A workers' compensation case study on time limits and results: A carpenter was loading a truck with plywood when he felt back pain. It wasn't the first time he's had back pain as he's been doing some form of labor work most of his adult life. He thought the pain would subside after a day or two as this is what typically he has done in the past but this time it kept bothering him. A week or so later he goes to his boss and tells him that his back has been really bothering him for the past week since they unloaded that truck. The boss tells him to go to the local MedExpress and let him know what they say. He does and they keep saying it's just a strain and he can keep working. Ultimately, he ends up seeing his family doctor, someone he's seen off and on in the past for his aches and pains and colds and flu over the years, and is sent to a specialist like an orthopedic surgeon. After an MRI he is told he needs back surgery. The carpenter tells his boss who now turns it in to the workers' compensation insurance carrier months later who denies the surgery and denies a work injury.
This is not an uncommon example of some of the issues we see in dealing with people hurt on the job fighting with work comp. The workers' compensation insurance carrier adjuster, or their attorney, took the position that our client 1.didn't properly and timely report his injury; 2. our client had a pre-existing condition that is the need for his surgery and disability; 3. any problems or disability is not due to a work injury and not the workmens compensation insurance carriers responsibility.
Under the Pennsylvania workers' compensation laws, generally speaking, an injured worker must report an injury within 120 days of the injury. The injured worker must tell how the injury happened and to what body part. If the employer has a posted panel of physicians, generally, that is posted in a place where they can see it and has signed an acknowledgement form before and after the injury about being advised of the list that worker should treat with one of the posted panel physicians for 90 days. The injured worker has up to 3 years from the date of injury to file for workers compensation benefits. Aggravation of an underlying preexisting condition may be compensable under the act. If the work related aggravation of the underlaying condition is a significant or substantial contributing cause to the condition and disability the injured worker should be paid work comp benefits. Alas many times they are not and call us.
At Dugan & Associates, Mitch Dugan and his team of attorneys and staff, hear and see cases like this day in and day out. We were able to get this individual a substantial settlement for his injuries. The workmens compensation insurance company forced him to have us file a lawsuit. During the court case, after many months, and back and forths to court, we were able to negotiate a settlement that our client wanted to accept. He chose to settle as he knew that the insurance company would continue to drag things out and take it rather than take his chances going to court. It was his choice but we were able to make that choice happen for him. If you or a loved one has questions about workers compensation contact the lawyers at Dugan & Associates, Lawyers Representing Injured People 1-888-993-8426 (1888-99-D-U-G-A-N).