compensation cases. The board is part of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), which is a division of the DLI. The BWC also provides other services, such as mediation, vocational rehabilitation, and health and safety programs.

The workers compensation board consists of 21 judges who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate. The judges serve six-year terms and can be reappointed. The judges are assigned to 21 district offices throughout the state, where they conduct hearings and issue decisions.

The board’s main function is to resolve disputes between injured workers and their employers or insurers. These disputes may involve issues such as:

  • Whether an injury or illness is work-related
  • The extent and duration of disability
  • The amount and type of benefits
  • The payment of medical bills
  • The availability of vocational rehabilitation

For more information on the workers compensation board, you can visit the official website of the BWC.

How does the workers compensation board work?

The process of filing a claim, requesting a hearing, and appealing a decision involves several steps and parties. Here is a brief overview of how it works:

  1. When an employee suffers a work-related injury or illness, they must report it to their employer as soon as possible. The employer must then report it to their insurer and the BWC within seven days.
  2. The insurer must either accept or deny the claim within 21 days. If the claim is accepted, the insurer must start paying benefits to the employee. If the claim is denied, the insurer must send a notice of denial to the employee.
  3. If either party disagrees with the insurer’s decision, they can file a petition with the BWC within three years from the date of injury or denial. The petition will be assigned to a workers compensation judge (WCJ) who will schedule a hearing.
  4. At the hearing, both parties can present evidence and testimony to support their case. The WCJ may also appoint an impartial medical expert to examine the employee and provide an opinion.
  5. After the hearing, the WCJ will issue a written decision granting or denying benefits. The decision will include findings of fact, conclusions of law, and an order.
  6. If either party disagrees with the WCJ’s decision, they can appeal to the Workers Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB) within 20 days. The WCAB is a panel of 15 judges who review WCJ decisions for errors of law or fact.
  7. The WCAB will review the record of the case and issue a written decision affirming, reversing, or modifying the WCJ’s decision. The WCAB may also remand the case back to the WCJ for further proceedings.
  8. If either party disagrees with the WCAB’s decision, they can appeal to the Commonwealth Court within 30 days. The Commonwealth Court is an intermediate appellate court that hears cases involving state agencies and regulations.
  9. The Commonwealth Court will review the record of the case and issue a written opinion affirming, reversing, or modifying the WCAB’s decision. The Commonwealth Court may also remand the case back to the WCAB or WCJ for further proceedings.
  10. If either party disagrees with the Commonwealth Court’s opinion, they can appeal to the Supreme Court within 30 days. The Supreme Court is the highest court in Pennsylvania that hears cases involving constitutional or public interest issues.
  11. The Supreme Court will review the record of the case and issue a written opinion affirming, reversing, or modifying the Commonwealth Court’s opinion. The Supreme Court’s opinion is final and binding.

For more information on the appeal process, you can visit the official website of the Pennsylvania Courts.

Workers compensation is a vital system that protects both employees and employers in Pennsylvania. The workers compensation board is an important part of this system that resolves disputes between parties and ensures fair and timely benefits. If you need legal assistance with a workers’ compensation claim, please contact RG Injury Law. Our experienced attorneys can help guide you through the process and fight for the benefits you deserve. Visit our website or call us today to schedule a free consultation.

 

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