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Archive for February, 2016

What Are the Most Important Steps You Can Take If You Have Been Injured On the Job?

Nobody starts their day anticipating that they are going to get injured on the job, and the truth is that when an accident, illness or injury does occur, few people know exactly what they are supposed to do. Though the most obvious answer is that you should seek medical attention as quickly as possible – especially in an emergency – when it comes to doing things the right way in order to maximize your chances of receiving the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve, there’s a lot that you need to know. At Vanasse Law, we are experienced workers’ compensation attorneys who help injured employees through the complex process of applying for and securing their workers’ compensation benefits. Few people know what the most important steps are that need to be followed, but we can help. Call us today if you have been injured on the job.

Though workers’ compensation is a benefit that is provided to most workers in the state of Pennsylvania, not all who are injured on the job end up receiving the compensation that they deserve. In order to give yourself the best chance of success in your pursuit of workers’ compensation benefits, here are the most important steps that you need to follow:

  • Begin by reporting your accident, injury or illness. The state of Pennsylvania allows up to 120 days to tell your boss about what happened or your diagnosis, but it is always better to let them know sooner rather than later. If you have only just learned about your illness, you have 120 days from the date of diagnosis. Failure to meet the 120-day requirement can result in your employer denying your claim.
  • After you have reported your injury, check to see whether your employer has posted a list of approved physicians. If so, then you are required to see one of those physicians for the first 90 days after your injury. Failure to do so can mean that your employer doesn’t have to pay your first 90 days worth of bills. If no doctor is named, then you can see your own.
  • Your employer is required to file a report to their insurance company and file it with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Then their insurer has 21 days to approve or deny your claim and decide whether to pay for your treatment and any wages that you’ve lost.
  • If your employer agrees that your injury is work-related then you’ll get notice that you’re going to be paid. This may be notification of temporary payment. Your employer may also deny your claim, in which case you need to file a claim petition. The deadline to do this is three years after the date of the injury.

Having an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney walk you through these steps as well as the claims process is the first step to making sure that you have the best possible chance of having your claim approved. Call Vanasse Law today to learn more about the many ways that we can help.

Learn more about Job Injuries HERE.

What to Expect When You Sue Your Employer for Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a special type of benefit that provides compensation for medical expenses as well as lost wages suffered due to an illness or injury that occurs at work. This is considered a “no fault” benefit, which means that because it is offered, injured workers are not permitted to file a lawsuit against their employer – or even their coworkers – for negligence. However, the inability to sue an employer for workers’ compensation does not mean that no personal injury lawsuit can be filed, or that an employer can simply deny a worker’s claim and avoid having to provide compensation. When a workers’ compensation claim is denied, a workers’ compensation attorney can assist you in filing a claim petition in which you can appeal the initial decision. Additionally, there are many instances where a third party such as an equipment manufacturer may be in some way liable for your injury, and workers’ compensation does not preclude filing lawsuits against them. If you would like to know what to expect when you pursue your employer for workers’ compensation benefits after they have rejected your initial claim, the attorneys at the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law can help.

There is a very clearly prescribed process to filing a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim. An employer or their insurer have just 21 days to issue a denial of a claim that has been submitted to them, and after that the employee has three years from the time that the injury occurred or illness was diagnosed to file a claim petition. Once a petition has been filed the case is assigned to a workers’ compensation judge and a hearing is scheduled. At this hearing, the judge will listen to all of the evidence that you provide in support of your claim, as well as the evidence for why your employer has denied you benefits. At this point the judge may refer the case for mediation or settlement. They may also simply hand down a written decision. Once the judge has made their decision, both the employee and the employer or their insurer have the right to file an appeal within twenty days to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board asking for reconsideration, and following this there are other appeals possibilities. Appeals can be made to the Commonwealth Court, or even to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The Workers’ Compensation process is designed to be accessible to anybody, but the way that the system works, an employee is at a big disadvantage if they do not have an experienced, competent workers’ compensation attorney representing them – especially because there is a certainty that the employer or their insurance company will have legal representation. In order to give yourself the best possible chance of successfully winning your workers’ compensation claim, call the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law today.

Learn more about Workers’ Compensation HERE.

Farm Worker Injury Compensation: Understanding Workers Compensation for Lancaster, PA Farm Workers

Pennsylvania is one of America’s most prominent farming states. The state boasts over 63,000 farms and ranks fourth in the country for dairy production, apple production and grape production, and first for mushrooms. Though farming may evoke an image of a bucolic and peaceful setting, the truth is that it is a very dangerous profession, and agricultural employees are at high risk for work-related injuries. Despite the dangers inherent in the industry, workers’ compensation laws throughout the country do not necessarily apply to those who work on farms, and for those who suffer farm work injuries in Pennsylvania those protections might be in place, but only under limited circumstances. Understanding workers compensation for Lancaster, PA farm workers is complex, but the attorneys at Vanasse Law are dedicated to ensuring that those who are injured on the job get the justice they deserve. If you’ve suffered a farm work injury, call us today and let us tell you how we can help.

Though Pennsylvania does allow farm workers to collect workers’ compensation when they have suffered a farm work injury, that is only provided on a limited basis. According to the law, Pennsylvania farm employers are only required to provide workers’ compensation if they pay one agricultural worker wages of $1,200 or more, or furnish employment to one employee in agricultural labor for thirty or more days in a calendar year. Additionally, the state courts have ruled against the rights of undocumented workers to receive replacement wages when they have suffered a farm work injury, though they do provide for medical benefits.  Trying to understand whether your employer is required to provide these benefits can be a complex process, and that is why you need the help of an experienced Lancaster, PA workers’ compensation law firm.

Farm workers are at risk for a number of injuries. Accidents can occur when working with heavy machinery or you may be injured while working with power tools. Farm animals can be unpredictable and can expose you to airborne illnesses, chemicals and pesticides can lead to a variety of conditions and toxicities, and you can develop repetitive stress injuries or suffer injuries such as broken bones or back strains. In all of these cases, the medical bills will quickly become overwhelming and you may be required to miss work, or be completely disabled.

Though the exclusions and limitations established by the state with regards to providing workers’ compensation to farm workers may seem to work against your ability to get the compensation you need following your work injury, the lack of workers’ compensation does not preclude your ability to file a third-party personal injury claim that can provide you with similar benefits or compensation.  The attorneys at the workers’ compensation law firm of Vanasse Law have extensive experience in determining the best way to approach each farm work injury situation in order to maximize your ability to get the compensation that you need. Call us today to see how we can help.

Learn more about Workers’ Compensation and Vanasse Law HERE.