You would think that when you are injured at work, the responsibility of taking care of your injuries would lie with your employer. After all, you were hurt while doing your job, and logic would point to your employer pushing for your recovery as much as (or more than) you are. The sooner you recover, the sooner you can return to work—so working together to reach an appropriate resolution seems best.
Unfortunately, in matters of workers’ compensation claims and appeals, that is not the case. When you are injured, it is up to you to prove your injuries. In appeals, you must prove that your injuries were actually the result of your work. While you may have done all the right things, including reporting your injury to your employer, meeting deadlines, and seeing company-approved doctors, this may not be enough.
The importance of a strong legal team, especially in workers’ compensation denial appeals, was highlighted recently in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. As reported in the press, James Dershem, an employee with Dean Puderbaugh Trucking at the time of his injury in 2011, was preparing a water tank at a fracking site in Hepburnville when he was sprayed by water. The water reached his eyes, which he flushed out with bottled water, but he later sought treatment for blurred vision.
Dershem claimed that chemicals used in the tanks were responsible for his vision loss, but his claim was denied after Dean Puderbaugh Trucking disputed the accident’s occurrence, stating that the water in the tank Dershem was working on was fresh water.
Why a Strong Legal Team Is Important in Workers’ Compensation Hearings
Dershem’s hearing before a workers’ compensation judge included two expert witnesses. Dershem’s expert witness was a general family practice physician who had not treated him for any eye injuries, while the defense called an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist performed an eye examination and argued that Dershem’s eye damage could not have been caused by a chemical spray to the face. The judge found this to be credible proof and denied Mr. Dershem’s total disability benefits and medical bills.
Dershem’s case is one of many that may have gone differently had the claimant met their burden of proof to tie injuries to work-related accidents. When injured workers face resistance from their employer or the workers’ compensation insurance, seeking an experienced attorney immediately is crucial to strengthening their case.
At Schmidt Kramer, our years of experience mean that you are investing in a strong legal team that has the resources and network necessary to provide you with the solid representation you deserve, from your own attorney down to credible expert witnesses. If you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits, do not waste time—seek the help of the Lancaster workers’ compensation attorneys at Schmidt Kramer today.