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If My Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Case Goes To Court, How Does It Work?

Some cases never go into litigation. An injured worker in Pennsylvania may receive work comp benefits, then return to her pre-injury job with no drama or litigation. But many cases do end up in court. There may be a dispute over the amount of the compensation due, the nature of the work-related injury, a disagreement about whether a job is within the injured worker’s physical restrictions, unpaid medical bills, late checks, varying medical opinions from a panel doctor or IME doctor versus treating physicians, or disputes regarding what type of treatment is reasonable and necessary. These are just some examples.

So what happens then when a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation case ends up in court? First, a petition is filed by the injured worker’s PA Work Comp Lawyer, or by the insurer’s counsel. Once a petition is filed, the responding party has 20 days to file an Answer, admitting or denying the allegations. Next, the case is assigned to a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Judge- and all parties receive a copy. After the Assignment Notice, a Notice of Hearing is mailed advising the parties when the first hearing is and the location. Some Work Comp Judges takes testimony and evidence at the initial hearing, while others conduct what’s called a “Pre-Trial” hearing where the attorneys simply confer with the the Judge about how they intend to litigate the case, with the Judge issuing a Scheduling Order dictating when the evidence for each side is due.

After the initial hearing, the attorneys secure evidence and take necessary depositions to meet their respective burdens of proof. Many cases will settle before the end of the case. If the case does resolve, the parties will usually enter into a Stipulation of Facts for the Judge’s approval, or a Compromise & Release Agreement which the Judge must approve at a hearing. If a case doesn’t settle, the parties submit their evidence at a final hearing (sometimes it’s permissible to do this via mail- each Judge has their own rules) and the Judge advises when the written arguments are due- these are called “briefs”.

When will I testify? It depends on the type of petition that is filed and what Judge is presiding. For a Claim Petition- that is, a situation where the Employer denied the claim, most Judges take testimony at the first hearing. Other Judges allow the parties to take a deposition (testimony outside of court) early on, then testimony in court at the final hearing. For other petitions, the injured worker often testifies at the second or final hearing. There are some petitions that will not involve testimony. For example, if there is a Penalty Petition for unpaid medical bills, there may be no need for testimony because the parties can submit documentation instead.

From start to finish, a petition can take up to 12 months to litigate. Each side has 90 days to secure their evidence under the Rules, but note that some Judges move things quicker, and some are more forgiving with deadlines. No two cases are identical and each takes its own path. It is important to study each Judge’s rules.

If the Judge rules against me, can I appeal? Yes. You have 20 days to submit an appeal to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. If the Board doesn’t rule in your favor, you have the right to take an appeal to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania- and ultimately the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  It is not easy to have a Work Comp Judge’s Decision overturned. However, it is always worth examining the Decision to make sure that no errors were made, to see if the correct law was applied, and to make sure the Judge summarized and considered all the relevant testimony.

Do I need a PA Work Comp Attorney? Yes!! It goes without saying that if you do not have an experienced Pennsylvania Work Injury Lawyer representing you, your odds at a victory are very slim. It is not impossible, but it’s very difficult for an injured worker to know how to secure medical evidence, to pay thousands of dollars for a medical deposition, to know the rules of evidence, etc. The fees are contingent for an injured worker which means the attorney only gets paid if he/she wins you wage loss that you’re not currently getting, or prevents the insurer from reducing your wage loss- or if he/she strikes a global settlement of your case- that is, a full and final settlement of all issues.

If you are an injured worker in Pennsylvania, call or email me at 215-206-9068, Michael@cardamonelaw.com 7 days a week for a free consult or just to learn more general information about how Pennsylvania Work Comp cases work.

The Cardamone Law Firm, LLC

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Pennsylvania Workmans Comp Attorney
Philadelphia Workmans Comp Lawyer

Cardamone Law Has Negotiated Some of the Largest Workers’ Comp Settlements in Pennsylvania

$2.2 Million
Spinal Injury
$897,000
Lower Back Injury
$650,000
Lower Back Injury
$550,000
Neck Injury
$425,000
Leg Injury
$375,000
Knee Injury
$325,000
Ankle Injury
& Hundreds More Cases
$2.2 Million
Spinal Injury
$897,000
Lower Back Injury
$650,000
Lower Back Injury
$550,000
Neck Injury
$425,000
Leg Injury
$375,000
Knee Injury
$325,000
Ankle Injury
& Hundreds More Cases

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"Cardamone Law Firm were very helpful to me since day one. Michael and Shirley are very dedicated to my case giving me updates, answering my questions, being honest with my case, and getting the maximum amount favorable to my case. Thank you so much for your service and dedication and helping me to achieve not only your case but to guide and refer me in other needs too! You guys are the best law firm friendly and dedicated. I will recommend to anyone."

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"I recently had a work related injury and was receiving Workers' Compensation (medical benefits only). Soon after I was fired, so I contacted Paul Silver at Cardamone Law Firm who did an excellent job in getting me financially compensated in a fairly short amount of time. Paul and his assistant Shirley always responded to any questions I had about the case in a very short amount of time. Thank you for helping me with this difficult case."

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"Mike Cardamone is amazing. He is "hands down" one of the best lawyers I've ever had the privilege of knowing. He is very kind, understanding, knowledgeable in his field, always very thorough and helpful. He was extremely professional and someone who truly cares about his clients. I felt completely at ease with him. He was a pleasure to work with, explained everything in detail, as well as answered all my questions with knowledge and care. If you want someone you can trust, who communicates every step of the way, will fight for you and make sure you win your case, he is it! I will refer all my family and friends to him. Thank you so much Mike, for everything. I appreciate all your hard work and dedication in helping me."

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"Without a doubt YOU are the best!!! Every person who is in the horrible position of being injured at work should have someone as kind, compassionate and knowledgeable as you on their side. You never once made me feel like I was one of a hundred other clients. I always knew you had my back! You answered calls and emails at all hours. You fought every fight for me so I only had to worry about getting well. Behind your nice, calm face there’s a pit bull ready to take on any employer or judge. I can never thank you enough."

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"Michael is simply the best! He was there for me from day 1 till the end, and we won the case!! He is always available to help. I had a gazillion questions and he would answer them one by one. He's a great lawyer and I feel lucky to have found him online from reading other outstanding reviews about him. Believe me, they're true!"

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