Even the most diligent, safety-conscious employees can suffer a workplace injury, and the process that follows – filing a workers’ compensation claim and seeking treatment – is long, confusing and, sometimes, necessitates the services of a lawyer.
Why do you need a lawyer who specializes in workplace injuries? Simple: Even people with significant injuries who have legitimate Pennsylvania worker’s compensation claims are denied, which may make an appeal necessary.
- So far this year, the U.S. Department of Labor and Industry reports that there have been 1,030 workman’s compensation claims were approved.
- And so far this year, the agency reports that 1,683 Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claims were denied.
If your Pennsylvania worker’s compensation claim is denied, you will receive information about your right to appeal when your determination is mailed to you. Workers’ Compensation determinations may be appealed – first to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, and then, if necessary, to Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.
It should be noted that an injured worker may absolutely represent him or herself throughout the workers’ compensation claim appeals process. It should be further noted that a non-attorney may not represent an injured worker in these proceedings, but that a lawyer may be retained to represent your interests.
There is then the question that many injured workers facing a workers’ compensation appeal ask themselves: Do I really need a lawyer?
Even the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry notes on its website that it is usually a prudent idea.
“You should be aware that WC litigation is complex, and your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier will be represented by an experienced attorney,” the agency warned on its website.
If you decide that you need the services of a lawyer who is experienced in the realms of workplace injuries and workers’ compensation claims and appeals.
When seeking out a Pittsburgh workplace injury attorney or workers’ compensation lawyer, keep these thoughts in mind:
- Most experienced, legitimate lawyers focusing on workplace injuries will offer a free consultation to discuss your case.
- When you go to the consultation, be sure you take all of your supporting documentation. This means that you must take more than just the paperwork you received regarding your workers’ compensation determination. A lawyer will want to see any injury reports, police reports, investigative reports and medical paperwork that you may have. Remember: It is better to error on the side of too much information than not enough information.
- Be sure to discuss how fees and costs will be billed and how they will be paid. It should be noted that the fee agreement between you and your lawyer will need to be approved by the workers’ compensation judge or the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board.
Like many legal and appeals proceedings, an injured worker who is navigating the workers’ compensation system should be aware that there are often strict deadlines by which information must be received and paperwork filed.
If you want to appeal the workers’ compensation determination or believe you have a legal claim, it is in your best interest to call an attorney whose practice is focused on workplace injuries and workers’ compensation claims and appeals sooner rather than later to ensure any associated deadlines are met.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a workplace accident and has had his or her Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim denied and are in need of legal help navigating the appeals process, call the Pittsburgh workplace injury attorney at Pribanic & Pribanic today to schedule a free initial consultation by calling 412-672-5444 or toll-free at 800-392-4529.