Philadelphia, PA Work Comp Lawyer Michael W. Cardamone Wins Case Against Large Philadelphia Employer

Pennsylvania Work Comp Attorney, Michael W. Cardamone, of The Cardamone Law Firm represents injured workers across Pennsylvania. In July 2011, he filed a Claim Petition for a client who injured his right arm and hand in a work-related accident.  The Employer, a large Philadelphia manufacturing company, denied his claim. The Petition was assigned to a Work Comp Judge and the first hearing was held in October 2011 at which Claimant testified.

In support of his client’s case, Cardamone also deposed his client’s treating physician- an orthopedic surgeon. In opposition to the Claim Petition, the Employer’s attorney deposed a panel physician who claimed the employee could work with restrictions. The medical experts disagreed as to the nature and extent of the injury.

The Employer also presented lay testimony from two witnesses- a director of risk management, and Claimant’s supervisor. Cardamone then presented rebuttal testimony from Claimant to refute portions of the Employer witness testimony.

The evidentiary record closed in August 2012.  Briefs were submitted thereafter, summarizing the facts and the law, and the Judge’s Decision was issued November 20, 2012.

Cardamone was successful in arguing to the Workers’ Compensation Judge that 1) Claimant’s testimony was credible in that he was unable to perform the work assigned to him after his initial surgery, 2) that the work assigned to him went beyond the restrictions of the Employer’s own physician, 3) that Claimant’s doctor was more credible than the panel doctor where the experts disagreed, and 4) Claimant’s testimony was more credible than the Employer’s witnesses.

The Workers’ Compensation Judge awarded wage loss benefits from March 9, 2011 to the present time and ongoing, in addition to payment for all medical treatment, 10% interest on past due wage loss benefits, and Cardamone’s litigation costs of over $5,000.00.

The case was vigorously defended (as evidenced by his 30 page written argument) by the Employer’s attorney who practices at a top defense firm in Pennsylvania.

If you need guidance with a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation situation, call Michael Cardamone at 215-206-9068 7 days a week or email MyPhillyWorkersComp@Gmail.com

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If I Am An Injured Employee In Pennsylvania, Do I Need To Prove Negligence By My Employer To Get Work Comp Benefits?

No. If you are injured while in the course and scope of your employment, you do not need to prove negligence. Negligence will apply if you have a 3rd party case– that is a case against some entity other than your employer, but not in your Pennsylvania Work Comp situation. For example, if you were injured in a car accident at which time you were furthering the interests of your employer, you would have a work comp claim against the employer where negligence is not an issue, but a third party case against the driver who caused the accident where negligence (ie, fault) is the critical issue.

Note, however, that injuries which are intentionally self inflicted or caused by a violation of law, will not be considered work-related injuries. But negligence isn’t part of the equation. If you were lifting boxes and failed to bend your legs in a way that would have helped to prevent the injury, it doesn’t mean you didn’t sustain a work-related injury.

The specific language of Section 301(a) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act which speaks to this issue, states, “Every employer shall be liable for compensation for personal injury to, or for the death of each employee, by an injury in the course and scope of his employment…without regard to negligence….”

Because negligence is not required in a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation case, there are no pain and suffering damages available. The available benefits are for wage loss (2/3) and medical benefits- and specific loss for certain situations such as loss of use of a body part for all practical intents and purposes, amputation, binaural hearing loss, etc.

In summary then, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act sets forth a no fault scheme. The key is whether the injury was in the course and scope of employment. (believe me when I say there are hundreds of cases interpreting this language), and of course, whether the injury was disabling.

For more information about Pennsylvania Work Comp Law, call or email highly experienced PA Work Injury Lawyer, Michael Cardamone@ 215-206-9068 or mcardamone@krasno.com

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What Does A Notice Of Ability To Return To Work Mean In A Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Case?

At least once a week, I get a call from a client asking me what this documents means. The document I am referring to is called “Notice Of Ability To Return To Work“.  This is a form sent to an injured worker in Pennsylvania, required by Section 306(b) (3) of the PA Work Comp Act, informing an injured worker that the insurer has received medical evidence that the employee is able to return to work in some capacity. Whether it’s an insurance company doctor or a treating doctor, the insurer is almost always required to send this notice out if the physician deems the worker to be capable of work, with or without restrictions. (it is not required in some limited circumstances such as when a petition to modify is based on surveillance evidence showing an imputed earning power vs a change in medical condition).

Many injured workers receive this notice and interpret it to mean that they are being asked to return to work. This is not the case. Standing alone, the Notice of Ability To Return To Work is simply what it says- a notice. If the Employer contends that it has work available within the physician’s restrictions, then it will usually send an official job offer letter, or at a minimum, make a call.

The Notice of Ability To Return To Work will state not only what work the physician deems appropriate, but also some other boilerplate language such as reminding the worker than she has an obligation to look for available employment, that proof of available employment may jeopardize the employee’s rights to the receipt of ongoing benefits, etc.

The insurers, upon receiving medical records indicating that the worker can work in some capacity, even with many limitations, must send this Notice, if it wishes to file a petition seeking to modify or suspend an employee’s benefits based on the doctor’s opinions. And, it must be sent promptly. What detemines if the notice is sent promptly is determined on a case by case basis. If the insurer fails to send this document, the injured worker will be able to argue that any pending petition (ie, a Petition to Modify or Suspend benefits) based upon the change in physican condition (ie, the opinion by a doctor that she can now do certain kinds of work) should be dismissed.

What should an injured worker in Pennsylvania do when she receives a Notice Of Ability To Return To Work? The best answer is speak to an experienced Pennsylvania Work Comp Attorney as soon as possible. This Notice usually means a Petition to reduce benefits is coming down the pike. You will need to speak to a work comp lawyer to analyze your case and to gather any evidence which may conflict with the allegations and opinions in the Notice of Ability To Return To Work.

For more information about Pennsylvania Work Comp Law, call or email Michael Cardamone at 215-206-9068 or MyPhillyWorkersComp@Gmail.com

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