Can I Transfer a Workers’ Compensation Case to Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation JurisdictionTransferring a Workers’ Compensation Case to Pennsylvania can Increase your Wage Benefits

Even if you don’t live in Pennsylvania, you can probably still file a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation claim under a number of different circumstances. “Jurisdiction” is the legal term which simply means which court or state has the authority to decide a claim. Pennsylvania law gives workers’ compensation judges jurisdiction over workers that were injured in Pennsylvania or hired in Pennsylvania.

Transferring your Ohio or New York Workers’ Compensation case to Pennsylvania

Being located in Northwestern Pennsylvania, we often represent workers’ compensation clients who live in Ohio or New York and were injured while working in Pennsylvania. Generally speaking, Pennsylvania benefits are better for an injured worker than either of these two states. So if you are hurt in Pennsylvania, you should make sure that your claim is filed here.

We have had a few cases over the years, particularly for New York residents, where the insurance company was paying the client under New York law. In this situation, we are generally able to improve upon the client’s benefits by transferring the claim to Pennsylvania.

Transferring your Indiana Workers’ Compensation Case to Pennsylvania for Injured Truckers

We also see many cases of injured truck drivers or construction workers who may live hundreds of thousands of miles away but are injured in Pennsylvania. In most cases, it makes sense to file the claim in Pennsylvania. Some workers, particularly truck drivers, may have signed an agreement providing that workers’ compensation claims must be filed in a certain state. Often this state is Indiana, which has very unfavorable compensation laws—at least for the employee. Generally, these agreements are enforceable, but each case is different and needs to be reviewed individually.

As mentioned, Pennsylvania has jurisdiction either when a worker is injured or is hired in Pennsylvania. Most states have similar laws. In some instances, a worker who was hired out of state and is working in Pennsylvania may be able to obtain better benefits by filing the claim in their home state. For example, Pennsylvania compensation law often denies benefits to “seasonal workers.” (Please note that this is a complicated topic in and of itself. By way of simple example, a “peach picker” is likely a seasonal employee, a dishwasher hired for the season is not.) In one memorable case, we represented a seasonal worker who was not entitled to benefits. Since she was hired in Michigan and transported to Pennsylvania to work, she was able to file for benefits in Michigan. The Pennsylvania employer, thinking nothing of it, ignored the Michigan paperwork. To his surprise, he was later confronted with a judgment which we transferred to Pennsylvania, forcing the Pennsylvania employer to pay the claim.

The important takeaway is that if you are injured in Pennsylvania, we offer a free review of your case to determine if you can file your claim here and if that is to your benefit. At Bernard Stuczynski & Barnett, we are always happy to discuss your claim without cost or obligation.

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