There is an old proverb to the effect that ignorance of the law is no excuse. In fact, the sentiment is so old that the original version was in Latin. It means that, in criminal cases, a defendant can’t escape prosecution by saying he didn’t understand the rules.
We Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys, who operate in civil court, have our own version of the proverb: “Ignorance of the law will get a client in trouble every time.” What we mean is that the average client hasn’t spent years studying the law (as we have). He is very likely to make an innocent, little mistake that can have devastating effects on his Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim down the road.
Of course, nowadays, there is no reason not to understand your legal rights in advance. At Schmidt Kramer, we believe that everyone should know what protection they have in the workplace. That’s why we give away our client book, Who Pays The Bills When You Are Injured At Work?, for FREE to anyone in Pennsylvania who wants a copy. Just go to the book order page on our website, or call us at 888-476-0807 to request your copy. This is essential legal information, and we want you to have it with no cost and no obligation.
The worst things you can do after your Pennsylvania workplace injury
It will take time to read that whole book, so let’s highlight what may be the most important thing you need to know today—the key mistakes that can hurt your workers’ compensation case in Harrisburg or the surrounding communities.
See, it works this way: if you have been injured in a workplace accident in Pennsylvania or you suffer from an occupational disease, the law provides that your only remedy is your Pennsylvania workers’ comp. Your regular health insurance will not pay for an on-the-job injury. You get workers’ comp, or you have to pay out of pocket for your own care.
If you do something wrong to mess up your comp claim, then you’re stuck with the bill.
So here are the six things you must not do after getting hurt at work in Pennsylvania:
- You must not fail to seek medical care. A lot of workers want to tough it out after an accident on the job. This is no time to play games. Demand an ambulance and emergency medical care if your injury appears serious or if it is painful. You have the right to go to any physician you choose for emergency care.
- You must not delay in reporting your injury. As soon as you are able, report the accident or occupational disease to your supervisor. Insist on a formal, written injury report, and get a copy for your records. Do not be swayed by a boss that wants to keep the company’s accident record clean.
- You must not fail to follow the doctor’s orders. You may be required to be treated by a doctor who has been approved by your employer. Follow his instructions, take all prescribed medicines, and report back for any follow-up appointments.
- You must not deal with the insurance company casually. Assume that the insurance company paying for your care wants to cut off your workers’ compensation as soon as possible (because it’s probably true). Be very cautious when speaking to your insurance case manager. Don’t tell her you’re “doing fine” or “feeling pretty good today.” Any conversation with insurance company officials should be brief and to the point. Never agree to have the conversation recorded.
- You must not sign anything without checking it over carefully with your attorney first. Your employer or the insurance company may offer you a settlement deal. Read the fine print. You may be giving up a claim worth thousands of dollars in the future for a modest payment today. Don’t sign away your legal rights to a recovery.
- You must not delay in hiring a lawyer. While you are recovering from your injuries, you need an experienced legal advocate who can look out for your interests. Your Dauphin County health benefits lawyer can negotiate for you with the insurance company or use the courts to prevent your employer from terminating your workers’ compensation money.
We have more answers available
Schmidt Kramer has a regional reputation for vigorously defending our clients’ workers’ compensation claims. Our team of workers’ compensation attorneys in Harrisburg is ready to jump into action on your behalf. Call us today at 717-888-8888 or (717) 888-8888 toll-free to schedule a free, confidential case review. We accept no legal fees unless we are able to get a recovery for your case.