Q. What benefits are injured workers' entitled to according to PA law?
A. You may qualify for wage loss and medical expense benefits. Compensation calculations are complicated. Benefits are usually 2/3s of your average paycheck and are tax-free. Disfigurement or loss of the use of a limb, may qualify you for additional benefits. PA law does not allow for pain and suffering, however, some dependents of a deceased injured worker may qualify for benefits.
Q. Can I get a lump sum settlement for my work injury?
A. Employers and their workers' compensation carriers sometimes offer cash settlements. Our attorneys can help you evaluate your claim and represent you in settlement negotiations to help you maximize your entitlement. Remember, you should never sign settlement documents without consulting an attorney.
Q. When do I need an attorney?
A. Workers' compensation law is complicated. If your employer asks you to sign paperwork related to your work injury or you have questions about your basic rights, you should schedule a consultation. Shoap Law Offices, will provide an initial consultation free of charge.
Q. Are benefits for pain and suffering paid?
A. Unfortunately, PA workers' compensation law denies benefits for pain and suffering. This is one of the advantages for employers in PA workers' compensation law.
Q. What if my injury was my fault or my employer's fault?
A. Negligence by an Employee or Employer does not affect a PA workers' compensation case. It is a "no-fault" system, where negligence is not relevant.
Q. Should I report my injury to my employer?
A. Yes. If you were injured at work, you need to report your injury to your employer or a supervisor as soon as possible, preferably within 21 days of the injury. Notice must be provided within 120 days of the injury. Some conditions, like carpal tunnel syndrome, develop gradually and every work day may be considered a new injury. Shoap Law Offices can provide you with more information about this and other issues regarding your claim.
Q. Do I have to treat with a company doctor?
A. In PA, your employer has the right to choose a "panel" of medical providers for you to see for treatment for the first 90 days after your injury. Your employer must inform you of the "panel list" at the time of your injury. If you do not seek treatment with the panel doctors, your employer may refuse to pay for medical treatment received during the first 90 days after your injury. In an emergency situation, however, you may always treat at an emergency room.
Social Security Disability FAQs
Q. What is Social Security's definition of disability?
A. A person is disabled if they are unable to maintain gainful employment due to a physical or mental impairment which will or has lasted 12 or more continuous months.
Q. What is the difference between Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SK)?
A. SSD is based on your work history and payroll deductions paid to Social Security. Generally, you must have: 1) paid taxes for at least 40 calendar quarters and 2) worked during five of the past ten years. Those disabled before age 31 need fewer quarters of coverage. SSI provides income assistance for the disabled even if they have never worked. Shoap Law Offices can tell you about income and asset limits for this program.
Q. How do I file my claim for disability?
A. File online at www.ssa.gov or contact your local Social Security office to start your application.
Q. When do I need an attorney?
A. We generally recommend that you contact an attorney if your claim is denied at the initial decision level. If Shoap Law Offices represents you, we will help make sure your file is fully developed. One of our attorneys will appear at the hearing with you and present your case to an Administrative Law Judge.
Q. How much will an attorney charge me?
A. Federal law limits what attorneys can charge. The usual charge is a contingent fee of 25% of past due benefits. We only get paid for our legal services if we win your case.
Q. Can I receive benefits for the time period before I filed my claim?
A. SSD benefits can be paid retroactively covering up to one year before you filed your claim. There are many things that determine your benefit entitlement. Shoap Law Offices can help you understand what your benefits will be. SSI benefits cannot be paid retroactively.
Q. Will I get medical coverage if my claim is approved?
A. Medicare coverage is available after you receive SSD benefits for 24 months excluding any waiting periods. In SSI claims, Medicaid coverage is generally provided.