Being injured on the job can be a stressful experience. You might have to undergo treatment before you are able to return to work, or the effects of the injury might prevent you from ever resuming your former position.
Worker’s compensation benefits are supposed to help employees when a worksite injury leaves them unable to work and ensure that they get the medical care they need. Unfortunately, some employers and their insurance companies work hard to limit benefits for their injured employees.
If you have been hurt on the job, it could be beneficial to speak with an Altoona personal injury attorney about your options. An Altoona worker’s compensation lawyer could help ensure that you are treated fairly and have access to all the benefits you are entitled to receive.
Workers’ Comp Benefits
According to 77 P.S. §301, the workers’ compensation program must provide all necessary medical care for injuries or illnesses that are work-related. A work injury could be anything from catching a hand in a piece of machinery to carpal tunnel syndrome.
If an employer has compiled a list of approved providers, an injured worker must seek treatment from one of those providers for the first 90 days after his or her injury. Should the condition still require treatment after 90 days, the employee may seek care from the provider of his or her choosing. If the employer does not have a list of at least six providers for the injured employee to choose from, the employee may select any appropriately licensed medical professional to treat his or her work-related injury or illness.
The employer must pay for all necessary care related to the injury, including copayments. However, sometimes employers will seek a Utilization Review to challenge the necessity of the care the employee is receiving. An experienced work injury attorney in Altoona could present proof to establish that the employee’s injury requires the disputed treatment and help the employee craft his or her personal statement to submit in support of the care.
How Might an Employer Deny a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In addition to medical care, workers’ compensation pays employees two-thirds of their salaries while they are unable to work. Employers try to limit the time they must pay these lost wages, and utilize a number of procedures to force injured workers to prove that they cannot yet resume their regular employment.
For example, employers can ask an employee receiving benefits to undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME). This examination is paid for by the employer’s insurance company and could indicate that the employer intends to contest the employee’s right to benefits. The insurer might be trying to find evidence that the employee’s condition is not the result of a work injury, the employee is exaggerating symptoms, the treatment the employee is receiving is not effective, or some other evidence to justify limiting the employee’s benefits.
A worker who receives a notice of an IME, or a notice to undergo another evaluation such as a Vocational Examination or an Impairment Rating Examination, should contact a local attorney immediately. It could be possible to limit the scope of these evaluations or avoid attending them entirely.
Third-Party Negligence Claims
Although workers cannot sue their employers for negligence, if someone else’s negligence caused an employee’s work-related injury, the negligent person might be liable for the resulting damages. Instances that may give rise to a third-party claim include:
- Harm caused by negligent third-party contractors
- Injuries caused by defective or poorly maintained equipment
Damages in these third party negligence claims could pay the portion of the employee’s wages that worker’s compensation does not pay, as well as provide compensation for the employee’s pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, and other subjective losses associated with the injury. A savvy Altoona workers’ comp attorney could review the facts of the worksite injury to determine whether they support bringing a third-party claim.
Contact an Altoona Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Guidance
The worker’s compensation rules are complex, and many employers and their insurers will use that to their advantage. When you are trying to recover from a work-related injury or illness, it is beneficial to seek guidance from a legal professional.
An Altoona worker’s compensation lawyer knows the rules, understands how the system works, and will fight for your rights. Call the office of Marcus & Mack today to schedule a consultation and ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.