Reporting a work injury in Pennsylvania

13def-blue_notice_sign_lOften, I hear stories from clients that they were told by Supervisors that if a work injury is not reported within 24 hours of occurrence, then they lose their workers compensation rights.  Not only is the practice deceptive, but it is also legally incorrect.

The PA Workers Compensation Act is specific in requirements to report an injury to your employer.  The Act states that an employee has 21 days from he date of injury to report the injury to the employer.  Once that is done, proper notice has been provided.  Reporting an injury thin the 21 days may allow an injured worker to be entitled to workers compensation benefits back to the first day of disability from employment.

That being said, if you fail to report the injury within 21 days, is your workers compensation claim barred by law?  No.  However, after the 21 days, entitlement to benefits changes a bit.  Let me explain.  If you fail to report your injury within 21 days, but before 120 days, then you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits, but not back to the first day you missed work, but he day you gave notice.   An easy example is, if you have been out of work for two months, 60 days, because of a work injury, and you provide notice of the injury to your employer on the 60th day you miss work that the injury is work-related, then you may be entitled to benefits, but only from the day you reported it.  That means you miss out on two months of workers compensation benefits.

What happens if I fail to report the claim within 120 days, is my claim barred by law?  Yes.  The law is clear.  You fail to report your work injury to your employer within 120 days, your claim for workers compensation benefits is forever barred.  You lose out.

Waiting to report a work-related injury can also cause problems with regards to your employer voluntarily paying your wage loss and medical benefits.  Delaying to report a work-related injury will almost always lead to your employer denying your claim.  That does not mean you are not eligible for workers compensation benefits.  However, if your claim is denied, you will have to fight for your benefits and the time you are out of work you will not receive wage loss benefits until you win your case.   When you report the work injury, that notice then triggers statutory responsibilities upon your employer and it’s insurance carrier.

There is a simple approach to this issue.  Report a work injury when it occurs.  Don’t wait.  If you worry you will lose your job, report it, then contact Mooney & Associates right away so we can protect your workers compensation rights.    You can contact us at 1-877-632-4656 or through email at

We represent injured workers in the following areas and surrounding areas of Central Pennsylvania:  Chambersburg, Greencastle, Waynesboro,  Shippensburg, Carlisle, Mechanicsburg, Harrisburg, Gettysburg, Hanover, New Oxford, York, and Lancaster.

Mark Buterbaugh

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