Whose Side Are Your Lawyers On? Yours or Theirs?
We routinely represent injured workers who are seeking benefits, or trying to retain their benefits, in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation cases. We also represent medical providers who haven’t been paid for treating injured workers. Representing medical providers means we are assuring that their bills are paid, otherwise they might not be able to provide the care injured workers need and deserve.
When representing medical providers, we are also privy to parts of a worker’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation file relevant to our clients’ claims. What we see is interesting.
Why? Because there are multiple ways to handle claims. One is to do everything possible to assure that our clients have the time necessary to get better, while also receiving their wage losses. We call this “monitoring” a file, and it means that clients get their weekly or biweekly wage losses and we provide assistance, generally without a fee.
There are some law firms, however, that file a Petition to Review Compensation Benefits in almost every case. While there are many situations when this approach makes sense, in many situations doing so works against the injured worker’s interests.
First, when a Petition is filed, lawyers can ask the Workers’ Compensation Judge to approve payment of a fee, which means the lawyer now gets 20 percent of the client’s comp check.
Second, when a Petition is filed, it gives an employer a virtually automatic right to get a defense medical exam, where their doctor can say the injured worker is fully recovered and can do everything, including leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Once their doctor says a worker is fine, employers can try to stop the workers’ comp checks – forever.
In addition, when a Petition is filed it means that the parties go to mediation, a fancy name for a settlement conference. At times, mediation is a great idea, at others it means a quick settlement that does not max out the injured worker’s potential recovery. And it means that the lawyer can get a quick fee. Again, this may benefit the lawyer more than the client.
Our office doesn’t file automatic Review Petitions. We actually consider the client’s best interests. At the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC, we will only file a petition when it is right for you, not when it is right for us. We will act as your attorney, monitoring your claim, free of charge, until circumstances warrant us filing something on your behalf. When that time comes, we will do whatever is best for our client, not our bottom line.