Do I Need A Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
The short answer: YES. It’s simply not worth trying to navigate the Workers’ Compensation system without the help of an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney. Instead, it is worth at least talking to a Workers’ Comp attorney for a free consultation to ensure the insurance company is treating you in accordance with the law. This means more than just getting wage loss checks.
What does that mean and how can an attorney help? When you are injured on the job you should NOT have to pay for the treatment related to your work injury—not even a copay—and neither should your personal health insurance. In some instances you may have to treat with a “panel physician” for 90 days following your injury; but in other situations you can treat with doctors you choose. However, many doctors will refuse to treat a work injury because of the complexity and time delays in billing the insurance company. An experienced Workers’ Compensation law firm will sort through your paperwork and set you up with exceptional doctors as soon as possible.
Take the story in this article as an example of how insurance adjusters can mislead injured workers. A waitress slipped on the job and fractured her knee. When a regular customer, who happens to write a Workers Compensation blog, asked if the insurance company treated her well, the waitress replied “”Workers’ comp? Those workers’ comp people were terrible. They were worthless.” Apparently, the Emergency Room doctor advised the waitress to follow up with an orthopedic specialist the following Monday, but that Monday morning she received a call from the insurance adjuster. She was told she could not see an orthopedist for 7-10 days. Obviously the adjuster was wrong—you shouldn’t wait 7-10 days to treat a fractured knee. Fortunately, the waitress had the wherewithal and ability to still get treatment, but she had to bill her personal health insurance.
This is not to say that adjusters decline to pay for treatment maliciously. But it is simply not their job to look out for the best interest of an injured worker. That’s the injured worker’s attorney’s job. Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation is complex and constantly evolving, and navigating the system alone can lead to lost rights and very negative outcomes. It is always worth at least consulting with a Workers’ Compensation attorney to make sure you are getting what the law says you should.
Joshua Slavin, Esquire