When Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Our workers keep Wilkes-Barre’s economy running. When you become hurt or sick, you expect that you will have a safety net to protect yourself and your family. Pennsylvania workers’ comp exists to help anyone suffering a work-related injury or illness cover lost wages and required medical treatment for work-related injuries and disease. Workers’ compensation insurance is provided by and paid for by your employer. It is the law. But if you have a workplace injury and are finding it difficult to receive your benefits or if you have questions about what you might qualify for, you may need to call the Wilkes-Barre workers’ compensation lawyers at Munley Law today.
Our workers’ comp lawyers have more than 60 years of experience fighting for injured workers in Wilkes-Barre. We are nationally recognized for our expertise and record-setting awards for our clients. Your consultation is always free. Our lawyers do not collect any fees until we win your workers’ comp case.
What Can a Wilkes-Barre Workers’ Compensation Attorney Do For Me?
In addition to seeking the guidance of someone with experience in workers’ comp law to help you navigate filing your initial claim, there are times when it is necessary to hire an experienced lawyer. Some examples of these circumstances can include:
- Filing your claim. Filing your initial claim for workers’ comp benefits can be difficult, especially when you add in the stress of your recovery and the financial strain of lost wages and mounting medical bills. Your experienced lawyer can help you fill out your forms completely and correctly and help you meet necessary deadlines.
- Your employer’s insurance company denied your initial claim. Your employer and their insurance company are in business to make money. Unfortunately, some employers and their insurance companies will try to save money by denying your lawful claim to collect compensation benefits for their injury or occupational disease. When you are dealing with the stress of your recovery, lost wages, and medical bills, this can feel like a huge setback. If your claim was denied, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help file your appeal and collect the necessary documents to support and prove your claim. If necessary, a workers’ comp attorney can fight your appeal in court.
- You suspect your employer is retaliating against you in the workplace or you have been fired as retaliation for filing a workers’ comp claim. It is illegal for an employer in Pennsylvania to fire an employee for filing a workers comp claim. PA workers’ compensation law prohibits employers from terminating an injured worker for reporting a work-related injury or disease; filing a workers’ compensation claim; having a workers comp claim approved and; receiving workers comp benefits. If you have recently opened a PA workers comp claim or if you have recently reported a work-related injury or illness to your employer and you believe you are experiencing punitive actions such as unfair treatment or if you have been fired, you need to contact an experienced and skillful Pennsylvania workers compensation attorney at Munley Law to help you prove your employer’s actions were unlawful.
- Your employer’s insurer has submitted a reevaluation request. Once your claim is approved and you have begun to receive your benefits, you might think that the stress of navigating the system is over. However, insurance companies occasionally submit a request for your medical condition to be re-evaluated. This means the insurance company is attempting to prove that you have recovered enough to return to work. If you have received a request for reevaluation of your benefits, call an experienced Munley Law workers’ comp attorney today.
- You have discovered that your employer does not carry state-mandated workers’ comp coverage. It is PA law for all employers to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy. If you have been hurt at work and you have discovered your employer does not have the legally required insurance, you need to hire a lawyer.
- You are facing a long recovery and you will be out of work for a long time. If your injury or occupational disease is long-term or permanent you might be facing very high medical bills and medical expenses. If your employer’s insurance company feels that your costs might exceed what they are willing to pay out, they might fight to reduce the number of benefits you receive to save themselves money. Your workers’ comp lawyer can help secure all of the benefits you are entitled to.
- You believe the insurer calculated your wage loss benefits incorrectly. In PA you are legally entitled to receive financial compensation for wages lost during your recovery. If you feel as if you are not receiving the maximum wage loss benefits you are entitled to, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Munley Law today.
- You are facing a workers’ comp hearing. Not all workers’ compensation claims require a hearing. But if your employer’s insurance company will not settle or agree to a reasonable offer, you might need an attorney to represent you at a hearing. A workers’; compensation hearing can occur when your employer or their insurer contests their liability in your injury or illness or when they contest the validity of your injury or entitlement to compensation. If this happens to you, it helps to have an attorney with experience in workers’ compensation law on your side. Munley Law knows your rights and we know the PA workers’ comp system. If your claim requires a hearing, we can help fight for you and negotiate a fair settlement.
How Can a Workers’ Comp Attorney Help With My Claim?
We can explain what you may be entitled to. Workers comp insurance can cover your lost wages and medical treatment but there are many other costs you can claim that you might not be aware of. Your workers’ comp attorney knows how to file your claim so you receive the maximum benefits you are entitled to by law.
- We can help you file your paperwork in a timely manner. Your workers’ compensation claim has many deadlines, filing dates, and statutes of limitation. Your Wilkes-Barre workers comp attorney can make sure your claim forms are filed correctly, filled out completely, and filed on time. These steps are crucial to the approval of your claim.
- We will assemble all necessary work and medical records and documents to support your claim.
- Your attorney will handle all the communications with your employer’s insurance company. This includes all negotiations on your behalf for a fair settlement.
- We will gather all the medical and vocational evidence to support your claim. One of the top reasons workers comp claims are denied is the lack of medical evidence for the injury, and the severity of the injury or illness. If you do not have all of the evidence needed to support your claim, you may not receive all the benefits you deserve. Your claim can even be denied. Your attorney knows how to gather medical records, obtain medical evaluations from your medical professionals, find experts, and conduct depositions of medical professionals to support your claim.
- We can help negotiate a lump sum settlement. A lump sum settlement is when the employee is paid their benefits in one big payment, rather than having ongoing weekly benefits. Your workers’ compensation attorney will be able to advise you about accepting a lump sum or negotiating for weekly benefits instead.
Wilkes-Barre PA Industry By the Numbers
When someone thinks of a workplace accident, we usually imagine a construction site or a busy factory. However, the risk for injuries exists in every work environment, from behind the desk at an office to a bustling warehouse. Some of our biggest industries in Luzerne County include:
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Wilkes-Barre’s top ten industries are:
- Warehousing and Storage
- Restaurants and Other Eating Places
- Elementary and Secondary Schools
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
- Employment Services
- Individual and Family Services
- Grocery and Convenience Retailers
- Executive, Legislative, and Other General Government Support
- Plastics Product Manufacturing
- Outpatient Care Centers
Munley Law’s workers’ compensation attorneys have represented injured workers across all of NEPA’s many industries. If you have been injured at work, or if you are suffering from an occupational disease and you are ready to file your workers’ comp claim, call us today for a free case evaluation.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
There are a few very important steps to starting your workers’ comp claim.
If you have been injured due to a workplace accident or incident, seek medical care immediately and notify your employer as soon as possible, preferably in writing. Be sure to include the exact day, time, location, and circumstances under which the injury occurred. Keep track of all of your visits to medical appointments and keep all of your medical records.
If you are opening a claim to receive benefits for an ongoing stress-related injury or disease occurring from working conditions, notify your employer as soon as you receive a diagnosis of your medical condition from your doctor.
Here are the steps to follow when filing a workers’ comp claim in Wilkes-Barre:
The employee reports their injury or illness to their employer
An injured employee is required to provide written notice, and most states set deadlines for reporting injuries. Per the PA Department of Labor & Industry, an employee should report all injuries to their employer as soon as possible.
The employee must give notice within 21 days of the date of the injury in order to receive retroactive benefits, unless the employer already has knowledge of the injury.
Notice given more than 120 days from the date of injury may result in the loss of workers’ compensation unless the employer already knew of the injury.
In the case of an injury or illness caused over time, the employee must report the injury or illness according to these timeframes after receiving an official diagnosis.
The employer starts the affected worker filing the required paperwork
Once you report your injury or illness, your employer will provide you with your claim form which is to be filled out and returned to the employer. This form will request all of the details of the injury or illness.
You should also be provided a report of injury form which will be submitted to PA’s workers compensation board.
The employer reports the injury to the state and files your claim with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier
Your employer will send the claim form to your workers’ compensation insurance carrier and your doctor will submit an additional medical report.
The insurer approves or denies the claim
The claim is filed. It is now in the hands of the workers’ compensation insurance company to approve or deny your benefits.
If your claim is approved by the insurance company:
If your claim is approved, the insurance company will inform your employer and contact you with benefit details. You and your Stroudsburg workers compensation attorney (if you have one) can now:
- Accept the employer’s workers compensation insurance company’s benefits offer, which may cover the costs of medical expenses, disability benefits, and a some of your lost wages or you can
- Negotiate for a lump-sum settlement or a larger “structured” settlement.
If a claim is denied:
If your employer’s insurer denies your payments, you and your attorney, if you have one, have the option to:
- Request a review for reconsideration from the insurance company
- File a formal appeal, through the PA State Workers’ Compensation Board
A workers compensation lawyer from Munley Law will cost you nothing upfront. Call us today for a free case evaluation, or fill out the form below.
Do All Workers’ Comp Cases End With a Settlement?
In short, not all but most PA workers’ comp claims are resolved with a settlement between the injured worker and the employer’s insurance company.
These settlements are known as “Compromise and Release” (CR) and are a compromise between all of the involved parties that is agreeable to everyone. A settlement usually means you will receive your money faster and at lower risk but a settlement is usually a lesser amount than a non-CR claim would be.
A settlement is a compromise and usually means you can receive your money faster and at a lower risk.
If for any reason, the parties involved cannot agree on a settlement, a workers compensation case can be sent to a judge for a ruling.
If your workers’ comp case goes to court, make sure you have the most experienced workers comp lawyer by your side to ensure you receive the maximum benefits you are entitled to.
The Wilkes-Barre workers’ compensation lawyers at Munley Law have been representing the hardworking people of Pennsylvania for more than six decades.
We have the experience as trial lawyers if your workers’ comp case does go to court, and we have the negotiating power to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
Wilkes-Barre Practice Areas
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702