First things first! Hire Cardamone Law! Work Comp for injured workers is all we do. We’re rare, small, focused, and financially leveraged to take down any employer or insurer in court. No firm can guarantee victory- that’s not ethical. But you can do your research to see what firms solely focus on Pennsylvania Work Comp and what their reputation is. You have the right to proceed “pro se”- representing yourself- but it’s highly discouraged and makes it very difficult to succeed. The earlier an injured worker lawyers up, the better they do overall.
Ok, besides that, tell the truth at all costs. Don’t hide prior injuries- and spend the time to remember prior accidents or work comp claims, or injuries- you will be asked about them. An aggravation of a prior condition is a viable work injury! But if you deny prior accidents, or forget, you can rest assured that the other lawyer will try to make you look like a liar. That’s his/her job- to attack your credibility to save his/her client money. So whether it’s the doctor, judge, or lawyers, always tell it like it is- period.
Image Source: unsplash/Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa
Make sure your doctor is advocating for you. That’s where we come very handy- to make sure you’re seeing a reputable doctor who isn’t afraid to testify. Many are afraid, some don’t take work comp for payment, etc- so sometimes the options for a credible doctor aren’t as good as you’d suspect. We will get their records and read them and make sure they are listening to you and your complaints- and not blaming everything on “arthritis” like the defense medical doctors love to do. Without strong medical evidence, it’s nearly impossible to win.
Attend the hearings, mediations, doctor appointments that you are told you must attend- don’t blow them off. Listen to your lawyer as to when you need to participate in an event, and when you’re excused. (ie, some hearings are just for the lawyers). And, geez, dress appropriately- even if the hearing is via video. It’s a court proceeding and you must be respectful. Don’t show up in a tank top!
Communicate with your attorney. Tell them if you’re interested in returning to work, with the employer, or another one. Tell them if you are feeling recovered or close to it. Tell them if you got papers in the mail and aren’t sure what they mean. The more you communicate, the better. This doesn’t mean sending 3am texts every day. But, be in touch frequently to maximize your case.
Finally, don’t get legal advice from your doctor or a neighbor. Your case is different than all others. Trust in the lawyer you hired and their expertise- unless they don’t communicate with you or behave inappropriately of course. There isn’t a magic number for a given case to settle at- each is unique. But a case will have a realistic range for settlement. Realistic doesn’t mean what you want, or how much you need to pay off your house. The value is based on other factors like your comp rate, extent of injury, age, educational level, and many other factors. To settle a case, both sides need to compromise- remember that.
Nothing on this blog/site shall be construed to be legal advice for your facts and case. You need to sign a Fee Agreement with our firm to be entitled to specific advice in your case. Fees in Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation cases are contingent- we only get paid if we win a petition, or settle the case.