Your Rights and the Process
Advocates for Injured Workers
Even if you are a loyal, long-time employee, you may find yourself fighting your employer or their insurance company for work comp benefits after a work injury. We offer skilled legal representation to assert and preserve your workers’ compensation rights.
Martin Law serves only injured workers, not employers or insurance companies. Our attorneys are well versed in every facet of Pennsylvania workers’ compensation, from initial claims to contested hearings. We can explain your rights and the value of your claim in a free consultation.
PA Workers’ Compensation Rights
- The right to benefits — You are guaranteed certain benefits if you were injured in a workplace accident or simply injured in the course of your job. This includes free medical coverage and wage loss benefits for as long as you are off the job.
- The right to negotiate a lump sum settlement — There are pros and cons to cash settlement of your claim versus ongoing benefits. Our attorneys can help you decide if this is right for you.
- The right to control your treatment — The employer’s preferred physicians may not be qualified to diagnose and treat your injury, and may not have your best interests at heart. In most cases, you can choose your own doctors.
- The right to a hearing — If the employer tries to deny, reduce or terminate your benefits, or if your disability pay is calculated incorrectly, your case must be heard by a workers’ comp judge. That decision can also be appealed.
- The right to recover from your injury — Your employer cannot force you back to work. Only a doctor can clear you for light duty or regular duty.
The PA Workers’ Compensation Process
After your accident or when you experience symptoms:
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible, with your doctor or theirs.
- Inform your employer as soon as feasible, orally or preferably in writing.
- Contact an attorney, the sooner the better, and definitely before signing statements, waivers or settlements.
The employer has 21 days to accept or reject your claim. If you get a Notice of Denial, you can petition for a hearing before a workers’ compensation judge. The employer can also withdraw a temporary approval of benefits within 90 days.
If your claim is accepted and you’re out of work more than 14 days, wage benefits begin on the first day of missed work. Medical benefits begin on the day of the injury. Total disability benefits do not have a time limit. They do, however, have a dollar limit; it is 66 2/3% of your weekly salary not to exceed $978, in 2016. Medical benefits are not limited though. You can petition to contest your wage calculation, level of benefits or excluded injuries if you disagree with the initial determination.
After two years (104 weeks) on total disability, the employer can require an Impairment Review Evaluation (IRE) to try to limit your benefits. You are entitled to challenge such a finding.
These are only some of the scenarios in which your benefits or rights may be taken away. Call our certified lawyers at 215.587.8400 after your injury — before your claim is damaged beyond repair.
We offer a free consultation, with several locations in the Philadelphia area and surrounding counties of southeast Pennsylvania. We have Spanish speakers on staff.