How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help
Workplace injuries are more common than one might think. Unfortunately, such accidents can affect workers in many different lines of work: truck drivers, warehouse and delivery personnel, and construction workers to name a few. In fact, in 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry processed 1,272 workers’ compensation claims and distributed over $35 million in funding to those who were recovering from workplace accidents (Pennsylvania 2020 Annual Workers’ Compensation Report).
What’s more, recovering from a workplace injury can be a dark and difficult time in any professional’s life. If you or someone in your household was a victim of a workplace accident, you may feel anxious about how your accident will affect your ability to earn wages, intimidated by the lengthy claims process, or even overwhelmed by recovering from your injury. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys expresses its deepest condolences to any who were affected by a workplace accident.
Given all of the difficulties you may face after a workplace injury, you may benefit from hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to represent you. Our team of experts at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys has over 60 years of experience in workers’ compensation claims and has represented workers across a number of different industries. Our track record of multi-million dollar settlements shows that we have the expertise to get you the outcome you deserve.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is the support you are entitled to if you are a Pennsylvania resident and become injured while at work. Workers’ compensation benefits aim to protect your income while you are recovering from the injury. The amount of monetary support you receive will depend largely on the severity of your injury and how much it limits your ability to work.
If you have experienced a severe injury and are completely unable to work, you will receive the maximum payout. If your injury occurred on or after January 1st, 2023, the maximum payout will be up to two-thirds of your weekly pay or $1273 per week. Each year, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor calculates the maximum payout based on a number of different factors. To learn more about how the maximum is calculated, check out the Department of Labor website here.
How Does the Claims Process Work?
To file your claim, you must report your injury or illness within 120 days of it occurring to your employer. A best practice is to notify your supervisor or manager in writing within 21 days of the incident to start receiving your benefits from the time the injury or illness occurred. If you wait to report your injury after the three-week mark, you will instead begin to receive benefits from the date you made your report. In short, it’s wise to report your injury as soon as you possibly can.
After you report your injury, you should seek medical attention. Even if you feel your injury is minor, receiving a medical opinion will likely be used as evidence and is therefore important to the claims process. Within the first 90 days of your report, you will likely be required to select an employer-approved physician to oversee your care. After the 90-day mark, you may be able to choose your own physician.
Next, you’ll want to file your claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. To kick off the claims process, your employer must submit a First Report of Injury document. It is important to note that if your employer fails to file this report within three years from the date of injury, you will no longer qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. In addition to the First Report of Injury form, you’ll want to follow up with your employer to review the following documents:
- LIBC-494C: The Statement of Wages, for injuries that occurred on or after June 24, 1996.
- LIBC-495: Notice of Compensation Payable.
- LIBC-336: The Agreement for Compensation for Disability or Permanent Injury.
- LIBC-501: Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable.
- LIBC-337: The Supplemental Agreement for Compensation for Disability or Permanent Injury.
- LIBC-496: Notice of Denial
- LIBC-502: Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation
When to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you encounter even the slightest hiccup in the claims process, you should immediately hire an attorney. A few examples of instances in which a victim would benefit from legal representation include:
- Your employer denies your claim. The majority of workers’ compensation claims are denied by employers. If this happens to you, remain calm. Seeking legal representation will help you file an appeal and get you the support you are entitled to.
- The settlement your employer offers you does not cover your expenses. A judge will be the ultimate settlement approver, and most of the time, they will sign off on a settlement as long as it is not outrageously unfair. A lawyer, on the other hand, will represent your interests and be able to get you a more favorable outcome.
- Your injury prevents you from returning to your job. Whether you are no longer able to perform your specific job, no longer to work at all, or plan to apply for disability benefits, you are likely entitled to a longer-term workers’ compensation settlement. Because these settlements can be particularly costly, most employers will fight these claims ferociously. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to combat your employer’s strikes.
- Your employer retaliates against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Pennsylvania law prohibits workplace discrimination. If you are fired, demoted, or punished in any other way for filing a workers’ compensation claim, reach out to an attorney immediately to protect your legal right to work.
How Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys has a roster of award-winning workers’ compensation experts. Our lawyers have been recognized by their peers and legal organizations across the country. In addition to having our team consistently named on the Best Lawyers in America list, Partner J. Christopher Munley was named “Lawyer of the Year ” in 2016 for his work in Workers’ Compensations-Claimants in the Allentown Metro area. Reach out to us today to receive your free consultation.