Talk to A Work Injury Lawyer About Your Worker's Comp Claim
If you were injured on the job or suffering the effects of an occupational illness or medical condition, the law entitles you to workers’ compensation benefits. Getting those benefits, however, is not automatic. Just talk to a work injury lawyer.
Filing a successful workers’ compensation claim requires attention to detail. So that means completing forms accurately and meeting strict deadlines. Must you retain an attorney to help you file your claim? Not by law — but to help you get all the benefits you're entitled to, it is a good idea to have a knowledgeable work injury lawyer at your side.
At High Swartz, LLP, our workers' comp attorneys understand the worry and insecurity of waiting for help with medical expenses and lost wages. The lawyers in our Doylestown and Norristown, PA law offices help workers get full and fair workers’ compensation benefits. We protect you by helping you file right the first time. Moreover, we'll represent you if your claim gets denied.
So if you encounter any of these issues, get in touch immediately with one of our work injury lawyers:
- You get injured on the job
- You want to determine the potential value of your case
- Workers' compensation gets denied
- You receive wage loss for your injury
- You receive medical benefits for your injury
- Your medical benefits have been denied or challenged
- Your prescription benefits have been denied or challenged
- You want to pursue a lump sum settlement
You can learn more about Pennsylvania workers' compensation here.
The Most Common Work Injuries
There are about 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses annually. Industrial and construction jobs rank among the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. In particular, four events cause countless deaths annually -- falling from a height, electrocution, impacts from falling objects, getting caught between two hazards.
Fortunately, not all injuries lead to death. But these injuries frequently happen on the job and may present a sound reason to consult with a work injury lawyer about worker's comp benefits:
- Broken bones
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Strikes by workers, equipment, or falling objects
- Falls from heights
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Harmful substance exposure
- Fires and explosions
- Violence from people or animals
- Overexertion and muscle strains
- Lower back injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries
What Are Your Benefits If Injured at Work?
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act became a statute in 1915. Since then, hundreds of thousands of workers in industries from manufacturing to hospitality and from office workers to retail employees have enjoyed the protection of this important act. The type of benefits you receive, including the amount and duration of payments for lost wages, depends mainly on the extent of your injury or illness and your pre-injury earnings. However, in general, you can receive these benefits:
Payment for lost wages
In most cases, compensation for lost wages is approximately two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum weekly benefit.
The law entitles you to reasonable physician services, medicine, supplies, hospital treatment, and certain medical appliances and prosthetic devices for as long as required.
As dependent survivors, family members may file for benefits in cases of fatal work-related injuries.
A work injury lawyer can review the benefits with you to ensure you're getting all you deserve.
How to File A Workers' Comp Claim in Pennsylvania
Again, it's imperative to complete your claim accurately. That's why we recommend you reach out to a worker's comp attorney near you. But to reduce your risk of denied benefits and speed up the compensation process, follow protocols precisely. Remember that your employer and its insurance company also have the right to workers’ comp defense. Moreover, they're likely to assert a defense if they feel you're not playing by the rules. So talk with a work injury lawyer if that happens.
So to support your case, follow these steps:
- Report Your Injury Immediately: You should immediately report any on-the-job injury or work-related illness to your employer. Plus, you should include information regarding the date, time, and place of injury. In addition, you have only 120 days to inform your employer of your injury. Failure to do so in a timely manner may result in a denied claim.
- Fill out a First Report Form: Make sure you complete the report as accurately as possible and remember to sign the form.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Even if you feel your injury isn't severe, it is critical to seek immediate medical attention. For example, symptoms that initially seem only slight to moderate may worsen over time. So any significant delay in seeing a doctor cannot only be dangerous to your health but also can cause a delay in benefits. More importantly, it can lead to denial of your claim.
- Consult with a Work Injury Lawyer: As mentioned, this step isn't required. It's just smart to protect your rights. Whether you want to ensure the accuracy of your claim or, especially, if you feel your employer victimizes you, your injured worker lawyer remains your advocate. Your workers' comp attorney will also come in handy if you must appeal a denied claim.
Grounds for Denial of Workers’ Compensation Claims
Grounds for denial of a workers’ comp claim may include, but are not limited to:
- A physician determines the injury hasn't created a disability
- The injury does not relate to the employment
- The disability is a pre-existing condition and not aggravated by the employment
- A worker lacks workers’ compensation insurance coverage
- Improper following of protocols owing to the delayed, inaccurate, or incomplete filing of documents or other administrative issues
If you believe the Bureau of Worker's Compensation denies your claim wrongfully, call a work injury lawyer immediately to review your case and file an appeal.
A Work Injury Lawyer Can Negotiate a Settlement for You
In Pennsylvania, you and your employer’s insurance company can agree to “compromise and release.” As a result, you agree to settle for a lump sum in exchange for releasing your employer — more specifically, your employer’s insurance company — from additional liability. Once you and the insurance company sign a petition for compromise and release, a judge reviews the petition and renders a decision. A work injury lawyer supports this process for you.
According to the statute, the agreement must be “explicit with regard to payment, if any, of reasonable, necessary and related medical expenses.” Furthermore, judges insist that you understand the significance of this agreement. So our workers’ comp lawyers consult with you to ensure any deal you sign represents your best interest.
Why Lump-Sum Workers’ Comp Settlements May Be Preferable
Of course, the main advantage of taking the money all at once is just that -- the money is yours immediately. But other benefits include:
- You can go back to work if you want and are able, and your compensation remains yours to keep.
- An investigation won't happen for faked disabilities.
- You do not have to keep going in for employer- or insurance-mandated medical exams.
- Benefits do not cease if you die, and nobody can take back your settlement award.
Why Reject a Lump-Sum Settlement
If there is one thing you need to understand about insurance companies, it's this. Your insurance company wants to make a profit. So, they'd prefer to pay as little as possible. In many cases, despite the workers’ comp settlement appearing as a great deal, your insurer understands that a lump-sum distribution reflects their best interest, not yours. As a result, your medical expenses may soon outrun the amount of your settlement. Unfortunately, there is no going back for additional monies once you've signed on the dotted line.
If You Get Hurt at Work, Talk to a Work Injury Lawyer at Our Law Firm
If you've been injured on the job and have a successful workers’ comp claim, it can be tempting to accept a big chunk of money all at once instead of getting paid over a specific timeframe. The question is: Are you sure that the settlement offer is adequate. Moreover, are you comfortable with waiving your rights to future benefits should you have medical needs down the road?
At our local law firm, our work injury lawyers know numerous factors demand consideration before you decide to take a lump-sum settlement or opt for weekly benefits. We'll talk with you to weigh your options to determine what's best for you and your family. Workers' comp is not something you want to pursue alone. Our personal injury lawyers can also talk with you to determine potential actions.
U.S. News honored High Swartz as a Best Law Firm and cited 14 of our attorneys as Best Lawyers. So when you work with us, you'll know you're getting the best representation possible. Call our Doylestown and Norristown, PA offices today.