Many injured workers in Pennsylvania have to go before a Workers Compensation Judge. Many do not. Depends on various factors of your claim.
If you are injured at work and are not missing time from work or your employer and insurance carrier have accepted your claim, at least initially, you may not have to come before a Judge. That does not mean you will not eventually be before a Judge.
If you are injured at work and your claim is denied, then you will have to fight for the benefits you deserve. That process starts with filing a Claim Petition. Once the Claim Petition is filed, it will then be assigned to a Workers Compensation Judge for adjudication of the case. The case is now in litigation and you should immediately seek an experienced workers compensation attorney. You should seek experienced Counsel prior to the filing of the Claim Petition to ensure the claim is properly plead and filed.
Once before the Judge, your claim enters the litigation process. It is important to understand that the process is not short. It is not like unemployment appeals. It is not just one hearing and then a decision. You will testify before the Judge. The employer many have fact witnesses that will testify at a later hearing. You will likely attend an independent medical examination. The case then moves into the medical evidence portion of the case that usually involves the deposition testimony of your doctor and the employer’s IME doctor. You will also be scheduled for mediation to try and resolve your case. It is indeed a complex process, which is why it is imperative that an experienced workers compensation attorney is on your side.
Even if your claim is accepted, many accepted claims eventually end up in litigation. Multiple factors impact the decision the insurance carrier makes to send you to an IME. Often times, an IME doctor will provide an opinion that you can return to work or find you to be fully recovered, regardless of what your doctor believes. Your employer will then file a Suspension or Termination Petition to try and stop your benefits. The filing of these petition directly threatened your benefits. The employer’s petition will be assigned to a Judge and the litigation process will begin. Again, you need an experienced workers compensation attorney on your side.
There are several other ways that your claim may come before a Judge. Many injured workers may wish to settle their case. First, a settlement would have to go before a Judge for approval. Second, an injured worker should never settle their case without an experienced workers compensation attorney who knows and understands the value of claims.
If you are injured at work, don’t risk it. Your benefits are too valuable. Contact Mooney Law today for an absolutely FREE phone or in person consultation. We have 14 offices scattered throughout Central Pennsylvania. Mooney Law has the experience, is proven, and trusted throughout Central Pennsylvania. Call today at 717-200-HELP or 833-MOONEYLAW.