Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation laws & safety compliance analysis

Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation: What you need to know

Virtually all employees must be covered by workers' compensation insurance (PA Stat. Tit. 77). The only exceptions are the following types of workers:

  • Industrial home workers
  • Casual workers employed outside the usual course of the employer's business
  • Domestic workers
  • Farmers with one employee working fewer than 30 days per year or earning less than $1,200 annually
  • Licensed real estate salespersons or associate brokers paid by commission and considered independent contractors
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Religious objections. An employee whose religion forbids insurance benefits may be exempted, but only if the religious group makes some provision for injured workers.

"No-fault" system. Workers' compensation is a no-fault system. Unlike traditional legal mechanisms for compensating accident victims, which limit recovery to cases in which the victim's injuries result from some other person's negligence, workers' compensation laws allow employees to collect without regard to fault, simply by showing that the injury arose "out of and in the course of employment." Compensation is guaranteed in such cases. It doesn't matter that the employee (or a co-worker) was partly at fault, nor does it matter that the employee knew the job was risky. "Contributory negligence," "assumption of risk," and other defenses normally used by defendants in accident cases do not apply to on-the-job injuries. In return for this guarantee of compensation, employees give up the right to sue the employer for damages, thus effectively limiting the employer's liability for workplace injuries.

What Is an 'Injury'?

The term "injury" has a specialized meaning in the workers' compensation statute. While most people think of an injury as the result of a specific ...


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Related Topics

More on this topic:

Who Is Covered?
What Is Covered?
Insurance Coverage
Safety Committees
Benefits
Preexisting Conditions/Second Injuries
Multiple Employers
Notices, Claims, Reports, Appeals
Violations and Penalties
Additional Information: