Can I Collect Workers’ Comp as an Intern?
May 29, 2019
In Pennsylvania, employees are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries they sustain at work. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) covers not only full-time employees, but also seasonal and part-time workers. However, one of the most common questions our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers receive is, “Are interns covered under workers’ compensation insurance?” The answer depends on several factors, including whether the intern was paid for his or her services.
Intern Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation
State law does not specifically address whether interns are eligible for workers’ compensation. However, there are two main factors that the courts will consider in determining whether an intern will be allowed to collect benefits for a work injury:
- Is the internship a paid position? The court distinguishes between workers who receive valuable consideration and those who do not. Paid interns are covered under the Act, whereas volunteers who perform services without financial compensation are typically not entitled to coverage. However, unpaid interns may be eligible for benefits if they perform duties similar to paid employees or they essentially took the place of a paid employee who either left the company or was fired.
- Is the internship considered “casual”? Even if an intern is paid, he or she may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they are deemed to be a casual worker. The courts typically see casual workers as those who work on a sporadic, rather than planned and formalized, schedule. Even if the work continues only for a short period of time, Pennsylvania courts tend to award benefits for workers whose schedules and duties were formally planned in advance.
Filing for Workers’ Compensation as an Intern
Interns must go through the same process as paid employees when filing a workers’ compensation claim. In Pennsylvania, injured interns or workers must notify their employer of their work injury within 120 days. This notice should be given in writing and should include details such as when, where, and how the accident occurred, whether there were any witnesses, and what injuries were sustained as a result.
Employers must either accept or deny the claim within 21 days. If an employer denies the claim, interns will have three years from the date of their injury to file an appeal. Employers may deny claims for various reasons, such as if the employer believes that the injury was non-compensable, that there was insufficient information, or that the employee is not eligible for benefits.
Those whose claims are accepted may begin receiving various forms of workers’ compensation benefits to compensate for the expenses associated with their injury. Typically, these benefits include compensation for all reasonable medical expenses, such as treatments, surgeries, and medications as well as wage loss benefits, which are available to workers who miss more than seven days of work due to their injuries.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Interns Collect the Benefits to Which They Are Entitled
If you were injured as an intern, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our skilled attorneys can help to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled for your case. Please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW for a free consultation.
We proudly represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.