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Archive for August, 2016

What is the Workers’ Compensation Process?

workers' compensation process

Work does more than pay the bills and put food on the table. For many of us, the work we do provides real meaning and rewards. When we suffer a serious injury on the job, it not only has a physical impact but can also create uncertainty. This is especially true when the injury requires expensive medical treatment or keeps us from returning to work. If you have suffered an injury in your workplace or have become sickened or developed a condition as a result of your job, then you may be entitled to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can not only reimburse you for the cost of your treatment and care, but also provide a percentage of any wages that you lose as a result of your injury and the corresponding period of recovery. In Pennsylvania, there is a specific workers’ compensation process that you need to follow in order to give yourself the best chance of getting the benefits that you deserve. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Vanasse Law can explain what you need to do and assist you in the process to ensure that you get the compensation that you need and deserve.

The first step of the workers’ compensation process is to file your initial claim. This must be submitted to your employer within 21 days of your injury, or your discovery of the work-related condition if you want to receive benefits after missing work for seven days or more. Doing this properly is essential. Your statement to your supervisor, Human Resources department or other responsible representative should include the date of the injury, how and where the accident occurred, and what its physical impact or diagnosis is. If you do not file a claim within 120 days of the injury then you risk forfeiting your right to benefits entirely.

Once you’ve submitted the claim it is likely that you will need to provide complete documentation of your injury and any bills you incur. Your employer may require you to be seen by specific approved physicians, whose names they will make available to you. It is important that you adhere to all medical advice and keep track of all appointments, as this may assist you in an appeal at a later date.

Once you have submitted your claim your employer will report it to the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. They will review your claim and either decide to provide you with compensation or issue a denial of benefits. If you receive a denial of benefits then you have the right to appeal this decision.

Though there is no requirement that you have legal representation when submitting a workers’ compensation claim or appeal, it is strongly suggested that you do. Your employer or their insurance company will have experienced legal counsel working on their behalf, and you will need a strong and knowledgeable advocate fighting for the benefits you deserve. Call the attorneys at Vanasse Law today to learn more about how we will work for you.

Should I Settle My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

workers' compensation claim

If you’ve suffered a significant injury in the workplace and have filed a workers’ compensation claim, there’s a good chance that your employer or their insurance company will offer you a specific lump sum of money in exchange for waiving your right to continue receiving weekly benefits or seeking any further compensation in the future. These settlement amounts frequently represent tempting amounts of money in the eyes of a worker who is facing mounting medical bills and uncertainty about their ability to return to work in the future. It is important that you give careful consideration before agreeing to this type of settlement, as once you’ve signed off on the agreement there will be no going back. The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law are available to review the terms of the settlement and provide you with valuable advice as to whether the offer you’ve received is fair, or whether you deserve more compensation and should continue to fight for your rights.

When you meet with a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney from the law firm of Vanasse Law, you will get the benefit of our extensive legal knowledge as well as our experience. We will review the particulars of your injury, the medical treatments that you have already required as well as the long-term expectations for whether your health will improve, whether you will continue to need treatments for an extended period of time, and whether you will be able to return to work. We will also carefully evaluate your financial situation, analyzing whether other sources of income such as Social Security Disability or Medicare will be enough to replace your income should you be permanently disabled. You should never agree to a workers’ compensation lump-sum settlement without this type of careful review by a qualified attorney.

A workers’ compensation attorney will review the settlement offer made by your employer or their insurance company with very specific issues in mind. They will consider how much money you were making prior to your injury and how long you worked for your employer. They will look at the position that you held, as well as your age, the number of years that you would have expected to earn an income had you not been injured, the exact medical condition that you suffered and what kind of expenses you can expect to incur in the future as you continue to be treated for it.

The recommendations that we make will be based on your particular situation as well as on the settlements and benefits that constitute the norm for situations that are similar to yours. It is in our extensive experience in negotiating workers’ compensation agreements that you will find our greatest value, as we are committed to ensuring that you receive a fair and reasonable compensation payment, and we know exactly what that should be. To set up an appointment to discuss your case, contact our office today.

Reporting Accidents in the Workplace

reporting accidents in the workplace

You’ve been hurt at work. Maybe you were involved in a serious and obvious accident. Maybe what happened to you wasn’t as obvious and you have been identified with a repetitive stress injury as a result of your job, or a cumulative occupational disease that was caused by exposure to a toxin in your workplace environment. Whether illness or injury, if it happened at work you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits such as compensation for your medical expenses and any wages you lose as a result. Though workers’ compensation is extended to almost all Pennsylvania workers, as the injured party you have certain requirements that you must meet in order to get the benefits you seek. The experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Vanasse Law have a long and successful record of assisting injured workers, and we can help you too.

If you have been in an accident and are suffering from symptoms, the most important thing for you to do is seek medical attention. If your physician identifies an illness that arose from your workplace, or you’ve been treated for an injury you suffered at work, then you need to report it to your employer immediately and in writing. Doing so sets into motion a series of events that lead to you getting the reimbursement you will need for the medical expenses you incur. Your employer may have a specific form that you need to fill out, or may have a requirement for who is to receive notice of your situation.

Pennsylvania law makes you responsible for giving your employer notification within 21 days of either your injury taking place or of you learning of your illness or injury. In some situations, they will allow up to 120 days for this notice. Your report may be submitted to the human resources department or your manager or supervisor. Once you submit a claim your employer has to send a notification to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The employer may ask that you see one of the several physicians that they have specifically identified for treatment of employees seeking workers’ compensation, and you may need to see those physicians for a minimum period of time. Though it may feel as if there are a lot of rules and regulations, it is important to adhere to the guidelines established by Pennsylvania law. Failure to follow these protocols can result in your forfeiting your ability to get the reimbursement to which you are entitled.

Workers’ compensation can provide a wide range of benefits, including reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, and short or long-term disability payments. Though an injured worker is not able to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer, they still maintain the right to hold others responsible if there has been negligence involved in their injury. This can include other contractors in the worksite, as well as other third parties.

If you have questions about your rights or have been turned down for compensation that you believe you deserve, the experienced Lancaster attorneys at Vanasse Law can help. Call us today to set up a convenient appointment.

What Do I Do If My Workers’ Compensation Claim was Denied

workers compensation claim

As an employee in the state of Pennsylvania, if you have been injured or sickened on the job then you have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation to get reimbursed for your medical expenses, as well as time you may need to take to recover. Once you’ve filed your claim, your employer has 21 days from the date that they are notified of your injury to either approve or deny your claim. When a claim is denied by your company or their insurance company, there are several steps you should take. First you should check to see whether the insurance company has actually received your documentation and had time to investigate your claim – if not, the denial may simply be conditional as they take more time to review your case. If they have received your information and are simply denying your claim, then you need to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney from Vanasse Law.

As an injured worker in Pennsylvania, the Notice of Workers’ Compensation Denial that you have received does not mean that you will not get benefits. There are a number of reasons why they may have denied your claim. These may include:

  • Incorrect information on your claim or accident report
  • Missing the deadline for the application
  • The employer or insurer questioning the validity of your claim
  • The employer or insurer questioning the severity of your injury
  • The employer or insurer claiming that the injury was not incurred on the job or was the result of illegal activity

If your claim is denied you are able to file a Claim Petition for Compensation within 3 years of the date of your injury. That petition is submitted directly to the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, where a judge will determine whether your claim should be approved or denied.

Though there is no requirement that you use an attorney to represent you in an appeal of denial, it is strongly suggested that you do have legal representation, as your employer or their insurer will likely be represented aggressively by counsel.

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney from the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law will help you ensure that all of your documentation is in order. They will help you gather medical records that specifically counter the arguments that are made by your employer, as well as records and eyewitness reports regarding where you were when you were injured and what the working conditions were that contributed to the injury. We will use our experience and knowledge of the law and the process to make sure that you meet all deadlines, that all forms are properly filled out and that you have as much proof as possible to support your case and help you to get the compensation that you deserve. Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your case.