Question

Do I Need A Lawyer For A Workers Comp Case In Pennsylvania?

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Jeffrey S. Gross - Workers' Compensation - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Jeffrey S. Gross

Located in Philadelphia, PAGross & Kenny, LLP

Philadelphia, PA
Phone: 215-512-1500
Fax: 267-589-0091

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Answer

If you’ve been injured on the job in Pennsylvania, you can pursue a workers' compensation claim for medical costs and other related expenses. You don't always need to hire a lawyer for workers' comp claims, particularly when both you and your employer agree on the merits of the claim. And since Pennsylvania has a no-fault system, you may still collect even if you were partially to blame for the incident.

However, your claim may be denied under certain circumstances, such as if the injury is determined to be not work-related or if it resulted from willful negligence on your part. If your employer disputes your workers' comp claim or your case raises unique legal questions, an attorney who is well-versed in workers' compensation law can make all the difference in whether or not you collect. 

Are You Covered?

Most workers are covered by Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act, while some employees (including federal workers) are covered by other laws. Some workers are exempt, including volunteer workers and agricultural laborers. However, if you discover that your employer doesn’t have workers' compensation insurance, you may be able to file a claim with the state's Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund.

How A Workers' Comp Lawyer Can Help 

You probably don't need to take any further action if your claim is approved without contention. However, if your claim is denied by your employer's insurer and you believe the decision was in error, you may appeal to the state's Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board.

This is where it can be very useful to have an attorney negotiating and arguing on your behalf, particularly since your employer's insurer will have legal representation.

An attorney can also review your claim to determine whether you are eligible to file a civil claim against your employer or a third party. While you cannot sue for benefits already received under workers' compensation, you may sue your employer if the injury was the result of the employer's negligence, discrimination or some other egregious action. If the injury was caused by defective equipment, you may have a claim against the manufacturer. 

If you decide to lawyer up for your workers' comp claim or appeal, make sure you discuss fee and cost arrangements up front. The fee agreement must be approved by a Pennsylvania workers' compensation judge or the Appeal Board before the attorney may represent you.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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