How Do I Settle My Pennsylvania Work Comp Case?

I get asked this question all the time. Remember, it takes two to tango. You cannot settle your PA Work Comp case on your own. The work comp carrier and/or employer must agree to the terms of the settlement. Generally speaking, you will want to first hire an experienced, Certified PA Work Comp Lawyer. If you don’t do that, you risk getting taken advantage of by the insurer/employer because you won’t be on an equal playing field regarding the complex Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.

Once you hire an attorney, you will want to discuss many details with him or her. Some of these details include your age, work history, date of injury, work-related diagnoses, symptoms, pre injury average weekly wage, any post injury earnings, and what if any opposing medical records exist which offer an opposing point of view, in addition to any pending litigation, the Judge to whom the case is assigned, and other relevant factors.

After careful consideration of the factors, you will present what’s called a Demand– this is usually structured as a lump sum amount, in addition to a proposition regarding the medical benefits. This can be complicated if you’re on Medicare or soon to be eligible. Sometimes a Medicare Set Aside is needed for future medical benefits, and in other cases a portion of the proceeds can be designated and used as future medical to account for Medicare’s interests.

After a Demand is presented, the attorney will follow up to obtain an offer. And then negotiations tend to heat up. It can take days, weeks, months, or even longer to settle a case. It depends on when both parties are satisfied with the terms- at which point a hearing must take place so that a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Judge can approve the deal.

If an agreement isn’t made, the parties may wish to agree to a Mediation which is a meeting with a Work Comp to help resolve the matter.

There is a lot of inaccurate and misleading information floating around about Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Settlements. Not every case results in a “Large Cash Settlement”.  And, most importantly, every case is unique. Comparing your case to a friend or neighbor’s case is a terrible idea. Consult with an expert and let him or her evaluate your case on the merits of YOUR situation. Logo JPEG Large Top

PA Workers Comp- The IME Doctor Claims I Am Recovered But I Am Not- What Should I Do?

This scenario happens frequently in Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation cases. Why? Well, the insurer/employer is permitted an “Independent Medical Exam” every 6 months and they often send you to doctors who will have a propensity to opine that you’re recovered from the work-related injury and/or that any ongoing disability may be real but related to non- work related problems such as degenerative arthritis. A full recovery opinion will generate a Petition to Terminate your benefits and you’ll be in Court quickly.

First, make sure you retain an experienced, Certified PA Work Comp Lawyer. The Judges will tell you at the first hearing, if you’re not represented, that it’s HIGHLY recommended. It’s nearly impossible to litigate a case properly unless you’re an attorney. PA Workers’ Compensation has become quite complicated and technical. Moreover, it’s costly to obtain a doctor’s deposition which is necessary in most cases- let alone knowing how to take a deposition, knowing the rules of evidence, etc.

Another good idea to is schedule an appointment with your treating doctor. Take the IME report with you so your physician can review it and perhaps comment on it in their treatment notes. In this regard, your doctor make have different findings upon examination and we can utilize this to cross examine their expert when it comes time for a deposition.

You may receive a “Job Offer” letter from the employer if you’re still employed there. This can cause great anxiety as to whether to attempt the job or not. Speak to your attorney about this situation immediately upon receipt of any such letter.

A hearing will be scheduled after the Petition to Terminate is filed by the insurer/employer. The first stage of the case is called “Supersedeas” and you’ll need to speak to your PA Work Comp Attorney to determine what evidence you will submit at the first proceeding. This stage of the case is critical because if you lose then your checks stop or get reduced as the litigation unfolds over the next months thereafter.

Most importantly, do NOT panic. Remember, a doctor’s opinion is just that- an Opinion. It’s not a fact. Only you know how you feel. But hopefully your treating doctor will be on your side. If he or she isn’t, then speak to your attorney about seeing a new physician immediately.

Call Cardamone Law 7 days a week at (215) 206-9068 or email Michael@CardamoneLaw.com

All We Do Is Workers Comp- and Only for Injured Workers. There are virtually no other firms with 100% dedication to PA Workers Compensation.

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