Cases of employees being injured are likely to occur in any organization or business. When such injuries occur, the workers will often look to their employer or company they work for to pay their lost wages and medical expenses that arise as a result of the injury. These benefits are referred to as workers’ compensation benefits. In Pennsylvania, the law is very clear that employers are to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their injured workers.
Just because a worker suffers a work injury, doesn’t mean that the employer and/or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier will readily agree to accept the injury. Even when an injury is accepted, there is always the certainty that the extent of the disability will be questioned and or challenged eventually. When the challenges come in the employer and/or the workers’ compensation carrier wanting to stop the wage loss and or medical benefits, this is when you need legal representation from a qualified workers’ compensation claimant’s attorney. This is the attorney for the injured worker. The attorney for the employer and their workers’ compensation carrier is referred to as the Defense Counsel.
A workers’ compensation Claimant Counsel must be an individual who is well versed in this field, with the complete academic qualifications as required, and the necessary experience to ensure quality representation of the injured worker. They should also have adequate knowledge of the workers’ compensation rules and regulations set forth by the Pennsylvania Legislature. Pennsylvania recently offered certification in the field of workers’ compensation to attorneys who practice in this field, with certain rules to apply for and test for that certification. It is important to remember that all injured workers are entitled to legal representation.
Some employers are reluctant to readily accommodate the needs of workers who have suffered a work injury, and it is during this time that workers need legal help to retain or obtain both wage loss and medical benefits. Often times, after a claim is accepted, the injured worker will be able to enter into a lump sum settlement to resolve that claim. It is important to keep to mind that some employers require that the injured worker resign their employment if they settle their workers’ compensation case. Reasons for requiring resignation are that they may view the employee as a liability, they want to prohibit gossip of the amount of the settlement, or they may feel that if they provide the injured employee with a lump sum of money, that they do not want to provide them with ongoing employment, which may include benefits, such as health care and 401K accounts.
It is always best to contact a workers’ compensation claimant attorney, no matter what stage your particular case is in. You need to know where you stand, what benefits you may be eligible for, and how to keep those benefits, and not have them stripped away from you. Workers’ compensation injuries can be life altering, and can affect not only you, as the injured worker, but their family.