If you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident, our attorneys can help you receive the benefits you need to remain financially secure following the accident. We can help you file a claim with the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation program and determine whether you are entitled to compensation beyond these benefits.
In addition to successfully bringing workers’ compensation claims, our attorneys in Philadelphia have also helped injured clients collect Social Security Disability benefits and file lawsuits against third parties who contributed to their workplace accidents. Morgan & Morgan has more than 25 years of experience helping injured workers receive the benefits they deserve. To find out how we can help you, contact us today.
How an Attorney Can Help You After a Workplace Accident
File the Workers’ Compensation Claim: To qualify for workers compensation, you must report the injury to your employer within 21 days of the accident. In preparing your claim, your attorney will obtain and review all relevant medical documents to help demonstrate the full extent of your injuries. Your lawyer will use this information to complete all required paperwork and documentation while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
Ensure You Receive the Correct Diagnosis: In Pennsylvania, injured workers may be required to undergo an independent medical examination (“IME”). The purpose of the IME is to evaluate the extent of your injuries and determine if they were caused in part by work-related activity. If your employer or its insurance company has scheduled you for an independent medical examination, you should immediately contact an attorney.
The insurance company usually selects and pays the doctor who performs the IME. These doctors have an incentive to downplay or minimize the injured workers’ medical condition so that the insurance company will continue using them. If the doctor performing the IME does not provide you with the correct diagnosis, your attorney may submit medical evidence provided by another doctor to contradict any incorrect findings in the IME. Our attorneys may also work with medical experts to evaluate your injuries and use this medical evidence to make sure you receive the correct amount of compensation.
Determine If You Can Obtain Additional Compensation: Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system, meaning that workers who are injured on the job may receive benefits regardless of who caused the accident, even if the worker was partially at fault. In exchange, injured workers cannot sue their employers. In some cases, however, our attorneys may be able to sue another company or individual whose careless or negligent conduct contributed to the accident or occupational disease. For example, if a toxic chemical or defective piece of equipment contributed to your injuries, our workers’ compensation attorneys may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
File an Appeal: Workers’ compensation claims in Philadelphia are sometimes denied for the wrong reasons. For example, your company or its insurance carrier may claim that you are not fully disabled even when you are. If your claim for benefits has been denied, our attorneys may be able to file an appeal.
As part of the appeals process, your attorney may represent you at a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. During the hearing, your lawyer may present medical evidence and expert testimony regarding your injuries. In addition, we represent injured workers whose benefits were wrongfully reduced or terminated. If you are not awarded workers’ compensation benefits following the hearing, your attorney may file an appeal in Pennsylvania state court.
What Types of Benefits Can I Recover?
Medical Benefits: Workers’ compensation in Philadelphia provides medical benefits for:
- Hospital and doctor bills
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses
- Prescription drugs
- Travel expenses relating to necessary medical treatment
Wage Loss Benefits: Benefits for lost wages are approximately two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage (up to certain limits). Wage loss benefits may be partially offset by Social Security benefits, severance pay or other earnings the worker receives while disabled. Your employer must begin paying wage-loss benefits within 21 days of when the company has learned that that accident occurred. Injured workers may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits and our attorneys can help you apply for these benefits as well.
Total Disability: An injured worker may qualify for total disability benefits status if he or she is unable to perform any type of work because of the workplace injury. Workers who are totally disabled receive benefits for life, but after two years of receiving benefits, your employer or its insurance carrier may require you to undergo an independent medical exam to confirm that you are still at least 50 percent impaired and therefore unable to return to work.
Partial Disability: Partial disability benefits are given to employees who have suffered an injury but are expected to be able to return to work at some point in the future. In Philadelphia, injured workers are eligible to receive up to 500 weeks of partial disability benefits. You may qualify for these benefits if you can return to work at a lower paying job, but are unable to complete the higher-paying job duties that you performed before the accident.
Specific Loss Benefits: Specific loss benefits provide compensation for the amputation or permanent loss of certain body parts, as well as for disfigurement, loss of hearing or loss of vision. These benefits provide a preset dollar amount based on the specific type of injury the worker suffered and are awarded even if the individual has the ability to return to work.
Death Benefits: The survivors of a deceased worker may qualify for weekly compensation benefits, as well as a burial expense allowance of $3,000. Weekly benefits may be paid to the deceased employee’s spouse, children or other individual who was financially dependent on the deceased worker. Subject to the statewide maximum compensation rate, a widow or widower without children may receive 50 percent of the deceased employee’s wages; a widow or widower with one child may receive 60 percent of the employee’s wages; and a widow or widower with two or more children may receive 66 2/3 percent of the employee’s wages. Benefits paid to a child may continue until the child is 23 years of age if the child is enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited institution of higher learning. Otherwise, the benefits cease when the child turns 18.
Federal Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Federal workers’ compensation programs provide benefits to certain categories of employees in Pennsylvania, such as civilian employees of the federal government, postal workers, railroad workers, longshoremen and harbor workers. The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) oversees four disability compensation programs that provide wage replacement benefits, medical benefits and vocational rehabilitation. Our attorneys can determine if you qualify for federal workers’ compensation benefits and complete the application process for you if you are eligible.
Can I Be Retaliated Against for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for seeking benefits through Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation program. If the company attempts to retaliate against you in any way, your attorney may file a lawsuit against the company and seek a court order requiring your employer to stop any retaliatory conduct immediately.
How Much Does a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Cost?
Morgan & Morgan’s worker compensation attorneys only receive a fee if we are able to obtain compensation for you and that fee is a percentage of the benefits you are awarded. You pay nothing if we are unable to help you qualify for benefits.
If you have questions about the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation program, contact us today. The attorneys in our Philadelphia office may be able to help and the first step is reaching out for free case evaluation.