Joshua M. Bloom & Associates, P.C.
Local : 412-567-6650
Toll Free : 866-974-0915

Pittsburgh Workers' Compensation-Workplace Injury-Labor Law Blog

FOR HOW LONG CAN I COLLECT TOTAL DISABILITY BENEFITS, AND WHAT IS AN "IRE"?

Contrary to popular belief, an injured worker is not automatically limited to a maximum number of weeks or years of total disability wage loss benefits under Pennsylvania's Workers' Compensation Act.  The Act, however, does allow workers' compensation insurance companies to pursue a certain type of medical determination that may set an end date for the injured worker's entitlement to those benefits.

E-MAILS, TEXT MESSAGES, AND FACEBOOK POSTS CAN IMPACT YOUR WORKERS' COMPENSATION CLAIM

The use of e-mail, text messages, and social networking websites like Facebook become more popular every day.  As a result, insurance companies are more and more frequently looking to use those electronic communications against injured workers.  At the same time, workers should be aware of how they can use those same technologies to protect themselves in the event they suffer a work injury.

DON'T LET A NURSE CASE MANAGER INTERFERE WITH YOUR CLAIM

Shortly after suffering a work injury, an injured worker usually receives a call or letter from a claims representative who investigates and processes the claim for the employer's workers' compensation insurance company.  Eventually, the insurance company may assign a nurse case manager to the claim.  Like the claims representative, the nurse case manager usually calls or sends a letter to the injured employee and may ask the injured employee questions about his or her treatment plans.  In addition, the nurse case manager may begin scheduling appointments for the injured worker, attending those appointments, and even speaking with the injured worker's doctors.

THE TRUTH BEHIND "INDEPENDENT" MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS

If you suffer an injury at work and receive any type of workers' compensation benefits, you should expect to receive, at some point, a letter directing you to attend an "independent medical examination."  Insurance companies have the right to require you to attend such an examination periodically. Ordinarily, the insurance company cannot require you to attend this examination more often than every six (6) months.

CLAIMS AGAINST UNINSURED EMPLOYERS

An employee who suffers a work injury while working for an employer uninsured for workers' compensation has the right to file a claim against the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund ("UEGF").  Securing that right is critically important because the UEGF is required to pay workers' compensation benefits when the uninsured employer does not.  In order to secure the right to file a claim against the UEGF, the injured worker must be aware of certain time limitations.

MUST YOU PERFORM "NO DUTY," LIGHT DUTY, OR MODIFIED DUTY WORK?

If you suffered a work injury and are not physically capable of performing the light or modified duty job your employer has offered, you should ask your physician to indicate in writing the reasons you are not physically capable of performing that work.  If you do not perform the light or modified duty work and do not have that documentation from your doctor, the employer and its workers' compensation insurance company may be entitled to reduce or suspend your wage loss benefits.

MAKE SURE THE DESCRIPTION OF INJURY IS CORRECT

One common error that may affect an injured worker's right to future benefits is an incorrect description of injury on the paperwork regarding the claim. Within three (3) weeks of first treating for a work injury, the injured worker should receive a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable or Notice of Compensation Payable in the mail. On that notice, the injured worker should make sure the work injury is described accurately in the box marked "Injury Information." Similarly, before signing a Supplemental Agreement, the injured worker should make sure the work injury is described accurately in the box marked "Injury."

REPETITIVE WORKPLACE TRAUMA IS COVERED BY WORKERS' COMPENSATION

Too often, a worker is under the misconception that in order to be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, he or she always must be able to identify one specific traumatic work event that caused his or her injury.  Not so.  Carpal tunnel syndrome and lateral epicondylitis ("tennis elbow") are two common diagnoses often times related to not one specific traumatic event but rather repetitive use of a certain body part.  You are entitled to workers' compensation benefits for injuries like these if they are the result of exposure to repetitive trauma at work.

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Joshua M. Bloom & Associates, P.C.
3204 Grant Building
310 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Toll Free: 866-974-0915
Phone: 412-567-6650
Fax: 412-288-6010
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