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Unemployment/worker's comp

Canonsburg, PA |

I was a bricklayer/ laborer forman, when I got hurt on jobsite. Being ignorant to the worker's compensation laws in PA and not having personal health insurance, I worked through my injury for almost a month, because being loyal to the company, half the workers quit one day on a rush job that needed completed asap, I felt obligated to "man-up", bc I was the only one left who could "tend" the other 2bricklayers. Numerous times, the forman said "you should go to the doctors and get that checked out." My response was, "I dont have any health insurance." And nothing else was ever offered to me. After, weeks of "trying" to work through this pain, which STILL hurts today 5months later, I couldnt continue my duties, and expressed that to my forman. He got pissed because now there were NO laborers, and never returned any of my email communications to him for a month. I then applied for unemployment, which I received for 4weeks, until last week, when my eligibilty was denied. Apparently the forman never told the owner of my injuries, so the owner said that I just quit without cause and never showed up for work again. Well, I need to file an appeal before April23rd, BUT Im Not sure exactly how to express all of this above incisely on my appeal. So Can ANY PA UC Attorney in PA assist me or refer me to a certain case law that I can review and put into my own words??

Thank YOU
Loyal Employee

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Unfortunately, I have heard stories like yours too many times. Loyal employees like you "suck it up" and think their pain will go away, so they continue working when maybe they shouldn't. They delay medical treatment. And medical studies show that the sooner you get treatment for a work injury, the better.

    You must give notice of your work injury within 120 days of your work injury. It sounds like you did. Once you do, your employer is required to report it to its workers' compensation insurer within 24 hours. The insurer then has 21 days to investigate and decide whether to accept or deny the claim.

    Bottom line is, if your WC case has been denied, you need to file a Claim Petition to get your case heard by a Workers' Compensation Judge.

    You can also pursue the UC claim as well.

    The answer to this question is based on Pennsylvania Law only. Workers' Compensation statutes and case law vary from state to state.

  2. It sounds like you are now out of work, still injured and without income. This leaves you with two options. Unemployment Comp and/or Workers' Comp. UC is limited in time and taxable. Workers Comp is much less limited and not taxable. Your receipt of Unemployment would also reduce the amount of workers' comp per week if both benefits are received at the same time. Also workers' comp would pay for your medical treatment for the work injury. I would suggest pursuing a workers comp claim now. It seems as though you provided notice of the injury to your employer/ supervisor as required (w/in 120 days). You now must file a claim petition within three years of you injury. Good luck

  3. Karl and Robert are correct re: what to do for your WC claim.

    In regards to your UC claim, as long as you were ready, willing and able to continue working within your doctor's restrictions due to your work injury, you should be okay at the UC hearing.

    If you stopped working because your doctor took you out of work, then no UC benefits while you were out of work due to your doctor's note. Once your doctor gives you restrictions, you should be able to get the UC benefits turned back on. The only concern that I have is if you went out of work based on a doctor's note re: modified duty and did not give your employer a chance to make modified duty work available for you. Then you have to argue that you "had to" go out of work.

    Check out the PA UC web site as they have some good information there re: what to do.

    Best of luck to you.

  4. I agree with all of the others who have responded. Filing a claim petition for Workers' Compensation benefits should be your first priority given the facts of your case as you have described. You should also file the appeal for UC benefits. If you left the job for a necessitous and compelling reason (i.e.) the work injury but you are still available and able to do some form of work with restrictions, then you will have an argument to have your UC benefits reinstituted.

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