Archives

Why Vanasse Law?

See the many reasons Vanasse Law’s dedication, expertise and personal attention makes us THE best choice for injured workers in central Pennsylvania.

Learn More >

How Vanasse Law Can Maximize Your Results

Mike recovers maximum dollars on behalf of his clients.  His track record and personalized comprehensive approach means that he achieves the highest possible benefits for injured workers. He is one of only a few certified specialists in Worker’s Compensation Law, and he uses his knowledge to get the best case values for his clients.

Learn More >

Testimonials

“I am so thankful that I was referred to Vanasse Law for my workmans comp claim. Mike & Loraine put me at ease and the outcome was better than I expected…”

More Testimonials >

    Get a Free Case Evaluation
    Same-Day Response Time

    *Required

    I have read the disclaimer.
    Privacy Policy

    Archive for the ‘Workers’ Compensation’ Category

    9 Common Reasons Workers’ Compensation Claims Are Denied In Pennsylvania

    When you have suffered a work-related illness or injury, you need your workers’ compensation benefits to help support you and your loved ones while you recover. This is why it is so disheartening and overwhelming when your claim for benefits is denied. Fortunately, the attorneys at Vanasse Law, LLC, can help you appeal your denial so that you can receive the benefits to which you are entitled. Reach out today to speak with a Lancaster workplace accident attorney.

    The following are common reasons why workers’ compensation claims are denied. 

    #1 You Have A Pre-Existing Condition

    You may have your claim denied because the insurer maintains that the condition for which you are making the claim existed prior to when the accident or injury related to your employment occurred. However, the fact that you have suffered from the condition before is not an automatic bar to benefits, and if your claim is denied, you should speak with a Lancaster workplace accident attorney.   

    #2 You Missed Deadlines

    There are important deadlines throughout the claims process which must be met or your claim for benefits may be denied. For example, while you should report your injury to your employer within 21 days to receive retroactive benefits, a failure to report it within 120 days from the date of injury may result in your inability to collect any workers’ compensation benefits. Another example would be if you miss the time frame available to file your claim, which typically is three years from the date of injury. 

    It is always a good idea to speak with a Lancaster workplace accident attorney as soon as possible after your injury occurs. There are certain deadlines and time frames with which you must comply or you will not be able to collect your workers’ compensation benefits.   

    #3 You Did Not Provide Enough Proof or Information

    The insurer will require certain information regarding you and your injury before approving your claim for workers’ comp benefits. This may include an accident report, statement of wages, and medical records. Failure to provide the documentation needed to verify your claim, including proof of the injury suffered, can result in the denial of your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. 

    #4 You Did Not Receive Treatment From An Approved Medical Provider

    Within the first 90 days after your injury occurs, you must seek medical care from doctors that have been approved by your employer. If you seek care from a physician that has not been approved by your employer, you risk having the cost of that care denied by your workers’ comp insurer. 

    After 90 days you should be able to see a medical provider that you choose even if they are not considered approved by your employer. Just bear in mind that the medical care must be necessary and actually related to the work injury. Questions about coverage can be addressed with your Lancaster workplace accident attorney.

    #5 Your Injury Did Not Happen in the Scope or Course of Your Employment

    Your injury must have actually occurred in the course and scope of your employment. In other words, if you trip and break your ankle while running in your neighborhood, you will not be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits for your injury. However, if you are walking down the hall at your place of business, trip on a power cord, and break your ankle, that injury should be covered by workers’ compensation.

    However, it is important to note that if you are injured while not actually at your place of business but while you are working, you should be eligible for benefits. For example, if your employer sends you to the store to pick up office supplies and you are rear-ended on the way back to the office, you should be eligible for workers’ comp benefits for any injuries you sustain.  

    #6 The Insurer Does Not Believe You

    Sometimes the insurer will deny your claim for benefits because they do not believe you are entitled to them. They may feel that your story of what happened does not make sense or that the medical reports are incongruent with how you say the injury occurred. A lack of witnesses or any corroborating evidence of the injury can also lead to a denial of benefits. Denials, for this reason, are more common when you have delayed reporting your injury to your employer or filing your claim for benefits.  

    #7 Your Employer Disputes Your Claim

    If your employer disputes your injury or that your injury should be covered, the insurer may deny your claim for benefits. Your employer may have video footage or witnesses that do not support your version of events. Also, employers sometimes dispute claims because they do not want an increase in premiums. If your employer wrongfully disputes your claim, contact a Lancaster workplace accident attorney at Vanasse Law, LLC.

    #8 You Were Engaged In An Illegal or Irresponsible Activity

    Your work-related injury or illness claim will certainly be denied if it occurred because you were engaging in an illegal activity. For example, if you are intoxicated or high on drugs when you are injured, your injury may not be covered by workers’ comp benefits. The same can be said if you are injured while engaging in an activity that is not related to your employment or if you ignored established safety protocols. 

    #9 You Are Not A Covered Employee

    Not all workers are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania. Independent contractors are one group that is excluded. If you have concerns about your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits, it is best to reach out to a Lancaster workplace accident attorney.

    Be Sure To Have A Lancaster Workplace Accident Attorney By Your Side

    If your claim for benefits has been denied, you need a Lancaster workplace accident attorney to help you with your appeal. At Vanasse Law, LLC, we are experienced attorneys that focus our practice on representing injured workers in obtaining their workers’ comp benefits. We may be reached by calling 717-397-1010 or via our contact page.     

    Common Terms Used In Workers’ Compensation Claims

    Being injured on the job and having to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits is a process most people hope to avoid over the life of their careers. However, workers are often injured and workers comp is there to help them provide for themselves and their loved ones. 

    The process of filing for benefits can be intimidating if you have never had to file for benefits before, and the assistance of an experienced Lancaster job injury lawyer cannot be over-emphasized. It also helps to be familiar with some of the terms that are used in the workers’ comp arena. Following are some of the words and phrases you are likely to hear when you file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. 

    Alternative Work

    You may hear this phrase used when you are no longer able to perform your previous job duties but you are able to perform a different job. This is allowed when the alternative work complies with any medical limitations or restrictions as determined by a medical professional. 

    Appeal Board

    If the workers’ comp judge (WCJ) decides against you, you may have your appeal heard by the appeals board. Your Lancaster job injury lawyer will help you comply with the requirements to ensure your appeal is timely and well-supported.

    Arising Out Of and Occurring In The Course of Employment (AOE/COE)

    If your workers’ comp claim is denied, it may be because your injury does not comply with the AOE/COE requirement which states that a work-related injury, death, or illness must arise out of and occur in the course of employment. For example, if you are a receptionist but decide to show your co-workers how you can do a cartwheel, and you break your arm while doing that cartwheel, your injury would not be covered by workers’ compensation.

    Average Weekly Wage (AWW)

    Generally speaking, injured employees receive ⅔ of their average weekly wage while they are unable to work. This may be different in cases where the injured party died or suffered a permanent injury. 

    Benefit Structure

    The benefits an injured worker receives may include various components, including compensation, rehabilitation, and medical expenses. It is defined by the workers’ compensation insurance policy.

    Delay Letter

    When delays occur in the workers’ comp process, the administrator will send a delay letter with an explanation of what the delay has occurred. This letter may also state any additional documentation or information that is needed to proceed with the claim. 

    Impairment Rating

    Injured workers are assigned an impairment rating which is based on just how injured they are. This rating is expressed as a percentage, and the percentage assigned to you will affect the amount you are able to receive in benefits. 

    Independent Medical Examination (IME)

    In most cases, you will start by being treated by a physician that has been approved by your employer, although you may be able to switch providers over time. An IME may be requested by the insurer to determine the extent of your injuries and your ability to work. The doctor conducting the IME is not there to treat you but to report back to the insurer on your condition. In most cases, the insurer is able to request an IME every six months. Your Lancaster job injury lawyer will advise you on how often you must have these exams and what to expect. 

    Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

    When it has been medically determined that you have recovered from your injury or illness as much as possible, you are said to have reached MMI.

    Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits

    If your injury has left you partially disabled, and you are not expected to recover from your disability, you may receive PPD benefits. Typically a worker with a PPD is able to perform some type of work, and the amount they receive in benefits is intended to make up the difference in pay from what they previously earned and what they are now able to earn. There is a time limit on how long PPD benefits can be received, and a Lancaster job injury lawyer from Vanasse Law, LLC, can help you determine how much you should receive and for how long. 

    Permanent Total Disability (PTD) Benefits

    If your on-the-job injury has left you unable to with a permanent and total disability, you will typically receive ⅔ of the weekly salary you were receiving prior to the injury, although there is a maximum amount that can be received which is established by the state. However, the amount received may be less than that if you are also receiving Social Security disability benefits. Your Lancaster job injury lawyer can help determine the amount you will receive.

    Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits

    TPD benefits are very similar to PPD benefits, with the exception being that to qualify for TPD benefits it has been determined that you may be able to return to work at some point in the future. 

    Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits

    When your work-related injury or illness has caused you to be unable to work at all, you may be eligible for TTD benefits as soon as one week from the date you were last able to work. While TTD can continue indefinitely, the insurer may request an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE) after 104 weeks. The results of the IRE may cause the type and amount of benefits you receive to change. 

    It is best to speak with a Lancaster job injury lawyer to determine the amount of TTD benefits you are able to receive as the state of Pennsylvania has a formula that is used for this purpose. 

    Speak With a Lancaster Job Injury Lawyer at Vanasse Law, LLC

    If you have been injured while working, don’t hesitate to contact Vanasse Law, LLC, and make an appointment to speak with a Lancaster job injury lawyer. We are a Pennsylvania law firm devoted to helping injured workers recover the workers’ compensation benefits they are due. We may be reached by calling 717-397-1010 or via our contact page.

    Reasons Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits May Be Terminated & What Happens Next

    For injured and ill workers in Pennsylvania, receiving workers’ comp benefits is often essential to their ability to pay their bills and support themselves and their families. This is why it is so detrimental that they retain these benefits as long as they are able. So, what are the reasons why injured workers in Pennsylvania can lose their hard-won workers’ compensation benefits? Our Lancaster workplace accident attorney explains some of the more common reasons below.  

    Reasons for Termination

    Medical Services

    Receiving a favorable decision regarding your workers’ comp claim does not mean that your obligations to comply with medical treatment have ended. On the contrary, workers’ comp mandates that you continue to attend your doctors’ appointments and comply with doctors’ orders. Workers’ compensation is intended to assist you in paying your medical bills and having an income while you recover and heal. Therefore, failure to comply with the instructions of your healthcare professionals can result in the termination of your benefits. 

    Criminal Conviction

    In Pennsylvania, a criminal conviction that results in time spent in incarceration can result in the termination of workers’ comp benefits. 

    You Return to Work 

    As the goal of workers’ compensation is to provide you with a source of income and medical expenses, if you are able to return to work and earn at least as much as you were earning when the illness or injury occurred, your workers’ comp benefits will terminate. Any medical costs that are incurred due to the work-related injury or illness should still be covered, however.   

    You Agree to a Lump Sum Payment

    Insurance companies sometimes offer a one-time lump sum payment to injured workers in lieu of their workers’ comp benefit payments. Whether or not you should accept this lump sum is a matter to be addressed with your Lancaster workplace accident attorney.

    You Die

    If you die, and your death is not related to the injury or illness for which you have been receiving workers’ compensation benefits, the benefits will end. If you die for reasons related to your on-the-job illness or injury, your family may still be able to receive survivor benefits. Whether or not your family will be able to receive these benefits is a question for your Lancaster workplace accident attorney

    What To Do If Your Benefits May Be Terminated

    Your employer should file a Petition to Terminate, Modify, or Suspend if they decide to terminate your workers’ comp benefits. As soon as you receive this petition, you should contact your Lancaster workplace accident attorney as there are typically deadlines for your response, and these deadlines may be very soon. Your lawyer will know how to proceed to help you retain the benefits you need. 

    You should also receive a Notice of Assignment that informs you who the judge (WCJ) will be in your case, as well as instructions regarding the filing of your answer. It is important that you ensure your Lancaster workplace accident attorney receives this notice as well. 

    Importance of Hiring a Lancaster Workplace Accident Attorney

    It is possible you will need to go through litigation to fight for your workers’ comp benefits, and when this happens, the abilities of your attorney can make a huge impact on the outcome of your case. Speaking with a Lancaster workplace accident attorney at Vanasse Law, LLC can help put your mind at ease and support your ability to maintain your benefits.

    If you are worried that you will not be able to afford a lawyer to help you retain your benefits, rest assured that we work on a contingency basis, which means you do not pay us anything upfront. Contact our firm to learn more about how we are paid and how we can help support your case. 

    Consult With Medical Professionals

    When the pending termination of your benefits is based on the opinion of the employer’s doctor that you are able to return to work, it is important that you seek the opinion of your own physician. It is best to fight the opinion of the employer’s doctor with the opinion of another physician. If your doctor agrees with you that you are not yet ready to return to work, a judge can hear the case and make a decision regarding your benefits.   

    Next Steps

    You will typically have the opportunity to submit to mediation to settle the petition. Mediation will likely be between you, your employer, and your employer’s insurance carrier. All parties are encouraged to reach a settlement, however, if a settlement is not able to be reached, the parties will attend one or more hearings. The exact number of hearings will vary based on the WCJ assigned, the evidence that needs to be collected, and the basis for the petition. It is likely that you will need to testify at some point in the process.   

    Your lawyer will be instrumental in advising you during this time and ensuring your case is progressing as it should. They will notify you when you will need to testify and help you to be prepared to give your testimony. Your attorney will also attend the depositions of any physicians that are testifying in your case. There should be at least two doctors giving testimony, your physician and the doctor for the employer. 

    Appeals

    Even if the WCJ decides against you, you still have the right to appeal. However, you will not receive any benefits from workers’ comp unless and until the WCJ’s decision is reversed. 

    Consult With A Lancaster Workplace Accident Attorney From Vanasse Law, LLC 

    If you are in jeopardy of losing your workers’ comp benefits, or you have already had your workers’ comp benefits terminated, consult with a Lancaster workplace accident attorney at Vanasse Law, LLC. We have the experience and skills needed to help you retain the benefits you need to support yourself and those you love. We may be reached via our contact page.

    What Qualifies as a Permanent Partial Disability for Workers’ Comp

    When you are injured on the job, you could be eligible for benefits through workers’ compensation, a form of insurance that employers carry for coverage when their workers are injured on the job. Following your injury, workers’ compensation benefits present a form of wage replacement in addition to coverage for medical costs during the time required to recover from your injury. 

    Workers’ compensation benefits are generally meant to provide a short-term solution for an employee who is injured at work but will eventually be capable of returning to work in some form. When complete recovery happens, ongoing workers’ compensation is not possible, however, if your injuries impact your ability to work at a job that pays as well as before the injury, partial disability may be available to you. 

    For help identifying what benefits you could be entitled to and to make the most of your claim with the help of an experienced PA workers’ compensation attorney who helps you every step of the way, connect with Vanasse Law, LLC below, and read on to learn more. 

    How Does PA Define Disability and Partial Disability? 

    Permanent partial disability is an injury that results in impairment that falls under the threshold to be found disabled. Under law published through the PA Department of Labor and Industry, for an adult to be found disabled and qualify for related benefits, you must be “unable to do any substantial work because of your medical condition(s),” with the state adding the emphasis there. If an injured person is able to perform some level of substantial work, then permanent partial disability may be available. 

    The PA DOLI clarifies that partial disability benefits are paid: 

    • When an employee returns to work
    • Or the employee is deemed to be capable to perform currently available work as determined by an agreement or the decision of a Judge 
    • The wages paid are lower than the employee’s earnings prior to the injury 

    How Does Permanent Partial Disability Help? 

    When your injuries do not qualify you for long-term disability benefits as you have recovered enough to return to work in a different and lower-earning capacity, Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) may be available to make up the difference. The PA DOLI notes that the maximum period of payment is 500 weeks, however, they are not required to be consecutive or back-to-back. 

    The compensation rate from the date of the injury is two-thirds of the difference between the employee’s average weekly wage and the average weekly wage of the employee after their return to work. In total, permanent parietal disability in addition to the different earnings when you have returned to work cannot be higher than what you were earning prior to the injury. 

    Connect with a PA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer from Vanasse Law, LLC 

    To learn how an experienced local workers’ comp attorney from Vanasse Law can help you navigate the complex process of proving your permanent partial disability and collecting the full compensation you deserve, visit our site to schedule your free initial consultation.

    Permanent Impairment Benefits v. Disfigurement Benefits for Workers’ Compensation Injuries

    Experiencing a life-altering, long-term injury while working to support yourself and your family can not only result in a permanent change in your ability to earn but also in long-term medical costs and changes in your quality of life. The purpose of filing a claim or case for your work-related injuries is to cover the costs and damages linked to your injuries, and when they result in impairment or disfigurement, the amount can be substantial. 

    Exploring options on your case with an experienced PA workers’ compensation lawyer from Vanasse Law, LLC through a free initial consultation is a useful way to frame expectations on your case, and read on to learn more about the differences between benefits for permanent impairment or disfigurement, as you’ll see they are complementary and collected separately and in addition to one another. 

    Permanent Impairment Benefits are Paid Through Partial or Complete Disability 

    The primary aspect of your injury settlement claim will generally be for the medical and occupational costs linked to your injuries. The PA Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD) is the state agency that works with the Social Security Administration to determine whether PA citizens who are disabled are entitled to federal disability benefits. 

    Under PA law, for an adult to be found to be disabled: 

    • They must be unable to do any substantial work due to a medical condition, and
    • The medical condition must have lasted, or be expected to last, for at least one year or expected to result in the death of the injured 

    Your case and claim are supported by collected evidence that would be admissible in court to measure your damages, something your workers’ compensation attorney helps you take care of. 

    Disfigurement Benefits are Paid In Addition to Disability Benefits 

    One of the most important facts to note about disfigurement benefits in Pennsylvania is that they are paid in addition to and separately from any disability benefits you might be entitled to and/or already collecting. Generally, it will be the for-profit insurance company of your employer responding to your request through their attorneys. 

    The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry clarifies the following in reference to disfigurement benefits: 

    • They are paid for a serious, permanent, and unsightly disfigurement
    • To the heat, face, or neck area 
    • Are available for a term of 1 to 275 weeks 
    • There is no PA-law-determined amount to be paid 
    • An “Agreement Form” between the injured employee and the employer and/or their insurance provider is filed to collect the benefits 

    Connect with a PA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer from Vanasse Law, LLC 

    If you have been injured on the job and are working on measuring the damages you are entitled to for disability and/or disfigurement or are already collecting disability and would like to collect the disfigurement benefits you are entitled to, we can help. To learn how an experienced local workers’ compensation attorney from Vanasse Law can advocate for the fullest coverage for your work-related injuries possible, visit our site to schedule your free initial consultation.

    Can I Get Workers’ Comp Benefits After Being Terminated in Pennsylvania

    If you have been terminated from your job but believe you are entitled to workers’ compensation, the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys at Vanasse Law, LLC have helped employees successfully complete the difficult and often stressful process of getting the workers’ compensation benefits to which they are entitled. Our team is here to answer any questions you might have.

    Can An Employer Fire an Employee Because of an Injury? 

    The state of Pennsylvania is one that has an “at-will” employment system in place. This means that an employee is free to leave employment at will or at any given time without reason. At the same time, employers are also able to do the same — they can release an employee at any given time. While generally, no reason is necessary, in some situations, an improper reason can be used as grounds to recover compensation. 

    Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Stop If I Am Terminated? 

    Whether or not your termination was proper or improper, an employer is not able to escape their obligations to an injured employee by terminating them after the injury. According to Pennsylvania law, workers’ compensation benefits are not meant to stop as a result of the injured employee being terminated or laid off from employment.  

    What this means is that the insurance provider of your now former employer is obligated to continue paying you any benefits that were awarded, including wage loss and medical benefits. Ceasing your relationship with an employer after experiencing an injury that qualifies you for workers’ compensation coverage does not entitle an insurer to stop paying your benefits. 

    Who Determines When or If I Can Return to Work? 

    If you feel pressure to return to work, or your compensation was based on a refusal to do so, note that only doctors can determine your suitability for work. Contact a workers ‘compensation attorney if you are being pushed to return to work or to accept partial disability for injuries that might qualify you for complete injuries. 

    How Can a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help? 

    It is important to understand that insurance companies do not work for injured persons; they work for profit, which is made by maximizing revenues and minimizing costs. Insurance companies deny or reduce claims to increase profits, and oftentimes, their teams of attorneys and claim analysts can be too much to handle on your own when you are trying to recover from your injuries. If your benefits have been wrongfully denied, stopped, or reduced, a PA workers’ compensation attorney can help. 

    Get Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Today 

    To learn how one of the PA workers’ compensation attorneys at Vanasse Law can help you navigate the complexities of your case, visit our site to schedule your free initial consultation

    When preparing for your consultation, it is helpful to gather as much information as you can about your injury, the related costs, and why your benefits are being targeted or have been declined. We’ll review the key data about your case, and if it is something we can help you with, we will discuss how our attorney-client relationship will work. 

    Can You Be Disqualified from Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Pennsylvania?

    Through the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, employers are generally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to compensate employees who are injured on the job. These benefits are available for most work-related injuries and illnesses that happen while on the job or performing job-related duties. 

    If an employer fails to carry the workers’ compensation insurance required by law, employees who are injured can file lawsuits against them, and the employer can face not only state fines but also criminal prosecution. 

    While most injuries and illnesses that occur at work are covered, there are ways that you can be disqualified. A local PA workers’ compensation attorney from Vanasse Law, LLC is available to review your unique situation and negotiate the best outcome on your behalf with your employer or their insurance company. 

    Reasons for Disqualification from Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Pennsylvania 

    Injuries that qualify will ensure that you receive coverage for your medical costs linked to your on-the-job injury, as well as lost wages. However, reasons you may be disqualified and unable to collect benefits include the following. 

    Intentionally Causing Your Injury 

    Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means that you are able to collect without having to prove that your employer was at fault or even that you did not contribute to your injury. However, if you intentionally caused the injury and your employer can prove this, you’ll be disqualified from receiving any coverage or benefits. 

    Intentional Intoxication While Working 

    Employees whose injuries were caused due to the use of illegal drugs and/or alcohol, or the intentional improper use of prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, will be disqualified from workers’ compensation benefits. However, please note that your employer has the burden of proving that your workplace injury was caused by such intentional intoxication. 

    Failure to Report Your Injury Sufficiently or Timely 

    Generally, employees must notify an employer of a work injury within 120 days by providing the required information and seeking the necessary medical attention; otherwise, the claim can be barred. To ensure timely reporting, employees are recommended to report their injuries within 21 days. 

    Alleging the Injury Happened Outside of Work or Challenging Your Status as an Employee 

    To escape liability, employers or insurance companies have been known to claim that an employee’s injuries happened outside of work or that the employee was an independent contractor who was not protected by workers’ compensation. These defenses are complex, and our workers’ compensation attorney can help advocate for your best interests. 

    Connect with a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Protect Your Benefits 

    To learn how the dedicated workers’ compensation lawyers from Vanasse Law, LLC can help you overcome any challenges to your benefits that could disqualify you, visit our site to schedule your free initial consultation.

    Workers’ Compensation: What Are Scarring and Disfigurement Claims?

    Being injured on the job is one of the last things that you expect or hope to happen when you are working to support yourself and your family. While immediate medical care may address any threatening injuries, those that result in permanent scarring, disfigurement, and disability can be especially impactful. 

    If you’ve experienced life-altering, long-term injuries on the job, workers’ compensation provides you with the money you need to cover the costs and damages associated with your injury. When it comes to scarring and disfigurement, there are specific damages that your PA workers’ compensation lawyer can help you identify, measure, and collect. 

    Permanent Disfigurement is Defined by PA Statute 

    Through rules published by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, disfigurement benefits are those that are paid when there is a serious, permanent, unsightly disfigurement to the head, face, or neck area. Disfigurement benefits are available for a period ranging from 1 week to a maximum of 275 weeks. The PA Dept. of Labor & Industry clarifies that there is no set payment amount for disfigurement benefits, noting that an agreement properly recorded through an agreement form between the employee and employer and/or their insurance carrier is necessary to determine the amount. 

    Negotiating what your disfigurement benefits are worth and how long you should be entitled to receive them can be difficult when trying to recover from your injury. With a skilled Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer from Vanasse Law, LLC by your side, we’ll handle the entire process on your behalf. 

    What Kind of Compensation is Available for Scarring and/or Disfigurement? 

    If your injuries have led to long-term changes in your appearance due to scarring and other causes, you may be eligible for disfigurement benefits. Disfigurement benefits are generally paid as an additional element of your compensation beyond the temporary and/or permanent disability benefits that you may already be receiving following your workplace injury. 

    Accepting a Settlement Prevents Any Further Recovery of Damages 

    It is important to understand that accepting a settlement from the insurance company is a final amount and equates to the end of your ability to collect any additional compensation. Insurance companies make more money when they pay injured persons less, so offers of settlement are often for much less than you deserve. 

    Your PA workers’ compensation attorney helps you collect the evidence you need to accurately and completely measure your damages so that you and your family aren’t left covering costs linked to your injuries in the future. 

    Discuss Your Case with a PA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer 

    To learn how an experienced workers’ compensation attorney from Vanasse Law can help you navigate your disfigurement claim or initial workers’ compensation claim after your injury, visit our site to schedule your free initial consultation.

    What You Need to Know About Workers’ Compensation and Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania

    Medical marijuana has provided a preferable alternative to pharmaceutical drugs for a variety of patients in Pennsylvania. The options available to persons who are experiencing chronic pain and a variety of other medical conditions in the United States were, as recently as the late 20th century, limited largely to opioids, muscle relaxers, injections, and a broad range of other drugs and treatments. These pharmaceutical drugs and treatments often have negative side effects and can lead to life-destroying opioid addictions. 

     

    If you have been injured on the job and mandatory drug testing revealed the presence of marijuana in your system, you may encounter difficulty collecting the benefits you need to cover the costs and damages linked to your injuries. Connecting with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who knows how to navigate the legal complexities surrounding medical marijuana will support the best outcome in your claim. 

    While Medical Marijuana is Legal Under PA Law, It Remains Illegal Federally

    Medical marijuana is governed by the PA Department of Health, which was signed into state law in 2016 to “provide access to medical marijuana for patients with a serious medical condition.” Despite the fact that a number of states have legalized medical marijuana in addition to variations on recreational markets that resemble alcohol, the Marijuana Policy Project notes that marijuana remains federally illegal. 

    Insurance Companies May Reduce or Deny Claims Based on Violation of Federal Law

    Insurance companies may refer to federal legislation when attempting to deny or reduce the claims of injured persons who are found to be using federally illegal substances that may have led to them being “intoxicated” when the injury happened. 

    THC Lingers in the Body After the Intoxicating Effect Has Subsided

    While medical marijuana might provide patients with legal treatment options, it is also important to understand that THC is different from alcohol in terms of measuring active levels in the body. While a blood or breath test can determine if an individual is chemically intoxicated by alcohol and a variety of other substances, marijuana lingers in the system for days or even weeks after the intoxicating effect has subsided. To collect on your workers’ compensation claim, it is essential to prove that you were not intoxicated by medical cannabis at the time of the accident. Working with an attorney familiar with navigating this complex process successfully can be extremely helpful for your claim. 

    Discuss Your Workers’ Compensation Case with an Experienced Lawyer

    To learn how an experienced local attorney from Vanasse Law can help you navigate the complex interrelationship between workers’ compensation claims and medical marijuana use, visit our site to schedule your free initial consultation. We’ll go over the important information about your accident and injury and determine what your case might be worth and how we can help if it’s a claim that fits with our focused and dedicated firm.

    Tips to Prepare for Your Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Deposition

    When you’ve been injured on the job in Pennsylvania and filed for the workers’ compensation benefits you are owed, it is possible that the insurer will request that you submit to a deposition. A deposition is testimony that is given under oath and can be used as evidence in your workers’ comp case. Counsel for the insurer will ask you questions related to your claim, and your ability to recover the compensation you are seeking can depend greatly on your answers. Because of this, the importance of being prepared cannot be overstressed. Following are some tips from our Lancaster hurt at work lawyers on being prepared for a workers’ compensation deposition. 

    Know Your Timeline

    The attorney for the insurer will ask you questions about events leading up to the accident, the accident itself, and events that have occurred since the accident. It is important that you know the facts of what happened and when they happened. Before the deposition, look at all the documents and evidence available to you and write down important dates and events, then commit these facts to memory. The counsel for the insurer may attempt to trip you up so that you will appear confused or that you are being intentionally false. Having a clear timeline committed to memory will help you stay focused and able to clearly and correctly answer the questions you are asked during the deposition. 

    Stick to the Facts and Do Not Speculate

    Being injured and having to go through a deposition to receive the funds you are owed is extremely frustrating, and it is natural to want to be sure your story is heard in full. However, during a deposition is not the time to elaborate or speculate on what happened to you. When you are asked a question, answer it in a straightforward and clear manner. Do not embellish, speculate, or offer more than what has been asked. Keep your answers simple. When asked a “yes” or “no” question, answer verbally either “yes” or “no.” No further explanation is needed or wanted. 

    You may feel that you are unable to fully express your side of the story when you are forced to give such a direct answer. Keep in mind before the deposition is over, your lawyer will be able to ask you questions. This will be your opportunity to set straight any matter you, or your lawyer, feel has not been properly addressed.  

    Know the People & Process

    Much of the nervousness brought on by a deposition can be mitigated by being familiar with the deposition process and the people that will be present. While all depositions may vary to a certain degree, in most cases your attorney will ask you questions first. Then, the attorney for the insurer will ask you questions. After that, one of your Lancaster hurt at work lawyers may ask you more questions. In truth, the attorneys may go back and forth several times. 

    The people at the deposition are generally:

    • Injured worker (you)
    • Attorney for the injured worker (your lawyer)
    • Attorney for the insurer
    • Court reporter

    Dress Appropriately & Remain Calm

    A deposition does not typically occur in a courtroom, but it is a legal proceeding and the testimony taken there is admissible in a court of law. Therefore, it is best to approach the deposition with a serious and respectful attitude. Your attire should be business casual, and your demeanor should be calm and courteous. 

    Your credibility will have a substantial impact on how your case proceeds. If you appear to be truthful and reasonable, the odds are in your favor. Also, there may be times during the deposition when you feel you are close to losing your composure. When this occurs, you are allowed to ask for a break so that you have a minute or two to calm your nerves before continuing with the deposition.

    Have One of Our Lancaster Hurt at Work Lawyers Represent You

    Being deposed means being asked questions by the attorney for the insurance company. You can rest assured that their attorney will know the law and will be attempting to settle your claim for as little as possible. The last thing you want to do is go through this process without one of your own Lancaster hurt at work lawyers representing your interests and helping you obtain the benefits you deserve. Your lawyer will help you by:

    • Asking you questions before the deposition so you will be prepared when they are asked at the deposition. 
    • Objecting when an inappropriate or illegal question is asked by opposing counsel. As a layperson, you will likely not know when a question should be objected to. 
    • Helping all parties stay focused and professional. Tensions can escalate during a deposition, and your attorney can help ensure attention stays on the issues that matter and everyone keeps on track. 
    • Asking you questions to be certain a complete and accurate picture of what happened to you is presented. There may be issues that are unclear after opposing counsel questions you, and your attorney can remedy that with their line of questioning. 
    • Making certain you understand the deposition process and what is happening every step of the way. It is likely you will have questions, and your attorney will be able to answer those for you. 
    • Deterring inappropriate conduct. Sometimes, just the actual presence of your lawyer is enough to deter opposing counsel from asking certain questions or using intimidation tactics against you. 

    Speak with One Of Our Lancaster Hurt at Work Lawyers

    Receiving the compensation you deserve after being hurt on the job shouldn’t be difficult. Unfortunately, it often is. The good news is that you don’t have to do battle alone. One of our Lancaster hurt at work lawyers at Vanasse Law, LLC, can guide you every step of the way to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact our firm today to learn more.