In our previous post, we spoke a bit about partial and total disability benefits available through the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system. These benefits are, of course, critical for workers who have been injured on the job seriously enough that they are unable to work for a period of time or, in some cases, indefinitely.
Because of the way the system is set up, it is inevitable that there are going to be disputes from time to time. One area where disputes are prone to occur is with respect to determinations of impairment level. These determinations affect not only an injured workers’ initial receipt of benefits, but ongoing benefits as well, so it is important that injured workers be given an accurate evaluation.
When disputes arise with respect to an impairment rating, or any other workers’ compensation issue for that matter, the first step is to attempt to work out the issue with one’s employer or the employer’s insurance carrier. If communications break down, though, an injured worker is able to contact the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Office Adjudication, at which point a workers’ compensation judge would schedule a mediation or an informal conference to resolve the issues. Any decisions made by a workers’ compensation judge can be appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. Beyond that, any unresolved issues can be brought before the Commonwealth Court.
There is no doubt that having the assistance of an experienced attorney can be helpful in workers’ compensation litigation, particularly if an appeal becomes necessary. This is especially the case when complex legal issues arise. Having the assistance of an advocate ensures that one’s interests will receive the advocacy they deserve.