Anyone who is injured at work may benefit from the legal advice of an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney.
After an accident at work in Pennsylvania, a person’s first thought may be to report it to the supervisor, clock out and head to the emergency department for treatment. When the injury is not the result of a sudden accident, the idea of seeking medical treatment may be something that is put off until the pain is too much to handle. Either way, the work-related injury will probably be covered by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. In any case, there are several reasons that a person may want to speak to a workers’ compensation attorney.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) warns that all forms and petitions must be filled out and filed correctly. A person who is comfortable completing official documents may still want to speak with an attorney before completing the task because of the potential for an error that could delay the case or end in a denial that must be appealed.
Avoid long delays
According to the Pennsylvania DLI, an injured employee should work with the employer and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier when there are issues receiving benefits. A holdup could be a part of the claims process. However, the employee should be aware that the insurance carrier must take action within 21 days of the date when the employer was informed of the injury.
If there is no word of temporary payments, a denial or an acceptance after that three weeks, it may be necessary to start the dispute process by filing a petition. The lengthy delays could make it even more difficult for the worker to receive medical attention, especially if he or she has been unable to return to work. An attorney may be able to assist in the communication process before the petition is filed to prevent an unfair denial from becoming an issue that must be taken before a judge.
Navigate the legal process
After the petition has been filed, a workers’ compensation judge joins the resolution process. An employee can expect to discuss the case with the judge and a lawyer who is working on behalf of the employer and/or insurance carrier. Whether the meeting is an informal or settlement conference or mediation, self-representation is an option. But, the nuances of workers’ compensation law in Pennsylvania are often confusing to those who do not have a legal background.
An attorney with experience traversing the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation court system will be able to provide expert legal advice at any point of the process. This may be the best way for an injured employee to sidestep delays and begin receiving benefits that include coverage for medical treatment and a portion of lost wages.