Brilliant & Neiman LLC protects injured workers throughout Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania, including Langhorne, Bristol, Willow Grove, Abington and Allentown. Since the attorneys with Brilliant & Neiman LLC are certified as specialists in the practice of PA workers’ compensation law, you can be confident that your rights under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act are protected.
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured worker is entitled to certain benefits as a result of a work injury. Importantly, these benefits do not include pain and suffering. PA is strictly a “wage loss” State, meaning the only inquiry for workers’ comp purposes is whether you can perform gainful employment, and whether your earnings are impacted by the work injury. Things an injured worker loses – like an ability to enjoy leisure activities, sports, hobbies and a normal home life – are not considered for the purposes of workers’ compensation benefits.
Consider also that, except in very rare circumstances, workers’ compensation is the “excusive remedy” for recovery by an injured worker from his or her employer. In other words, an injured worker is almost never able to sue his or her employer in a civil action to recover damages (which would include pain and suffering). An injured worker can, however, sue a third party, if that party caused the work injury. Examples of this would include a car accident within the scope and course of your job, or a suit against the manufacturer of a device or machine which caused the work injury. While our firm only handles workers’ compensation cases, we do have other highly qualified attorneys to whom we can refer clients for these other types of cases.
There are four basic categories of workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania. These are wage loss (or “indemnity”) benefits, medical benefits, “specific loss” benefits and fatal claim benefits.
As discussed above, an injured worker is entitled to indemnity benefits if he or she is disabled from work as a result of the work injury. These benefits may be “temporary total disability benefits” if the injured worker is unable to work at all, or they may be “partial disability benefits” if the injured worker can perform some kind of work, but who continues to earn less money due to the effects of the work injury (this could be a reduction in hourly wage due to needing a modified job, or a reduction in hours caused by the physical limitations related to the work injury).
Medical benefits are available for the reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the work injury. If either side wishes to challenge whether a particular treatment is “reasonable and necessary,” a Utilization Review (UR) must be filed. If the employer meets certain requirements, the employer may be able to limit medical treatment to one of a list of providers listed on a panel, which (among other requirements) must be posted in a conspicuous location at work. Even if the listed panel is present, and the employer complies with these requirements, that control lasts only for the first 90 days.
“Specific loss” benefits are to compensate for loss of use or disfigurement (as opposed to wage loss). Examples include amputations of fingers, toes, hand, foot, loss of sight, loss of hearing, or disfigurement on the head, face or neck. Note that the body part, or function, need not actually be 100% lost, or amputated, it simply has to be lost “for all practical intents and purposes.” What that term means depends on the body part, or function, at issue.
Lastly, when a work injury results in the death of the worker, there are precise benefits which are generally available to a spouse, children or certain other dependents. Also, there is a stated amount which is payable as a funeral allowance.
Our firm makes sure that the workers’ compensation rate is properly calculated, that benefits are correctly being paid, and that our client receives the benefits to which he or she is entitled.