You’ve been injured on the job, but how do you know your case is worth your time and energy? Will your claim be successful or are you better off paying your medical bills yourself? This shouldn’t be a tough question, but it’s one that many injured workers ask themselves because they don’t understand their rights.
The bottom line is this: in Pennsylvania, workers have the right to collect workers’ compensation benefits when they are injured on the job. It should be that simple, but it often isn’t. Injured workers often feel helpless with no one to help them figure out what their rights are. Employers and workers’ compensation insurers share only what they are required to, which isn’t much. They have to hang an “if you get injured at work” poster and that’s about it.
If you believe your injury is work-related, if you’ve been denied by insurance companies and/or being denied benefits is interfering with your ability to live a full life and get back to work, then you probably have a legitimate workers’ compensation case. No matter what industry you work in – medical, manufacturing, construction, retail, public service – injured workers find themselves in these common situations which might require hiring a workers’ compensation attorney.
Your Workers’ Comp claim was denied.
In some cases, you aren’t given a reason for the denial. Insurance companies know that most people won’t appeal their denied claims. Sometimes they claim you didn’t report your injury on time. Under Pennsylvania law, employees have 180 days to tell their employer about a workplace injury. Employers may admit that you were injured but they don’t think it’s as bad as you claim. Sometimes no one witnessed your injury, and, even if you told multiple coworkers, they’ll find holes in your story and say you are being inconsistent.
You missed Workers’ Compensation deadlines.
One of the biggest reasons for a denied claim is missed deadlines. If you are injured at work, it’s imperative to tell your employer as soon as possible. They are obligated by law to report the claim to their insurance provider in a timely manner, so show good faith and tell them how you’re feeling and what happened as soon as possible. You don’t want them to claim that your injury isn’t that bad and they will argue that if you waited to the last minute then your injury can’t be that bad.
Your Workers’ Comp claim is disputed.
If your employer disputes your claim, your case could be denied right away. They might dispute that the accident happened during work, or that your symptoms don’t match your accident. Unfortunately, employers and insurance companies look for ways to deny claims because less claims means less expenses. If you’ve been injured, don’t wait to see a doctor. Workplace injuries can start as a small pain but lead to something more severe. A doctor should be guiding your health progress, plus, an employer might dispute the severity of your injury if you don’t seek medical treatment right away.
Your statements are inconsistent.
Another of the main reasons why workers’ compensation insurers deny claims is because of discrepancies. For example, your accident report doesn’t match your medical records, you refused to give a statement to the insurance company about the accident, or you filed a claim after being laid off. It may seem obvious, but honesty truly is the best policy.
Your injury was unwitnessed.
Workers’ compensation insurers don’t like unwitnessed injuries but if you get hurt at work and no one witnesses it, there’s not a lot you can do. But you should report it immediately to a co-worker and to your supervisor. Tell everyone you can and tell them the exact same details about how the accident occurred.
Call in an expert.
Each workers’ compensation case is unique. But facts always matter, and there’s always a story to be told. That’s why my consultations are free. They are a time to tell a story. I won’t take the case if I don’t feel like it’s in your best interest. I don’t get paid unless I recover money for you. I expect honesty and I am honest in return. If you feel like your situation is hopeless and no one is supporting you, a certified Workers’ Compensation attorney can often provide clarity.