Recently, a prospective client called me and we spoke about her workers’ compensation case. During the course of our talk, she said “it’s not about the money”. While this is a trendy and popular thing to say- often times as a defense mechanism to ward off unfair images of greed-it really is misplaced in a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation matter.
You see, it IS about money. The Pennsylvania Work Comp Law provides wage loss and medical benefits for injured workers who are injured in the course and scope of their employment. The entire purpose of the Act is to prevent injured workers from becoming financially destitute after sustaining a work-related injury.
It’s common to hear sound bites in the media, in various legal contexts, such as “It’s about justice” or “It’s the principle”. While those philosophical notions of fairness are an overarching theme of the law in general, when you cut to the chase in a PA Work Comp arena, they don’t get you very far. Yes, if someone is injured on the job, and if the insurer denies their claim, then the injured worker wants “justice”, but justice equates to the employer and insurer paying the owed benefits. The benefits come directly to the injured worker in the form of a check equaling the loss of earning power- and to the medical providers in the form of payment for treatment rendered.
When my clients workers’ comp checks come two weeks late and their landlord is threatening to evict them, it’s about the money. When my clients have a tuition bill on their kitchen counter but their employer denied their work comp claim, it’s about the money. When my clients, after building up their credit over decades of timely payments, have their credit destroyed because the workers’ compensation carrier fails to pay for the medical bills, it’s about the money.
My clients don’t want a hollow victory. They want the benefits afforded to them by law which enable them to continue paying their bills, putting food on the table, and educating their children. There is nothing wrong with believing that “it’s all about the money”.