Injured at Work?
I got hurt at work. Now I can’t do my job and I can’t pay my bills. An insurance company keeps calling. What do I do?
Every day we hear from people who were injured on the job. They might have fallen on a wet floor, suffered a repetitive motion injury, had something hit them on the head, cut themselves badly with a tool, or suffered any of numerous kinds of workplace injuries. It is always unfortunate when someone is injured, but, fortunately, if you are injured at work, you have a right to benefits that can protect you. Those benefits and protections come from the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. But it is important to keep in mind, your chances of obtaining fair benefits are greatly improved by retaining a specialist in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law, such as Jim Mogul*.
What are Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
The benefits provided to injured workers are meant to protect you financially. Available benefits include:
- Lost wages. These benefits are available if you are partially or totally disabled. How much you can received depends on a variety of circumstances. In Pennsylvania the wages are normally around 2/3 of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum. That maximum changes each year.
- Medical care. If you suffer a work-related illness or injury, you are entitled to receive payment for all reasonable surgical and medical care. This includes medicine, hospitalization, orthopedic appliances and other related items, for as long as they are necessary.
- Death benefits. If you lost a loved one as a result of a work accident or work-related injury, and you meet certain requirements, you may be eligible for benefits.
- Specific loss benefits. These benefits are provided if you lose all or part of a certain part of your body, for example part of your thumb, finger or hand. They are also available if you suffered sight or hearing loss, or suffered a permanent and serious disfigurement on your head, face or neck.
What Should you do if you Suffer an Injury on the Job?
If you are injured at work, or injured while doing something for work, there are several steps you should take to protect yourself and your rights.
- Notify your employer. If your injury is not an emergency, and you are able to do so, you should notify your employer immediately upon suffering a work-related injury. If you are in an emergency situation, you should notify your employer as soon as possible. Failure to notify your employer in a timely fashion can have very serious consequences for your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim.
- Seek medical attention. You should seek medical attention for your injury immediately. If you are injured but do not seek medical attention, you will have great difficulty proving that you were hurt at work.
- Be careful signing forms. You will be required to sign two forms. They are the Employee Verification form and the Authorization for Medical Records. You might be asked to sign additional forms. Be careful to read any form you are asked to sign, and do not sign any forms that limit or terminate your rights.You are best off consulting a workmans’ comp lawyer before you sign any forms other than the verification and the authorization.
What Kinds of Work Injuries are Eligible for Benefits?
Virtually any kind of work injury is eligible for workmans’ compensation benefits. In addition, even if you are not physically at work, you might be eligible for benefits if you were acting in the “work and scope of your employment.” For example, if you are traveling specifically for work and are in a car accident, you might be eligible for benefits. Keep in mind, traveling for work does not include your traditional commute to and from your office. The best way to determine your eligibility is to speak to our workers’ compensation attorneys.
Some of the more common kind of work injuries that are eligible for benefits include:
How Will Your Workers Comp Lawyer Seek Benefits For You?
If you are injured, your employer should work with you to begin the claims process. If your injury is minor, as long as your employer cooperates, the claims process and payment for any medical expenses should be relatively straight forward. If your employer does not cooperate and refuses to file a claim for you, you should contact a work injury lawyer immediately to protect your rights.
If you suffer a major injury, you are best off contacting an attorney as soon as you are able. Remember, it will be an insurance company which will be handling your workers’ compensation claim. And insurance companies are not well known for paying out large sums of money.
What if My Benefits are Terminated?
If you are told to return to work before you are able, or your benefits are terminated before you feel they should be, you should immediately contact our Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers to discuss your rights. The same holds true if your insurance company or employer informs you that it is seeking to terminate your benefits. You also should contact a lawyer if your employer sends you to an IME (independent medical exam.)
What if the Insurance Company Denies a Claim?
While it is very upsetting to have a claim denied when you know you were hurt while doing your job, it is not uncommon for this to occur. Claim denials are one of the reasons it is important to involve a work accident lawyer early after you have suffered a work-related injury. If your claim has been denied, you will need to go through an appeals process. The appeal will require that you visit medical experts. There will be experts that support your claim and most likely, experts that will support the insurance company. You will need a top notch worker compensation lawyer to deal with the medical experts and to prepare your case for the judge.
Should I Retain an Attorney for my Case?
The workers’ compensation system can be quite complex. There are many traps for the unwary. Insurance companies will often seek to terminate benefits long before the injured person is able to work, seeking to minimize the financial cost of the injury. Nurse case managers from the insurance company will claim they are seeking to help you, while they are really looking for excuses to terminate your benefits. Injured workers are normally required to see supposedly independent doctors, who are often biased in favor of the insurance company. As a result, if you are seriously injured you could find yourself facing termination of your benefits or a substantially lower lump sum payment than you should receive. Given this, it is always wise to consult a work comp lawyer early on in your case. It won’t cost you any money to consult with our firm, and you will only end up with a fee if it becomes necessary for us to intercede on your behalf. Should we need to step in, you won’t have any fee unless we are able to help you.
Our Team is Lead by Jim Mogul, a Certified Specialist*
James B. Mogul personally directs each and every workers’ compensation case at Lowenthal & Abrams. Jim is a hands on advocate who gets results because he does the work himself. Jim will sit down with you, explain your case, and show you how he plans to be successful for you. Then Jim closely manages his top quality team of lawyers and staff to implement his plan to get you the best possible results.
Learn More by Watching Jim Mogul’s Videos.
Contact Us for Help
At Lowenthal & Abrams, P.C., we know that you may not be experienced with the claims process and the filings and appeals that often come with it. Fortunately, we can simplify the process for you by walking you through your case and addressing any confusion or concerns you might have. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your case. Jim Mogul and his team can help you with every step of the case, from filing through appeals. Contact our firm at 888-979-7298 to schedule a time to meet with our team so we can help you begin working through your case today.
*Certified as a Specialist in the Practice of Workers’ Compensation Law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Section on Workers’ Compensation Law as Authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.