Proving Federal Workers Compensation claim

Federal government employees have a unique workers compensation system, rather than the typical state workers compensation system that covers all other injured workers.   The Federal Workers Compensation systems cover most civilian employees of the Federal Government.  The program is administered by the Office of Workers Compensation programs (OWCP) in the US Department of Labor & Industry.  It’s rules and procedures are unique and at times substantially differ from Pennsylvania’s workers compensation system.

If you are an injured federal employee, such as a US Postal employee, an employee of a VA Medical facility, a civilian employee at one of our several military installations in Central Pennsylvania (Letterkenny, Carlisle War College, Mechanicsburg Naval Yard, etc…), a TSA employee at Harrisburg airport, an employee of the Social Security offices in the Central Pennsylvania area, etc… then you are likely covered under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) and therefore fall under Federal Workers Compensation.

If you are an injured Federal employee, what is the burden of proof under the FECA? OWCP Claims Examiners will look first to the five elements of the burden of proof. They are:

Time. You must provide notice to the employer agency within thirty days. That is usually done by completing CA-1 form for a traumatic injury or CA-2 form for an occupational disease, which includes a repetitive/over-use injury. The Statute of Limitations is three-years. You must bring a claim within three years of the date of injury.

Civil Employee. You must prove you are a covered employee. The FECA covers all civilian Federal employees except for non-appropriated fund employees. There are exceptions. Covered employees also include federal employees who are on a temporary status.

Injury Occurred. You have to show that an actual injury occurred. Essentially, you must provide proof that an injury happened and provide an actual medical diagnosis.

Injury due to Performance. This is essentially course and scope. The Federal employee has to show that the injury occurred while in the performance of his/her duties.

Causation. This is where legal experience is needed. The Federal employee’s injury or disease must have been proximately caused by, or aggravated by, a work-related injury or by employment conditions, ie., there must be a causal relationship. The medical evidence required is quite specific. Specifically, there will be two types of evidence under FECA: factual, which refers to evidence submitted by the employee; and medical, which refers to evidence submitted by physicians.

There are three main exceptions that may bar benefits. Those are: 1) willful misconduct; 2) intentionally injuring yourself; and 3) intoxication when the injury occurred.

We can help migrate through the complexities of Federal Workers Compensation. It can be difficult. The Federal system was suppose to be non-adversarial, but it simply is not that way. Mooney & Associates is on your side! We have thirteen office locations throughout Central Pennsylvania and can represent injured Federal workers throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of Maryland. If you are an injured Federal employee, call us today to set up a FREE consultation at 1-877-632-4656 or 717-200-HURT.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.