Claim Petition Attorneys
In the course of any workers’ compensation case, a number of petitions can be filed on behalf of the employer or the employee. Different petitions can be used in pursuit of different goals. The legal proceedings that some of these petitions can initiate can be quite complex, and the assistance of a qualified attorney can be invaluable.
At Marzzacco Niven & Associates, we focus on experience and results as we dedicate our entire workers’ compensation practice to helping injured workers obtain the full measure of benefits available under the law. Whether you need help filing a petition in pursuit of benefits or responding to a petition aimed at reducing or eliminating them, our Harrisburg claim petition lawyers will be there to protect your interests.
Common Types Of Petitions In Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Claims
- Claim Petitions: These petitions are filed when a workplace injury victim has experienced a wage loss and the insurance carrier does not voluntarily pay benefits. The petition is filed with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, which assigns it to a judge, who then schedules a hearing. You must have the support of a doctor before proceeding with a Claim Petition.
- Notice of Ability to Return to Work: These notices are often filed after an injured worker has been examined by one of the insurance carrier’s doctors. The doctor, who is essentially working in the insurance carrier’s best interests, typically says that you are recovered or otherwise able to perform some type of limited duty work. This notice does not mean that your workers’ compensation benefits will automatically stop. However, you should visit your own doctor for a second opinion and seek the advice of a workers’ compensation attorney about representing you.
- Modification, Suspension, and Termination Petitions: Insurance carriers file these types of petitions to either reduce or stop your workers’ compensation benefits. At the first hearing, a judge will hold a Supersedeas hearing in which he or she will consider the immediate termination of your benefits. It is very important that you obtain skilled legal counsel as soon as you receive notice that the petition has been filed so that your attorney has time to prepare for your hearing. In every case, we prepare our clients for testimony, prepare their affidavits, and get statements from their doctors so that Supersedeas will be denied and our clients’ benefits continue.
- Independent Medical Examinations (IME): While the name sounds like it is fair and objective, it is not. IMEs are reviews by doctors who have been hired by the insurance carrier to offer their opinions as to whether you have recovered from your work injury or whether you experienced a work injury at all. They are not there to treat you nor are they there to necessarily provide an impartial evaluation. They are, after all, employed by the insurance carrier. Sometimes the IME doctor will agree with your doctor, which makes it much easier to proceed with your case. Frequently, however, they will say you are fine or that whatever is wrong with you was not work-related.
- Impairment Rating Evaluations (IRE): These evaluations are somewhat similar to an IME in that you go to see a doctor, but, in this case, it is one chosen by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The purpose of an IRE is to determine your exact level of impairment. If you are less than 50 percent impaired—which is the case for most people—your ability to collect temporary total disability benefits will be limited to a maximum of 9 1/2 years. If you are more than 50% impaired, the 9 ½-year limit will not apply. Insurance carriers can only request IREs after you have received 104 weeks of temporary total disability benefits.
Turn to Us: Contact A Lawyer At Marzzacco Niven & Associates
Contact one of our Pennsylvania offices to discuss your questions regarding a workers’ compensation claim petition with a lawyer. Initial consultations are always free. You can reach us by phone at 717-260-3580. You can also reach us via email.