The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has affirmed a workers' compensation judge's denial of benefits to a man injured while driving to work.
Penn Record reports the three-judge panel upheld dismissal of the employee's claim of injury benefits associated with a January 2015 car accident. The man claims he was a "traveling employee" on his way to a job site at the time of the accident. The workers' compensation judge found no exception to the "coming-and-going rule"; instead, he found the claimant was en route to a fixed job location.
The "coming-and-going rule" maintains employees commuting to or from the job, with some exceptions, are not entitled to workers' compensation benefits. It's a critical rule upon which many transportation accidents hinge. Many employees drive as part of their job. In fact, transportation accidents are the most common type of work accident nationwide.
But this is just one of many rules that could lead to a delay or denial in your workers' compensation case.
Legal Help with Delays and Denials in Work Injury Cases
Injured employees should contact an experienced work injury lawyer in Philadelphia at the outset of their case. While the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act is meant to provide timely benefits to injured workers, those without experienced legal help often find denial and lengthy delay to be routine tactics used by the system to limit payout.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry outlines the steps to filing a workers' compensation claim, including:
- Notify employer: Injured workers should report an injury immediately. Injuries not reported within 120 days (except progressive diseases) may be barred.
- Notice of denial: Your employer must notify the workers' compensation insurance carrier, which has 21 days to issue a denial. Insurers will typically issue a denial as a routine business practice.
- Temporary compensation: May be issued by an insurer to extend the investigation period to 90 days, before an insurer accepts or denies liability.
If an insurer denies liability, a "Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation" will be issued. If it accepts, a "Notice of Compensation Payable" will be issued. Having an experienced Philadelphia work injury attorney can help get you paid at this stage of a case; however, in many cases, a work-injury claim is denied and a claim petition must go before a workers' compensation judge. Having experienced legal help at the outset of your case can help prepare your case for success when it goes before a judge or is heard on appeal.
Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Hearing and Appeals Process
One or more hearings may be held before a workers' compensation judge, who will hear medical evidence and other witnesses. At this point, a judge may order mediation. If a case cannot reach settlement, a judge will render a written decision.
Following a judge's decision, either party has 20 days to file an appeal with the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board. While this may seem like the end of the road, this is often where an injured worker is finally successful in obtaining benefits to which he or she is entitled.
Only after a decision by the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board can either party appeal the board's opinion to the Commonwealth Court. Following a ruling by Commonwealth Court, a final appeal may be made to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
An experienced workers' compensation attorney at the Law Offices Of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC can help guide you through the process. Contact us today to discuss your options.