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What Workers’ Compensation Covers

The workers’ compensation system guarantees an employee recovery for an injury that occurred on the job and also protects the employer from being sued in court for the injury. In essence, the employee trades the right to litigate the fault for a workplace injury for a reliable award. This benefits the employer because unpredictable litigation could result in numerous and more costly awards. As such, workers’ compensation can be viewed as no-fault. In other words, there is never a need to prove exactly what happened; regardless of who was at fault, the worker receives compensation.

Still, there are situations that can, if mishandled, become litigious. If you are faced with workers’ compensation issues as an employer, you should consult an attorney. To this end, with more than 30 years of experience in the field, The Law Firm of Peters & Wasilefski in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is an excellent resource for the information you need to meet your obligations and protect your rights.

Employers Covered

Some employers are not subject to either state or federal workers’ compensation laws. The main exception is small employers that employ only a few workers. The actual minimum number of employees needed to fall under the workers’ compensation system varies from state to state and is usually five employees or fewer. Whether an employer is subject to the workers’ compensation system sometimes depends on the industry.

It is important to note that employers that fail to provide required workers’ compensation insurance or other equivalent coverage – as well as those who engage in retaliation – could face fines, criminal prosecution and waiver of immunity from civil suits.

Employees Not Generally Covered

Some workers fall outside the scope of workers’ compensation laws. These typically include:

  • Maritime, energy, railroad and some mining workers; federal employees (covered by separate federal laws)
  • Domestic workers
  • Volunteers
  • Farm workers
  • Independent contractors
  • Some state and local government employees

Even these categories can vary somewhat by state, however, and the laws are constantly being revised. As such, it is important to stay current with your state’s laws.

Filing A Claim

When an employee is injured, the employer must be notified as soon as possible and within the time required by law. In some states, workers’ compensation claims must be filed with the state workers’ compensation agency. In others, the claim can be made with the employer directly. Care must be taken to meet all legal deadlines. The claim will be submitted to the company’s insurance carrier, or other appropriate fund or claim manager.


A certain amount of the injured employee’s salary will be made up by workers’ compensation and medical costs are also covered. Vocational rehabilitation services such as retraining, interview coaching and resume writing are often another benefit component. Death benefits provide monetary support payments to deceased workers’ beneficiaries and dependants, and cover funeral expenses.

Contact Us When You Need Help

Workers’ compensation obligations and procedures can be complex. If you are an employer, the counsel of a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney is vital. We can help. Call The Law Firm of Peters & Wasilefski at 717-260-3483 to learn more. You can also reach us online.