Paula Robinson's Blog for Workers Compensation & Disability

Giving Notice To Your Employer About Your Work Injury

notifying your employer of your work injury

GIVING YOUR EMPLOYER NOTICE OF YOUR WORK INJURY

All types of work can involve potential work injuries, even desk work.  It can be a small injury or a life-altering event.  If you or someone you know has suffered a work-related injury or occupational illness, it has to be reported to the employer.  This means that the work injury has to be reported to a boss, foreman, supervisor, owner of the company, i.e., someone who is in charge and not simply a co-worker.  To help yourself get the financial and medical benefits necessary for your work injury, do not doubt yourself – report your injury.  If you fail to report your work injury, this can and will be used against you.

How and When to Give to your Employer Notice

When you are injured at work in Pennsylvania, give notice to your employer quickly, no matter how small you think your injury is.  It is always good to document the incident, and even take photos of the work place injury scene, so that the facts can be easily recalled at a later date.  You can give notice by oral, text, or written form.

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides that you must give notice to your employer within 21 days from the work injury date.  If no notice is given within 120 days from the date of the injury, then all rights to benefits can be lost.  Help yourself by giving notice as soon as you can.

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Nurses in Pennsylvania Are at a High Risk of Workplace Injuries

nursing work injuries

Nurses in Pennsylvania Are at a High Risk of Workplace Injuries

Nurses working in Pennsylvania’s hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities have a tough job to do. They provide a high level of care to the elderly and sick which can sometimes be detrimental to their own physical well-being.

They also have to see the most graphic and disturbing images. They also have to smell things that are atrocious. They also have to sometimes clean up messes that even some janitors in other settings would say is obscene.

To be a nurse is fraught with stress.

High Injury Rates for PA Healthcare Workers

Nurses as well as other healthcare employees are subject to higher rates of injury that various other worker groups in the US. In fact, in the case of nursing assistants, the rate of workplace injuries is three times that of other workers.

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Construction Workers in Pennsylvania Operate in Hazardous Conditions With a Risk of Severe Injuries

construction work injuries

Construction Workers in Pennsylvania Operate in Hazardous Conditions with a Risk of Severe Injuries

Although Pennsylvania ranks sixth in population, it has the third highest rate of workplace injuries.

Construction workers in PA have a high risk of severe injuries, since their job is highly hazardous. Figures published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that in 2015, the state reported 35 fatalities due to construction accidents.

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Supersedeas Can Effect your Workers’ Comp Benefits

workers compensation petition

WHAT IS SUPERSEDEAS AND HOW CAN THIS AFFECT YOUR PA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS?

You unfortunately had a work injury, but the good news is that your injury has been accepted by the workers’ compensation carrier, and you are receiving wage loss benefits, as well as medical benefits for your work injury.  Before we get to the issue of Supersedeas, at some point, you will receive a notice to attend a one-time examination, referred to as an Independent Medical Examination (IME), which you are required to attend by the workers’ compensation carrier.  Typically, you will be asked to attend these examinations once every six (6) months, as long as you are receiving wage loss benefits for your work injury; it is not a matter of if…..it is a matter of when.

After you have attended the IME with a physician of the workers’ compensation carrier’s choice, you should receive a copy of the IME report, and depending on what that physician said about your medical condition in regards to your work injury and your capability to return to some type of work, a Petition can be filed against you to try and stop your wage loss and/or medical benefits in some fashion.  These Petitions could include a Petition to Modify, Suspend, or Terminate your benefits.

Types of Workers’ Compensation Petitions

MODIFICATION PETITION

Let’s take a minute to understand what each of these Petitions are.  The Modification Petition will usually indicate that you are capable of some type of lighter work.  If this is the case, your employer will be contacted by the workers’ compensation carrier to see if there is work available in that capacity for you to return to and if the answer is “no”, the workers’ compensation carrier can hire a vocational expert to do an Earning Power Assessment/Labor Market Survey to find work generally available in your area that you would be capable of that would pay you wages less than you were earning at your job before your injury.  If the wages at the new available positions would be less than you earned pre-injury, this is referred to as a “modification” of benefits. If a workers’ compensation judge believed that you were capable of working these jobs, then your wage loss benefits could be modified, meaning you would receive less each week in your benefits.

SUSPENSION PETITION

With a Suspension Petition, the same scenario can play out as mentioned above, but if wages would be paid equal to your pre-injury pay, then your wage loss benefits would be “suspended” meaning that you could no longer receive any wage loss benefits, if a workers’ compensation judge believed that you were capable of working those positions.

TERMINATION PETITION

If the IME doctor believes that you are fully recovered from your work injury, then the workers’ compensation carrier will have their lawyer file a Termination Petition against you trying to stop all of your benefits, wage loss and medical.  With a Termination Petition, they don’t have to find any jobs for you to return to, just prove to a workers’ compensation judge that you are capable of doing any type of work, including your pre-injury job. If the assigned judge believes this, then your benefits will totally be terminated.

After a Petition is Filed

After one of these Petitions is filed, it will be assigned to a workers’ compensation judge and scheduled for a first hearing.  At this first hearing, the lawyer for your employer and the workers’ compensation carrier will present evidence of the IME report, a Notice of Ability to Return to Work (which is a Bureau form), and any other evidence they have to help prove their case.  This initial evidence is called “Supersedeas Evidence”, which can be hearsay evidence, not needing someone to testify about it, typically the IME doctor. A request for supersedeas is made by the employer/workers’ compensation carrier lawyer to the judge asking that your wage loss benefits be totally stopped during the litigation process.  Depending on the evidence provided, a judge could choose to grant or deny this request. If the supersedeas request is granted, then your wage loss benefits will come to an end. Please note that the supersedeas decision is not subject to appeal.

If the assigned judge denies the supersedeas request, then you will keep receiving your workers’ compensation checks until such time as you either settle your case, or a judge orders that your benefits be stopped.  If you receive a favorable supersedeas decision but end up losing the case in chief, ie, your benefits are modified, suspended, or terminated, the workers’ compensation carrier can apply for supersedeas fund reimbursement from the PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to get back the monies paid to you from the time that they filed the Petition against you.  You, as the injured worker do not have to be concerned about giving any monies back, as the Supersedeas Fund is there to reimburse the carrier.

If you or a loved one are in any phases of the above scenarios, please contact Robinson Law LLC for guidance and representation.

What is a Workers’ Compensation Statement of Wages?

Workers' Compensation

Understanding Workers’ Compensation Statement of Wages

A Workers’ Compensation Statement of Wages is a document prepared by the Workers’ Compensation Carrier based on your past earnings, the type of employment (seasonal or non-seasonal), and length of employment. Because of these variables, there are various ways to calculate your wage earnings.

The Statement of Wages (SOW) lists the gross income (this is the amount your earn before taxes are deducted from your pay) that you were receiving before your work injury and also lists the workers’ compensation rate that you will receive from the insurance carrier.  

It is important to have a lawyer review your Statement Of Wages to make sure that the workers’ compensation carrier made proper calculations for your earnings.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about workers’ compensation through our Workers’ Comp Wednesdays with Kara Curry on 99.9 The Hawk.  If you or a loved one has a question regarding your work injury or claim I invite you to contact me via phone (215) 530-7166, email or the form to the right.  As a certified workers’ compensation attorney, I am happy to offer free consultations.  – Paula Robinson, Esq.

What is a Modification of Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Workers' Compensation

Understanding a Modification of Workers’ Comp Benefits

A Modification of Workers’ Compensation Benefits is when the Workers’ Compensation Carrier will modify or adjust your wage loss benefits based on your ability to return to work based on an offer of return to work, usually in a light or sedentary capacity, as a result of an IME report or your own Dr. indicating your ability to work.

Usually when you return to light work, you may be earning less that your previous position. This is when the workers’ compensation carrier will adjust or modify your wage loss benefits according to your new pay. This is referred to as Temporary Partial Disability benefits (TPD).

This can get complicated and is also a good time to contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney if you have not already done so to ensure you a receiving the proper pay.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about workers’ compensation through our Workers’ Comp Wednesdays with Kara Curry on 99.9 The Hawk.  If you or a loved one has a question regarding your work injury or claim I invite you to contact me via phone (215) 530-7166, email or the form to the right.  As a certified workers’ compensation attorney, I am happy to offer free consultations.  – Paula Robinson, Esq.

What is a Suspension of Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Workers' Compensation

Understanding a Suspension of Workers’ Comp Benefits

A Suspension of Workers’ Compensation Benefits is when the Workers’ Compensation Carrier tries to stop your wage loss benefits but not your medical benefits alleging that you are able to return to work in some capacity, whether it be regular, medium, light, or sedentary work according to an Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) report or your own treating Dr’s report.

If you do not go back to work to try a job that is made available to you that fits in the Dr’s restrictions, the workers’ compensation carrier will ask a Workers’ Compensation Judge to suspend your work loss wage benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Carrier will hire an attorney to file a Suspension Petition in support of their case, so be sure to be represented yourself.

If your employer does not have light or sedentary work for you to go back to, the workers’ compensation carrier may hire a vocational specialist to do an interview of you to assess your educational, transferable skills, and work history background.

Earning Power Assessment

The vocational specialist will also do an Earning Power Assessment to determine what you could be making based on what work they find within your restrictions.  For example, if the vocational specialist finds that work as a “Walmart Greeter” is generally available in your area within your restrictions for $10.00 per hour and that is the same or more than you earned at the time of your injury, the workers’ compensation carrier will petition the court to suspend your wage loss benefits. This can get complicated and the best time to contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney if you have not already, is you are contacted about the IME.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about workers’ compensation through our Workers’ Comp Wednesdays with Kara Curry on 99.9 The Hawk.  If you or a loved one has a question regarding your work injury or claim I invite you to contact me via phone (215) 530-7166, email or the form to the right.  As a certified workers’ compensation attorney, I am happy to offer free consultations.  – Paula Robinson, Esq.

What is a Termination of Worker’s Compensation Benefits?

Workers' Compensation

Termination of Worker’s Comp Benefits

After a Workers’ Compensation Carrier receives the Independent Medical Examination (IME) report and if it states a full recovery of your work injury,  the Workers’ Compensation Carrier will hire an attorney to file a Termination Petition against you, the injured worker, in an attempt to stop all of your wage loss and medical workers’ compensation benefits that you are receiving.

So, what does this mean for you, the injured worker?

At this point, you, the injured worker, must hire a workers’ compensation attorney to respond and file an Answer to the Termination Petition to contest the Petition filed against you.  

Note-this is time sensitive, so you must act quickly so you don’t miss important deadlines.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about workers’ compensation through our Workers’ Comp Wednesdays with Kara Curry on 99.9 The Hawk.  If you or a loved one has a question regarding your work injury or claim I invite you to contact me via phone (215) 530-7166, email or the form to the right.  As a certified workers’ compensation attorney, I am happy to offer free consultations.  – Paula Robinson, Esq.

What is a Workers’ Compensation Claim Denial?

file for a workers comp claim

What is a Workers’ Compensation Claim Denial?

Have you received a claim denial for your workers’ compensation claim? After you suffer a work injury and give Notice to your employer, your employer will forward the claim to their workers’ compensation carrier. From the date of receipt, the assigned workers’ compensation adjustor has 21 days to either accept or deny your claim for workers’ compensation benefits.  If your claim has been denied, you will not be receiving workers’ compensation benefits- medical or wage loss. If you receive a Denial you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer right away to file a Claim Petition. A Claim Petition will be litigated before a Workers’ Compensation Judge. Read More

What is an IME (Independent Medical Evaluation)?

Workers' Compensation

What is an IME?

An Independent Medical Evaluation, also known as an IME, is scheduled by the Workers’ Compensation Carrier to evaluate the injured workers’ current medical status.  This medical exam is performed by a doctor, relevant to your injury, selected by the insurance carrier – which is ‘independent’ from the doctor currently treating you. So, for example, if you have a back injury and are treating with an orthopedic surgeon, you would be sent to an orthopedic surgeon. Read More