Understanding The Workers’ Compensation Claims Process In Pennsylvania
Injured workers are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits when they return to work after illness or accidents. Workers can receive benefits like medical payments and compensation for function loss and scarring under workers’ compensation laws even if the worker hasn’t a single day off work. An important thing to consider in a worker’s compensation case is the credibility of the evidence provided. A judge considers many things in order to determine the credibility of a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation case. Some of those are:
- The work injury is genuine
- The severity of the injury and the disability induced
- Checking if the claimant has recovered
- Checking if the injury inhibits a workers ability to earn
- Required medical treatment
- Assessing the credibility of medical evidence provided
There are a host of issues that a judge must consider in order to reach a decision. These vary based on several factors. The judge reviews the testimonies of all parties involved and determines if the worker’s testimony aligns with the evidence and testimonies of other people involved. After the completion of the review process, the judge decides on the credibility of the claimant’s evidence. After a decision has been made, some common questions on the minds of both claimants and insurance providers usually are:
Can the injured worker or the insurance company appeal against the judge’s decision?
Yes. Both parties are eligible to make an appeal against the decision of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Judge. Appeals have to be made within 20 days of the judge’s decision. The appeal is handled by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Board. The appeals process starts by hearing oral accounts of the case from both parties and reviewing the briefs presented in the original case. The final decision from the board generally takes from 6 to 12 months and is mailed in written form to both parties.
Can either of the parties re-appeal the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board?
The decision of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board can be appealed to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania within 30 days of the judgment from the board. The rules that are applicable to this are much more stringent in nature. If either of the parties is unsatisfied by the decisions, then the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania can decide to judge the case, but that is rare.
What are the chances of an appeal being successful?
Experience dictates that a judge’s initial decision rarely gets overturned because the appellate court gives a higher preference to the Workers ‘compensation judge in terms of his judgment for the case based on the fact that the judge has adequately determined the credibility of the evidence presented to them. These are the most essential fragments of a legal decision and thus it rarely gets overturned. A decision may be overturned in cases where the judge did not address some evidence that could have played an important role in the verdict given or if further investigation uncovers newer evidence that the judge overlooked in the case.
If you are faced with a workers’ compensation claim it is advisable to retain the services of a competent and experienced workers’ compensation attorney to safeguard your rights and get the compensation that you deserve.