If you have been injured at work, there can be a lot of uncertainty about what comes next, especially if you are not receiving benefits. If you hire Pearson Koutcher Law, one of our seasoned workers’ compensation lawyers will file a Claim Petition on your behalf, alleging that you’ve been injured at work and are unable to do your job. After a petition is filed, your case will be assigned to a Workers’ Compensation Judge, who will preside over hearings and ultimately decide your case if your lawyer does not work out a settlement with your employer and/or its insurance company.
Once your case is assigned to a Judge, your lawyer at Pearson Koutcher Law will start gathering evidence on your behalf, which will include taking testimony from you at a deposition. Since the start of the pandemic, most depositions have taken place by video. Don’t worry that you won’t be able to navigate this technology; our office can help you to get set up. At your deposition, your lawyer will ask you questions about your job, how you injured yourself, what doctors you have seen, the medical treatment that you have undergone, and how your injuries have affected your ability to work. The lawyer for the insurance company will then have the opportunity to ask you questions about your claim. Your workers’ compensation lawyers in PA from Pearson Koutcher Law will work with you to make sure you are well prepared for this deposition.
After your deposition, your lawyer will schedule a deposition with one of your treating physicians who will render opinions on the work-related injuries that you sustained and if they have rendered you unable to do your job. You do not need to be present for this deposition; your PA workers’ comp lawyer will handle everything.
Once your lawyer takes your and your doctor’s deposition and presents any other evidence in support of your claim, there will be a short hearing at which your lawyer formally submits the evidence in support of your claim to the Judge. At this point, the Judge will then give the insurance company lawyer a set amount of time – usually 90 days – to take depositions and present evidence in opposition to your claim. During the process, you will be required to submit to an Independent Medical Examination (IME) with a doctor that the insurance company chooses. That doctor is likely biased in favor of the insurance company and may conclude that you have fully recovered from your work injuries and can return to your regular job when you and your doctors know you have not. The insurance company lawyer will take the deposition of that doctor in defense of your claim.
Eventually, approximately nine months after your PA workers’ compensation claim is filed, there will be a final hearing at which you will testify (by video or in-person – it depends on the Judge) to give the Judge an update on how you have been doing since you testified by deposition several months earlier. The Judge will then allow both lawyers to submit a legal brief, arguing why you should win – or lose – your case. The Judge will review all of the evidence, as well as the legal briefs, and issue a decision, granting or denying your claim.
If pursuing a workers’ compensation claim seems like a long and stressful process, it may comfort you to know that a settlement is reached in the majority of cases before the Judge issues a decision. While your claim is pending before the Judge, a settlement conference, also known as a mediation, will be held by a different Judge, and this may result in a settlement of your case. Even if it does not, your lawyer can continue trying to negotiate a settlement of your case with the lawyer for the insurance company.
It is a challenge to fight the insurance company in a workers’ compensation claim, and you need an experienced, highly-skilled lawyer to fight hard for your rights. At Pearson Koutcher Law, workers’ comp. is all we do. Please call us today for a free consultation and put your case in our capable hands.