Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Attorney
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Most employees in Pennsylvania are covered by workers' compensation benefits. The workers' comp system is designed to provide employees with financial assistance if they sustain an occupation-related injury or illness. That means if you have been injured on the job, you have a legal right to get your medical bills paid and receive compensation for wage loss and physical impairments related to your work accident. While this might sound like a straightforward process, employers and their insurance companies sometimes deny legitimate workers' compensation claims, even for common work-related injuries.
At Metzger Wickersham, our Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorneys have extensive experience handling denied, terminated, or reduced claims. If you were denied a workers' compensation claim, or if the insurance company tries to stop your benefits, you can take an aggressive stand to protect your rights.
We can help you with any workers’ compensation claim or related matter, including but not limited to:
- Dealing with your employer
- Dealing with doctors
- Dealing with your workers’ compensation adjuster
- Denied workers’ compensation benefits
Who Is Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania?
Nearly every employee in Pennsylvania is covered by workers’ compensation. All employers who have at least one employee must provide workers’ compensation insurance for all employees, including part-time, full-time, and seasonal workers.
There are very few exemptions for workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania, but some include:
- Agricultural workers who work less than 30 hours or earn less than $1,200 from a single employer in one calendar year
- Executives who have specifically requested an exemption
- Most domestic workers
- Certain religious workers
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning you do not need to prove that your employer (or another party, such as a coworker) was negligent to file a claim. However, your employer may dispute your eligibility by arguing that you were acting negligently or violating workplace policies when your injury occurred. If your employer is disputing your claim, or if the insurance company has denied your workers’ compensation claim, contact Metzger Wickersham right away to learn how we can help.
Common Accidents & Injuries in The Workplace
Workers in all industries face certain risks every day on the job. Whether you operate heavy machinery, spend all day on your feet, or work in an office environment, you may find yourself seriously injured in a workplace or work-related accident.
Some of the most common work-related accidents and injuries include:
- Accidental amputation caused by machinery accidents, entrapment, entanglement, and more
- Exposure to asbestos, leading to asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other conditions
- Back, neck, shoulder, knee, or arm injuries
- Burn injuries, including thermal burns and electrical burns
- Defective tools, machinery, and equipment
- Falls in the workplace, including slip and falls and falls from heights
- Broken or fractured bones
- Commercial vehicle accidents
- Loss of hearing or loss of vision
- Hospital injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Structure collapses and cave-ins
- Traumatic injuries or reactions to substances or chemicals at the workplace (toxic exposure)
- Overexertion and overuse injuries caused by improper lifting, pushing, pulling, and carrying
It can be hard knowing what to do to make sure your rights are fully protected after you have been injured at work. We can help. From filing initial paperwork to collecting medical evidence to filing a claim petition, we know the steps to take after a work injury.
Contact us today! With offices in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Pottsville, Shippensburg, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, and York, we can meet with you anywhere in Pennsylvania. Our attorneys can even travel to your home or the hospital if you are unable to come into one of our offices.
What to Do After a Workplace Injury
If you were injured on the job, let your employer know about your workplace injury as soon as possible. Your employer and insurance company have 21 days to accept a claim or issue a denial.
If you have been injured at work, follow these steps:
- Report Your Injury: If you are injured on the job, you should immediately report your injury to a supervisor or person of authority at your place of employment. Your injury should be reported in writing, if possible. You should notify your employer within 21 days of your injury. Be mindful that you must give notice to your employer no later than 120 days after your injury or you will lose your right to receive benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act.
- Get Medical Treatment: Get medical treatment as soon as possible after a work injury. Do not ignore your injury or delay going to a doctor. You are required to treat with a medical provider from your employer's panel of physicians for the first 90 days following a work injury. If no panel exists, you can treat with a provider of your choosing from the beginning of your workers' compensation claim.
- Listen to Your Doctor: Follow your doctor's orders. Your workers' compensation benefits may be affected if you fail to follow your doctor's guidelines or restrictions. Do not return to work or participate in activities that could exacerbate your injury unless/until you receive approval from your doctor.
- Enlist Legal Help: Don't give a recorded statement or sign anything given to you by the workers' compensation insurance company without consulting a lawyer. Without legal advice, you may unknowingly do or say things that could put your claim in jeopardy.
It is highly recommended to consult with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer immediately after suffering a work injury. A knowledgeable Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorney at Metzger Wickersham can explain your full rights and help you navigate the workers' compensation system.
Devoted Representation of Injured Clients in PA
At Metzger Wickersham, we represent workers' compensation clients throughout Pennsylvania. We have an entire team dedicated to helping injured workers with their Pennsylvania workers' compensation claims. If you trust us to take charge of your case, we will deal with the hassles of the workers' compensation system so you can focus on your physical recovery.
Our attorneys have a broad knowledge of workers' compensation laws in Pennsylvania and fight for clients who have sustained all types of on-the-job injuries while working in offices, at industrial sites, construction sites, in hospitals, and many other workplaces. If you are unable to work because of a disability or injury, our firm may also be able to help you obtain benefits through the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability programs.
Q:Are there any time limits for filing my workers' compensation claim in Pennsylvania?
A:Yes, there are a variety of time limits on workers' compensation claims depending on how your claim has been handled so far. You must report a work-related injury to your employer within 120 days of the date of injury. If your claim for workers' compensation benefits is denied, you have 3 years from the date of your injury to file a Claim Petition to litigate your rights. Those are just two examples. Failure to understand the various time limits on workers' compensation claims can result in the forfeiture of your ability to receive benefits.
Q:I reported my work injury to my employer two weeks ago, but I haven't yet heard back. How long does it take to get a decision on my workers' compensation claim?
A:Once a workers' compensation claim is reported to an employer's insurance carrier, the insurance company has 21 days to accept or deny the claim. You should make sure your employer reported your injury to their insurance company. Once the insurance company decides on your claim, you will be notified by mail.
Q:Can workers’ compensation be denied?
A:Yes, your workers’ compensation claim can be denied. One of the most common reasons workers’ comp claims are denied is due to missed deadlines. Additionally, your employer may dispute the claim, either by claiming the accident did not happen on the job or the injury was not a result of the accident. Your employer may also try to argue that the conditions or injuries are not severe enough to make a claim or that you intentionally inflicted the injury on yourself or were intoxicated or impaired by illegal drugs when the injury occurred.
Q:What can I do if my workers' compensation claim is denied?
A:If your claim is denied, you will have to file a Claim Petition and begin litigation to try to obtain benefits. You should contact an experienced Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorney who can explain your rights and what happens next.
Q:I am currently receiving workers' comp, but I just found out that my employer's workers’ compensation carrier is trying to terminate my benefits. What should I do?
A:You should contact a workers' compensation lawyer as soon as you receive notice that the carrier wants to terminate your benefits. A hearing will be scheduled in front of a workers' compensation judge, and you should have an advocate who can explain the process to you and make sure your rights are protected.
Q:What are specific loss benefits?
A:Specific loss benefits are available to employees who suffer a work-related injury that results in the loss or loss of use of a body part, such as a finger, a leg, or an eye. These benefits are generally separate from wage loss and medical benefits, and they are calculated using formulas outlined by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
Q:What is an independent medical exam (IME)?
A:An IME is a medical examination scheduled and paid for by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. The carrier will choose a doctor to perform the IME and will set the place, date, and time for the examination. The carrier is permitted to send an injured worker to an IME twice per year while their claim for workers’ compensation benefits is ongoing.
Q:Do I have to treat with a company doctor, or can I choose my own doctor?
A:For the first 90 days following a work injury, you are required to treat with medical providers from the employer's panel of physicians. If no panel exists, you can treat with a provider of your choosing from the beginning of your claim. If your claim for workers' compensation benefits is denied at some point during the first 90 days after a work injury, you can begin treating with your own doctor.
Q:What is a claim petition?
A:A Claim Petition is a legal document filed with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation to begin litigation on a claim where an injured worker's initial claim for benefits was denied by the insurance carrier. If your claim was denied and you wish to pursue benefits, you should contact an experienced Pennsylvania workers' compensation lawyer who can fully explain the litigation process.
Q:How soon after my injury can I settle my claim for a lump sum?
A:It depends. If your injury is relatively minor and you return to your job shortly after being hurt, you may not be eligible for a lump sum settlement. If your injuries are serious and you anticipate being unable to work for some time, a lump sum settlement may be right for you. It is always smart to contact an attorney to discuss the possibility of settling your claim.
Q:What will a Pennsylvania workers' compensation lawyer do to assist me with my case?
A:A lawyer can assist you in all aspects of your workers' compensation case from filing a Claim Petition to negotiating a settlement. The workers' compensation system in Pennsylvania is complicated, and an experienced attorney will be able to answer your questions and help protect your rights. A good lawyer will make sure your case moves smoothly so that you can focus on recovering from your injury.
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