An obvious question I am often asked is, “how long does Workers Compensation litigation take in Pennsylvania?” It is a concerning issue for many injured workers because they are either off work with a denied injury or off work and the insurance carrier has accepted the injury, but only for medical purposes, not wage loss. In other words, the injured worker is out of work because of the injury with absolutely no income. Often times an injured worker has no alternative source of income.
In Pennsylvania, a typical time line for workers compensation litigation can extend 8 months to 12 months. I will illustrate why the lengthy time exists.
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Workers Compensation Litigation Timeline
First, from the time you file a claim, it may be 15-45 days before a hearing is scheduled. Depending upon what Judge is assigned to your case, you may or may not testify at the first hearing. I advise my clients on that issue immediately (So there is at minimum 1 month).
After the initial hearing, the Claimant has 90 days to complete his/her medical evidence, which is usually a medical deposition of the treating doctor. The employer then has 90 days thereafter to depose their medical expert, which is the doctor that performed an IME on the injured worker. (So there is at least 6 months for medical evidence portion of the case).
At some point in the middle of this six month medical portion of the case, a status hearing and mediation may be scheduled. Mediation is used to try and settle the claim, and often times, mediation can be successful.
After the medical evidence portion is complete, a final hearing is scheduled where the parties update the Judge on the completion of the medical evidence and at that point the Judge may close the record and issue a briefing calendar. A briefing schedule could require both parties to submit briefs within 30 days, or the Claimant has 30 days to submit his/her brief and the Employer has 30 days thereafter to submit their brief, or Claimant has 30 days to submit their brief and Employer has 15 days thereafter. Procedure really depends on the individual Workers Compensation Judge assigned to your case. (So you can count anywhere between 30-60 days for briefing)
Once briefs are submitted, it may be another 30 to 60 days before the Judge issues a Decision in your case. (So there is another 30-60 days)
That calendar equates to a time line 8 to 13 months. The calendar may depend on the individual Judge assigned to your case. Remember though, not every case goes through the process without hiccups here or there. Trial calendars can and do get backed up for one reason or another.
That is a long time for an injured worker to go without compensation. Unfortunately, it is also a reality.
Count on Mooney
Fortunately, most cases do not go through the entire litigation process. They end up settling out. It is important though that you have an experienced workers compensation attorney on your side that understands the process, can guide you through the process, and understands the appropriate value of your case.
Here at Mooney & Associates, we have recovered millions and have excellent success in winning decisions. We stand by ready to vigorously represent you and protect your Workers Compensation benefits and rights. We represent injured workers throughout Central Pennsylvania with 15 offices statewide, with fully staffed offices in:
Learn more about how Mooney & Associates can assist you in receiving the workers compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a FREE consultation on your case or call us at 717-200-HELP or 1-877-632-4656.