So let’s talk about the process of applying for workers’ compensation.
The initial application – or claim petition is what we call it – is relatively simple to complete. Something that I can do online on my computer. Once it’s filed with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it’ll be assigned to an administrative law judge within the Commonwealth based on where the claimant resides.
You’ll have a first hearing with the judge, the judge will set a trial schedule – very clear deadlines for when things have to be done.
The claimant will testify by deposition. The client will be sworn in under oath and the defense attorney and I will ask questions while the court reporter records everything.
I always meet with the client beforehand to talk to them about what to expect and what to look out for.
The next step after that will be the insurance company or the employer will request an IME. An IME is an Independent Medical Exam. The insurance company gets to pick a doctor and the client goes to see that doctor for an examination.
The doctor then sends a report to the insurance company or the employer – not the the claimant.
Once that’s done, medical depositions are taken. Claimant’s treating physician will testify by deposition, the IME doctor will testify by deposition. Then there will usually be a final hearing where the claimant will come before the judge and testify before the judge and the judge gets a chance to assess that person’s credibility and see them, put a face to the case. It is very important that the judge finds an injured worker empathetic.
And then when all the evidence is in we write legal arguments, called briefs, about why we should win and they should lose.
I’m Geoffrey Hillsberg. I’m a workers’ compensation attorney. I’ve represented injured workers throughout the Greater Philadelphia area for over 25 years. If you’ve been injured at work and need to apply for workers’ compensation or even for a consultation about your case, contact me today.