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How To Use This Section Of Our Wesbite

If you have a question about Workers Compensation or Social Security, you’ve come to the right place.

We have answered hundreds of questions our clients have asked us over the years right on this site.

Just look to the right and you’ll see a section that says “Have A Question?”. Just type your question in the box and click Search.

If we have an answer and other information related to your question on this site, it will show on the screen for you.

If we do not have your answer, it’s okay. Just pick up the phone and call us at 877-291-9675.

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An Excellent and Ethical Claimant’s Advocate

I highly recommend Mr. Cook. He has represented more than once and consistently remained calm, professional, supportive and provided great guidance. With his assurance I was able to represent myself appropriately when called to do so. In addition, he made sure to address all my concerns and kept me focused on achieving my goals.

Anonymous Review on AVVO – Sept 8, 2016

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Proper Evaluation for Future Medical Care for Serious Head Injuries is Paramount.

Serious head trauma from a Pennsylvania work injury can be extremely difficult on the injured worker and on their family.  Often the injured worker’s life changes in ways that are hard to imagine from not being able to care for themselves any longer to drastic changes in their behavior and personality.  Caring for these injured workers is not only difficult on their families but  it can be challenging to find the proper medical facilities and assistance programs that will be needed as part of a life-long care plan.  These are all concerns that their PA Workers’ Compensation Attorney needs to keep in mind when adjudicating or settling their Workers’ Compensation claim for a serious head injury.

Injured workers may need specialized rehabilitation and lifelong nursing care depending on the severity head-injury.  Specialists should be brought to perform  neuropsychological evaluations to see what medical treatments and programs the injured worker may need in the future.  A quick settlement may not be in the best interest of the injured worker.  Giving the injured worker time to use the benefits of the Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Insurance Carrier to develop a baseline of care maybe advisable to better understand how the injured worker is recovering and if future inpatient or outpatient care will be required.

If you suffered a head injury while working in Pennsylvania, call the team at Calhoon and Associates for  a free case evaluation.  We are here to provide you and your family with trusted answers and peace of mind.

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Can surveillance video be taken with a drone in my PA workers compensation case?

The short answer is yes.  The laws around the use and restrictions of use for drones in Pennsylvania are still emerging.  The popularity and use of drones in surveillance have dramatically increased in the last couple years and lawmakers are scrambling to keep up.  Several Pennsylvania law makers have proposed tighter regulations around the use of drones in Pennsylvania to address Fourth Amendment privacy concerns.  A recent Federal ruling has allowed the use of drones for commercial use and the FAA has setup new registration requirements.  Some of the FAA operating restrictions are that a drone cannot fly higher than 400 feet due to airplane traffic and the drone must be in the visual site of the operator.  What does all this mean for my Pa Workers Comp Case?

Simply put the use of drones to get surveillance video is allowed.  However, I doubt it will be utilized as a primary way to get video surveillance on an injured worker.  There are problems with the use of drones; they are loud, the battery life for flight time is short and the angle of the video is not good.    This is all contrary to what private investigators want.  They don’t want to let the injured worker know they are watching and they often sit for hours to get minutes of video.   Most likely the use of drones will be for pre-surveillance activities; to see over fences or in rural areas where homes are far off the road to determine in the injured worker is at home; or if their vehicle is on the property.  Then setup their surveillance cameras based on the information obtained from the drone video.  Surveillance is a part of the Employer’s arsenal in a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation case and drones may become a regular part of it.  As with all surveillance techniques, as long as the injured worker is staying within their treating physician’s work restrictions they shouldn’t worry.

If you are on Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation and you think you are being watched by the insurance company.  Call the team at Calhoon and Associates for a free case evaluation, 717-695-4722.

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Labor Day was born by the blood, sweat and dreams of hard working Americans.

Even before Pennsylvania passed its first Workers’ Compensation Laws in 1915, Pennsylvania recognized its labor force in the late 1880s with a Labor day.  The first Labor day was in New York City on September 5, 1982.  It was organized by the Central Labor Union and they encouraged other Unions to follow its lead.  By 1985 the idea of Labor Day had spread like wild fire through other states and continued to grow in popularity over the next few years.  On June 28, 1894, Congress enacted a law that stated the first Monday of September each year would be a national holiday.

Labor day was the creation of labor movement of the 1880’s and is a day dedicated to the social and economic achievements of the great American worker.  The day is an annual tribute to the all American workers who’s  accomplishments have made our country one of great strength and prosperity.  Brick by brick, America was built by the blood, sweat and dreams of its workers.  The American worker’s drive and dedication continues to make our Country great, prosperous and the envy of other nations.

For this the team at Calhoon and Associates pays tribute to the hard working American’s and we are thankful that we have opportunity to serve them in their time of need by giving to them trusted answers and the peace of mind that they deserve.

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5 STARS

I was injured at work and really needed help navigating through the worker’s comp process. Mr. Calhoun and his team were excellent and will guide you every step of the way. Communication with him and his staff is outstanding. You never have to wait days for an answer; he responds very promptly. His office is fully automated so I kept everything on my computer minimizing the amount of paperwork. He deserves 5 stars and I would highly recommend him and his team to any injured worker.

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WHY DO I NEED TO HAVE A DOCTOR’S DEPOSITION IN A PA WORK COMP CASE?

I’m sure you were told by someone that you need or should have your treating doctor testify or their deposition be taken in your PA Workers’ Comp case and you are not sure why this is needed.

First, a review of the law. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act says that the deposition of a doctor must be taken where the case involves a year or more off work. This comes up in two situations:
1. Where the injured worker files a Claim Petition and disability ( time off work) will be more than a year, or
2. Where the WC Insurance Company/Employer files a Petition for Termination.

What is a deposition? Its an actual Worker’ Compensation court hearing held in the doctor’s office. The Doctor is sworn in by the Court Reporter, just like in a courtroom. The lawyer for the Injured Worker and the lawyer for the Employer/Insurance Company each ask questions.  The whole conversation of questions and answers are written up in a transcript by the court reporter and given to the WC Judge as an official exhibit.

How much do depositions cost? That is up to the doctor; there is no law or regulation which tells a doctor what they can charge for a deposition in Workers’ Compensation cases.  In Central PA, depositions are in the $1,500 to $3,000 range; plus the cost of the court reporter.

Why is it a good idea to take a deposition of your doctor? Because a deposition allows the doctor to explain in detail the history, the examination, the results of tests, consultations with other doctors and then give their opinions on the nature and extent of disability. The doctor can also discuss the opinions of opposing IME doctor hired by the WC insurance company and explain why they are wrong.  Also, Doctors are busy people. Sometimes, their reports and letters are written by an assistant or nurse and that won’t happen in a Work Comp deposition. There the doctor in person explains the whole medical picture.

Will an Injured Worker get their money back that they spent on a deposition? Yes, if their case is won in front of the Workers’ Compensation Judge or the case settles and the cost is negotiated into the settlement.

Do you have additional questions about your Workers’ Compensation case; or you have recently been injured on the job and are having difficulties with your worker’s compensation benefits? If so, contact the team at Calhoon & Associates at 1-877-291-9675 for answers to your questions and a Free Case Evaluation.

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SHOULD I RETURN TO SELF EMPLOYMENT WORK AFTER A WORK INJURY?

The short answer is it can be in your financial best interest to return to self employment after a work injury.  While self-employment earnings are not considered concurrent employment at the time of your injury to increase your average weekly wage calculation or your compensation rate, a return to self employment will not reduce your workers’ compensation weekly payments if you earn the same or less in the self employment as you did earn from the self employment prior to the injury. Normally, earnings do decrease the weekly compensation unless the person is receiving the maximum compensation rate and two thirds the difference between the A.W.W. and the new gross pay still exceeds the maximum Temporary Total Disability (TTD) rate.  If the injured worker was earning $700.00 per week in gross pay from their employer at the time of injury and was also earning $300.00 per week on the side in self employment, the TTD compensation rate would be $466.66 per week (2/3rds of $700 because the $300 in self employment earnings are unfairly ignored in the calculation).  If several months later the injured worker is able to return the  self-employment and earns $300.00 per week, they still collect $466.66 per week on top of the $300.00 for a total of $766.66 minus any applicable tax on the $300.00. If the injured worker did not have self-employment before the injury, any earnings (w-2 or thru self-employment) would decrease the compensation rate (assuming the injured worker is not receiving the maximum compensation rate). In the above example, the new compensation rate would be $266.66 per week.  However, a return to work, self-employment or otherwise, would start the 500 week clock on partial disability benefits left. If the injured worker, in the above example, earns $400.00 per week after the injury by retuning to self-employment, the partial compensation rate would be calculated to be $400.00 per week.  If this sounds confusing or if you are not sure what is in your best interest, give us a call and we can guide you.  If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you may be entitled to Pennsylvania workers’ comp benefits.  Contact an experienced Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer at Calhoon & Associates at 877-291-9675 for more information.   Be sure to order a FREE copy of our book, 7 Deadly Sins That Can Destroy Your Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Case.

 

 

 

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IRON WORKER BEATS LABOR MARKET SURVEY MODIFICATION PETITON

Defendant’s Modification Petition and Petition for Review of Utilization Determination denied and Claimant’s Review Petition to expand the accepted description of injury granted.

Bennett (name changed for this summary), an Iron Worker,  was injured in the course of his employment in Ephrata, PA. State Workers’ Insurance Fund, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier for the employer, had issued a Notice of Compensation Payable (NTCP) on January 20, 2006 for Mr. Bennett’s August 17, 2005 injury described as groin / bilateral inguinal hernia.

Defendant filed a Modification Petition based upon a labor market survery seeking to have Mr. Bennett’s benefits modified (reduced). Defendant also filed a Utilization Review regarding Dr. Midcap’s treatments.  A Utilization Review Determination was issued which found that Mr. Bennett’s treatment with Dr. Midcap, including prescription medications, were unreasonable and unnecessary for his work injury.  We filed a Petition for Review of the UR Determination.  We also filed a Review Petition seeking to have the accepted description of injury amended to include entrapment of the genitofemoral nerve and ilioinguinal nerve.

Mr. Bennett testified that he has had four surgeries for his work injury and that he continues to have pain and symptoms that keep him from working and that he has been treating with Dr. Midcap since 2008. Mr. Bennett also testified that he had applied for the jobs listed in the Labor Market Survey but that none were offered to him. Dr. Midcap testified at a deposition that he continues to treat Mr. Bennett monthly, he disapproved the jobs listed in the Labor Market Survey, that he has not released him to any level of work and that Mr. Bennett is 100% disabled from any type of work. Mr. Bennett also underwent a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) which found that he did not meet the sedentary physical demand level standards.  Dr. Pharo, the IME physician, had previously testified that an FCE provides a more definitive and objective assessment of restrictions. The FCE clearly demonstrated Mr. Bennett could not perform sedentary work.

The parties stipulated that based upon Dr. Pharo’s deposition, Mr. Bennett’s description of injury would be amended to include entrapment of the genitofermoral nerve and the ilioinguinal nerve, a recurrent hernia and a labral tear of the right hip which required arthroscopic surgery.

The Judge granted Mr. Bennett’s Review Petition based upon the stipulation outlined above. The Judge denied Defendant’s Modification Petition finding that Defendant failed to meet its burden of proving that there was work available within Mr. Bennett’s restrictions.  He found Dr. Midcap to be more credible than the IME opinion.  The Judge also granted our Petition for Review of Utilization Review Determination finding that Dr. Midcap’s treatment rendered to Mr. Bennett was reasonable and necessary for his work injury.

The Judge awarded the continued payment of Mr. Bennett’s wage loss benefits and medical benefits related to his work injury as well as costs of litigation.

If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you may be entitled to Pennsylvania workers’ comp benefits.  Contact an experienced Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer at Calhoon & Associates at 877-291-9675 for more information.

Be sure to order a FREE copy of our book,
7 Deadly Sins That Can Destroy Your Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Case.

 

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Reinstate and Review Petitions granted and Termination Petition denied.

 

Karl Langston (name changed for this summary) was injured in the course of his employment in Jim Thorpe, PA. Inservco, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier for the employer, issued a Notice of Compensation Payable (NCP) on February 11, 2015 for Mr. Langston’s January 29, 2015 injury described as a left wrist sprain.  Claimant’s benefits were suspended on February 9, 2015 when he returned to work.

We filed a Reinstatement Petition seeking wage loss benefits because Mr. Langston stopped working due to having to undergo surgery for his work injury. We also filed a Review Petition seeking to have the accepted description of injury be amended to include left wrist carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Defendant filed a Termination Petition on October 15, 2015 alleging that Mr. Langston was determined to have been found fully recovered from his work injury.

Mr. Langston testified that he worked as a dump truck operator and that in the winter he was required to constantly hammer frozen cold patch which caused him to experience tingling and electric shocks in his left arm and hand. Dr. Battista, his treating physician, reported that an EMG study taken February 13, 2015 revealed he had left carpal tunnel syndrome. He had to undergo left carpal tunnel decompression on March 12th, 2015 for his work injury and returned to work on March 30, 2015.  Dr. Battista reported that his development of carpal tunnel syndrome after twelve years of using vibratory tools and jackhammers came as no surprise.

The IME physician, Dr. Banas, testified that although Mr. Langston did have carpal tunnel syndrome, he did not believe that it was work related. He based his opinions on this because the accident investigation report failed to document that Mr. Langston had numbness in his left hand and because an emergency department treatment reported numbness in his fourth and fifth fingers which was inconsistent with carpal tunnel syndrome.  The Judge disagreed with Dr. Banas’ findings and reported that he based his opinions on documentation that was not prepared by Mr. Langston and/or non-medical statements.  The Judge also reported that the undisputed EMG study revealed bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Judge found Mr. Langston to be credible which was also further enhanced by the fact that Dr. Battista had reported that he was eager to return to work as soon as he was able. The Judge found that Dr. Battista was more credible than the IME physician because he began treating Claimant several days after his injury occurred and ultimately also performed his surgery.

The Judge granted Mr. Langston’s Reinstatement Petition for the time periods he missed from work due to his work injury from January 30, 2015 – March 29, 2015 and the continued payment of related medical bills.   The Judge granted the Review Petition and Mr. Langston’s accepted description of injury was amended to include left carpal tunnel syndrome, status post left carpal tunnel release.  The Judge also dismissed the Defendant’s Termination Petition.

If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you may be entitled to Pennsylvania workers’ comp benefits.  Contact an experienced Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer at Calhoon & Associates at 877-291-9675 for more information.

Be sure to order a FREE copy of our book,
7 Deadly Sins That Can Destroy Your Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Case.

 

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$115,000 Work Comp Settlement for Meniscus Tear/Knee Injury

An employee from Harrisburg, PA, working as a currier for FedEx, sustained a work injury described as a left knee meniscus tear in December 2012, which the insurance carrier, Sedgwick CMS accepted.  In late 2014, the insurance carrier had the injured worker attend an independent medical examination and the IME physician reported that the employee’s diagnoses were left knee and swelling status post work related injury secondary to lateral meniscal tear and exacerbation and left knee operative arthroscopy with partial lateral meniscectomy.  The IME physician also reported that the injured worker required restrictions secondary to her pre-existing osteoarthritis and were not related to the work injury. The insurance carrier then filed a Termination Petition alleging that the injured worker was fully recovered from her injury.  While the case was actively being litigated, the claim ultimately settled for $115,000 via a compromise and release.  Including the settlement, the injured worker received $190,404.35 in wage loss benefits  and $24,399.44 in medical benefits for her work injury.If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you may be entitled to Pennsylvania workers’ comp benefits.  Contact an experienced Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer at Calhoon & Associates at 877-291-9675 for more information.   Be sure to order a FREE copy of our book, 7 Deadly Sins That Can Destroy Your Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Case.

 

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POLICE OFFICER CRUSHES EMPLOYER ATTEMPT TO STOP HEART AND LUNG BENEFITS

 We are pleased to report a recent and significant victory in a Heart and Lung case involving one of our clients and his employer, a local police department. We were able to stop the attempt of the police department to cut off the benefits being paid to an injured police officer. He  seriously injured his knee while coming to the aid of  a customer who was having a heart attack at a local restaurant.  

First, some background on the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act.  Certain jobs are so dangerous that the Pennsylvania Legislature created the Heart and Lung Act to pay full salary  during times of  disability caused by a work injury instead of the  usual 2/3 of wages paid in Workers Compensation cases. Employees covered by the Heart and Lung Act include State Police,  all other Police, Firemen, Parole Agents and Liquor Control Board Officers.  Corrections Officers and Residential Aides in certain state hospitals are covered by similar laws Called Acts 534 and 632.

 Injuries have to be temporary to be covered by Heart and Lung  and have to prevent the injured employee from performing the essential functions of his or her job.  Unlike Workers Compensation; Heart and Lung cases are heard by the municipalities involved and there is no statewide process for administering , hearing and deciding claims. Likewise, there is no civil service-protected Administrative Law Judge system protected by Civil Service; Heart and Lung cases are heard and decided by a variety of individuals who might be an arbitrator, a lawyer, a commissioner or a hearing officer. There isn’t even a uniform paper to file requesting Heart and Lung benefits. 

Much of the litigation in Heart and Lung cases involves the question of permanency. Heart and Lung benefits by law are paid for disability that is temporary in duration; however, there is no standard definition of permanency. 

In our case, there were two injuries , one to each knee of the police officer. 

Injury #1 Left knee.  The police office  injured his left knee aiding a restaurant customer. He returned to work and those workers’ compensation benefits were suspended and remain suspended today.   

Surgery #1 repair of meniscus and cartilage followed by physical therapy.

Surgery #2 another operation to fix the damaged left meniscus.

Surgery #3 another surgery to try and correct surgeries 1 and 2.

Surgery #4 total knee replacement, left knee. After the knee replacement, the injured police officer recovered and was able to participate in a Triathlon within 10 months. The police officer returned to work full duty for one year. 

Injury #2 Right Knee. The police officer injured his right knee giving CPR to a  gunshot victim.  We had to file a Claim Petition to receive compensation for this injury and that petition had to go all the way to a decision. Because he was also awarded Heat & Lung benefits, there were no attorney fees charged to the injured worker.

Surgery #5 partial knee replacement of right knee. The police officer was released to light duty but the police department could not accommodate him and he continued to receive Heart and Lung benefits.  Claimant resumed running and weight lifting although he reported pain in both knees if pushed.  

At this point, the injured office had an IME ( employer’s medical exam) performed by Dr. Prebola

Surgery #6 Claimant had a lateral release performed. in December 2015. He developed an infection.

Surgery #7 The prosthetic was removed to treat the infection.

Surgery #8 Surgery to irrigate the joint, remove the necrotic bone and implant antibiotic capsules.

Surgery # 9  Total knee replacement.   

The Municipality filed to stop Heart and Lung benefits soon after surgery #6 claiming that the police officer’s condition was permanent.  Dr Prebola testified  that the claimant would never be able to return to his job as a police officer because of his extensive injuries.  

The police officer was represented pro bono, free of charge,  in the Heart and Lung case by calhoon & associates who argued that:

-Dr Prebola had not seen all of the medical records from the surgeries #s 6, 7, 8 and 9.

-that the medical evidence presented by the Municipality was not sufficient to sustain their burden of proving that the condition was permanent.

-medical studies show that individuals with total knee replacements do participate in high impact sports.

-that the police office was still recovering from surgery at the time that the Municipality filed the court case to stop his Heart and Lung benefits and the question of recovery and permanency was premature. In other words, at this juncture is was premature to speculate as to the long term prognosis as he just underwent surgeries to get better.    

The Special Hearing Master agreed with our arguments and dismissed the case brought by the Municipality, noting that the claimant had recovered from his left knee injury and that no evidence had been presented to show he  would not recover from the right knee injury. 

Result: The Municipality lost and the police officer continues to receive Heart and Lung benefits. If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you may be entitled to Pennsylvania workers’ comp benefits.  Contact an experienced Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer at Calhoon & Associates at 877-291-9675 for more information.   Be sure to order a FREE copy of our book, 7 Deadly Sins That Can Destroy Your Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Case.

 

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Are your Workers’ Compensation Benefits taxed by the IRS?

Under most situations the answer is no. Gross income for the IRS does not include amounts that are received under Workmens’ Compensation Acts as compensation for a personal injury or sickness.  (Title 26 Internal Revenue Code, Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Subchapter B, Part III, § 104(a)(1)).

However, if you receive interest on back owed compensation benefits that interest maybe taxable.  Additionally, if you are receiving social security benefits there maybe tax on those Social Security benefits even if you never received them.  Read our blog about United States Tax Court in Flores V. Commissioner No. 2005-57 that explains social security benefits and workers compensation in more detail.

The information above is intended to provide general information.  Your tax professional should be consulted, if you have additional questions about your specific tax situation.

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Do I have to Settle My Medical?

The short answer is no. Your  medical bills are payable by the Workers Compensation insurance company, unless you agree to settle them in you if your settlement agreement.  (Formally, known as a Compromise & Release Agreement).  Almost anything is negotiable in a Workers Compensation settlement in Pennsylvania. An injured worker can agree to “ leave medical open” ie, reasonable and necessary medical bills are to continue to be paid, or can injured worker can agree to “close medical”.  Or, it can be agreed that medical bills are payable for a limited period of time such as 6 months, 1  year or 3 years.

During settlement negotiations; the WC insurance company will put a lot of pressure on the injured worker to close medical. Frequently, the medical side of the case is worth more than the wage loss side.

There are important points to keep in mind, especially if medical bills are kept open after a settlement:

  1. Only  bills related to the injury will be paid.
  2. The WC insurance company always has the right to challenge the bills.
  3. The WC insurance company  will be more likely to challenge bills  as time passes.
  4. The Description of Injury should be very carefully looked at at the time of settlement. For example. Lets say that the WC insurance company has been paying the bill for:
    1. An orthopedic surgeon for treatment of the injured workers back;
    2.  and psychiatric bills for post traumatic stress disorder caused by the injury.
      1. The Description of Injury contained in the Notice of Compensation Payable and repeated in the Compromise & Release document describes the injury as “back sprain”. Medical bills are “kept open” in the settlement.  45 days after settlement,  surgical bills for surgery occurring a week after settlement and psychiatric bills are not paid. 
      2. Result? The injured worker can’t get the bills paid because surgery is not reasonable for a back sprain and the psychiatric injury was never “accepted” ie, described specifically in the Notice of Compensation Payable and Compromise & Release. The injured worker’s lawyer did not put language in the Compromise & Release describing the injury accurately AND did not preserve the right to file a Petition to Review to change the Description of Injury. So, its too late since past payment of medical bills by the WC insurance carrier is NOT formal acceptance.

Note here that the injured worker’s attorney may have kept the Description of Injury vague to avoid problems with Medicare. But, the point of this story is to remind injured workers of how important it is to get the Compromise & Release Agreement (settlement document) properly worded.  If you are settling your case on your own, you should contact an attorney to review your case.  Calhoon and Associates will review your case for free and explain your rights in words you can understand.

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$145,000 settlement to nurse practice educator

An employee from Millersville, PA, working as a nurse practice educator / Assistant Director of Nursing for Genesis Healthcare Group, sustained a work injury described as “lower back, left wrist, left hip and neck sprain / strain” in December 2014, which the insurance carrier, Broadspire Services, Inc., accepted via a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable.  The injured worker had to undergo extensive rotator cuff surgery in April 2015.  The insurance carrier issued a Notice of Suspension in May 2015 alleging that the injured worker had returned to work at earnings equal to or greater than her time of injury earnings and we filed an Employee Challenge Petition.  The insurance carrier then filed a Suspension Petition alleging that the injured worker was cleared for and returned to work with her pre-injury employer in May 2015.  Workers’ Compensation Judge Robert O’Donnell issued a Decision in June 2015 granting our Employee Challenge Petition because the employee had unrebutted testimony that she had returned to work at a loss of earnings and was currently of all work as of mid-June 2015.  We then filed a Penalty Petition in August 2015 because the insurance carrier had failed to pay past partial wage loss benefits that were due to the injured worker.  In August also, the insurance carrier again issued a Notice of Suspension alleging that the injured worker had returned to work at earnings equal to or greater than her time of injury earnings and we filed an Employee Challenge Petition.  Judge O’Donnell again granted our Employee Challenge Petition because at a hearing held, the insurance carrier agreed to pay the injured worker her disability benefits based on her actual earnings.  The insurance carrier had the injured worker attend an independent medical examination and the IME physician, John F. Perry, M.D., reported that the employee’s diagnosis was left shoulder rotator cuff tear, biceps tenodesis, postoperative adhesions and possible axillary nerve palsy.  Dr. Perry also reported that she was not fully recovered from her left shoulder injury, that she needed ongoing treatment and that she could return to work under restrictions.  In March 2016, we filed a Review Petition seeking to have the description of injury be amended to include depression and mood disorder.  While the claim was actively being litigated, the claim ultimately settled for $145,000 via a compromise and release with the insurance carrier being liable for six months of medical treatment related to her work injury.

 

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$245,000.00 Work Comp Settlement for Shoulder Injury

A Teamsters Union member from Jersey Shore, PA, working as a steward/runner/fuel truck operator for OTIS Eastern, sustained a work injury described as right shoulder strain in January 2013 which the insurance carrier, Travelers & Surety Company, accepted.  In January 2014, the insurance carrier had the injured worker attend an independent medical examination with Greg Hawk, M.D., who reported that he had reached maximal medical improvement and that he could work under light duty work restrictions with no overhead use of his right arm.  The parties attended a Voluntary Mediation.  Without the need for litigation, the case ultimately settled for $245,000 via a compromise and release and the Judge approved the settlement. 

 

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WILL WORKERS COMP PAY FOR AN EMERGENCY ROOM VISIT WHERE THE EMERGENCY ROOM IS NOT ON THE PANEL?

Lets talk about the general rule first since there is a lot of confusion about this. If the employer has a posted list of doctors and has made the injured worker aware of their legal obligations in this area; the injured worker is required to treat with one of the panel doctors for the first 90 days of treatment.

Note that the “panel doctor” rule goes to payment not treatment. An injured worker can treat with any doctor they want to from day one; however, it won’t be paid for by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance unless and until the “90 day” rule for treatment has been satisfied and the Workers’ Comp claim is accepted by means of a Notice of Compensation Payable .

Many doctors are confused by this and will wrongly tell an injured worker that they can’t be treated by a independent doctor until after the 90 days. This is wrong; the injured worker can treat with both a panel and  a non- panel doctor as long as they have another way of paying the non-panel doctor during the first 90 days.

An emergency is an exception to the “90 day” rule. If an injured worker can’t wait for a panel doctor and the injury is serious; he or she can treat at the ER and it will be paid for by Workers’ Comp as long as the Workers’ Comp claim has been accepted by means of a Notice of Compensation Payable. Once the emergency subsides; however, the injured worker has to back to a panel provider during the first 90 days, if the injured worker wants the bill to be paid for by Workers’ Comp.

It is obvious that a patient needs emergency care during a medical emergency.  Sometimes; an injured worker will seek ER care after the “90 day” rule where symptoms such as pain need immediate attention  and can’t wait. It can be difficult to get ER visits paid for in this situation, if they aren’t reasonable or necessary and there are other cheaper options available. The ER should be a treatment should be of last result.  Also, from a lawyers point of view; ER doctors won’t be much help in a Workers’ Comp case since they move frequently and aren’t trained or interested in the causal connection between a work injury and the current medical problem.

If you have any questions or concerns about your ER treatment for a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation injury, call the attorneys at Calhoon and Associates for a free consultation and a free case review.

 

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SHOULD I WORK WHILE ON WORKERS’ COMP

There are good reasons to try to return to work; whether your employer wants you back or not. Here are some of them:

1. In many Pennsylvania workers’ comp cases, the insurance carrier will try and cut off or modify your payments by claiming you can return to work at  lower level work. Looking for work and keeping a log of your job search  before the insurance company starts this can help you prove just how difficult it is for you to find work after an injury

2. Trying to return to work to your time of injury employer builds your credibility which is important. Workers’ Compensation Judges  like to see that an injured worker is trying to return. If the employer wont take you back, don’t quit or get fired. Start looking elsewhere.

3. Returning to work will help your self esteem and sense of self worth. The longer you stay out of work; the harder it is to get back into the swing of things.  What you reveal to the carrier about your search is a decision to make with your attorney.

 

Remember, the insurance company owes you 2/3 the gross difference between your old average weekly wage at time of injury and your new gross weekly wage. Example: You were earning $800 a week before taxes at your time of injury. You return to work making $500 per week.  The  insurance company owes you a partial disability check for $200 ( 2/3 the difference).

A settlement of your WC case may be based on this loss of wages; the greater the wage loss, the more the settlement is worth as a general rule.

The law firm of Calhoon & Associates represents injured workers  throughout Pennsylvania, including but not limited to, Altoona, Harrisburg, Pottsville, Allentown, Reading, Bloomsburg, Easton, Bethlehem, Norristown, Bristol, Williamsport, State College, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Lancaster, Waynesboro, York and all cities in Bucks County, Chester County, Columbia County, Dauphin County, Delaware County, Lackawanna County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Lycoming County, Montgomery County, Monroe County, Montour County, Northampton County, Northumberland County, Philadelphia County, Pike County, Schuylkill County, Wyoming County and York County, PA. Our offices are located at 2411 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA , and we can arrange for meeting locations at law offices throughout the State. Call us for FREE Worker’ Compensation legal advice.

 

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HE WAS CORRECT ABOUT EVERYTHING

On the first consultation Ron spelled out exactly how my workmans comp case would play out. He was correct about everything, right down to the month it would be resolved. Opposing lawyers dragged their feet and made mistakes. Mr. Calhoons’ staff corrected everything in a timely manner. John M. Hershey, PA

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Can I Start My Workers’ Compensation Benefits Back Up If I Get Laid Off By My Employer?

The answer depends on the status of your worker’s compensation case.  This is not intended to address all possibilities but the most common situations.

  1. If your wage loss benefits are Suspended due to light duty work being made available by your employer.
    1. You would be entitled to reinstatement of wage loss benefits, if your wage loss compensation is suspended because you have returned to work in a “modified” or “light” duty capacity and you were earning wages that are equal or greater than when you were injured. The layoff must be at no fault of your own and you are still under work restrictions from your work injury.
    2. You have to keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations to reinstate your benefits that is 9.6 years or 500 weeks from the date your benefits were suspended.
    3. Your wage loss benefits are considered suspended if you returned to work and you were making greater than or equal to your pay prior to your injury. You may have received a Supplemental Agreement when you returned to work but as long as it doesn’t say “fully recovered” or “terminated” on it or a Work Comp Judge issued an order suspending your wage loss benefits.  If your employer didn’t file any paperwork suspending your wage loss benefits than you are in as lest a good of a position as if the employer properly filed paperwork suspending your wage loss benefits.
  2. Your wage loss and medical benefits were Terminated by a Judge’s Order; You signing a final receipt of compensation; or you signed a termination agreement.
    1. You have three (3) years from the date of termination of benefits to file for a reinstatement;
    2. You also need to prove that your disability from your work injury has re-occurred; that your present disability is related to your work injury; or if you signed a Final Receipt of Compensation that you were not fully recovered at the time it was signed.
  3. Your Workers’ Compensation Claim is not recognized.
    1. This status is very complicated but generally if you have a work injury whether or not you lost time from work that was not accepted by your Employer by a Notice of Compensation Payable you have three (3) years from your date of injury to file a Claim.  If you were laid off and you are not fully recovered from your work injury, you may be eligible for total disability benefits as your Employer can’t provide you a job as of the date of the layoff.
  4. You are receiving Partial Disability wage loss benefits.
    1. You are working but still receiving a check for wage loss benefits because you are not earning as much as you were prior to your work injury because you have limitations due to that injury. You are entitled to have your total disability benefits reinstated because your employer can’t provide you a job within your restriction due to the layoff.
  5. You are off work receiving total disability benefits and your employer shuts down.
    1. You are still going to receive your total disability benefits up to the maximum period of time workers’ compensation allows or unit the Work Comp insurance companies try to change your status.

If you think that you may have a claim for Reinstatement due to a layoff, you should contact Calhoon and Associates to discuss your rights and review the facts of your case before deciding whether or not to pursue a Reinstatement or Claim for benefits.

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Should I go to School while I am receiving Workers’ Comp?

Yes, if will provide specific vocational training and assist you in getting a new job or carrier. There are several good reasons for this:

  1. If your work injury is serious, there is a good possibility that you won’t be returning to your old job; either because you won’t be able to do it or because the employer won’t want you back.  It makes sense to gain new skills  since you might needed a new line of work.
  2. In many cases, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance company will claim that your  Workers’ Comp check should be reduced or stopped because you are, according to them, capable of working at an entry level job.  They can try to modify your PA Worker’s Compensation check this with a Labor Market Survey.  Pa Workers’ Compensation Courts have said that you aren’t “available” for these types of jobs if you are actively pursuing specific vocational retraining.
  3. Going back to school will help you regain positive momentum that you may have lost while in the Workers Compensation system. It is very discouraging to have a work injury, it can cause physical and emotional problems, financial difficulties, and harassment from the WC insurance company.

For more information about Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania, request a copy of our free consumer guide about Pa Worker’s Compensation.  If you have legal questions, I want you to call me at 717-695-4722. I welcome your call.

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My anxiety level went from a ten to a zero after the first call.

I started to get certified letters daily from the attorney of my workers comp insurance company. The accident happened 1.5 years ago and I forgot about it. I was so overwhelmed by the mail that I reached out to Calhoon and Associates and was put in touch with Matt. From the initial interview, he reassured me that everything was going to be ok. My anxiety level went from a ten to a zero after the first call. What makes me happy. Someone who respects me and my situation being non judgmental. Respectful of my time and availability. Matt was everything and more. I never felt judged, he kept me informed of my case and when I reached out to him for clarification and spoke in terms I could understand. He got back to me in a timely manner. They handle the whole process for me which made my life so much easier. I recommend the firm and Matt to anyone who needs them and will definitely use them again if necessary.

AVVO Review Posted by Ryan: https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/17110-pa-matthew-kaminsky-4231633/reviews.html

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ABLE TO MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE

Ron takes his job very serious and he strives to do the best for his clients. I have used Ron twice as my attorney and he has been sucessful both times. The first time I was able to get me the treatment I deserved so I could return to work. The second time I was not able to meet the requirements set by my employer and I was not able to return to work so Ron was successful at negotiateing a settlement with my employer and their insurance company. I was very happy an have been able to move on with my life. THANK YOU VERY MUCH RON. Darryl – Huntingdon, PA

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One of the most common ways that Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carriers try to escape liability for your PA work injury is to not accurately or not fully describe the worker’s injury on the Notice of Compensation Payable.  Very often the work injury is only described as a strain or sprain when in fact it is much more for example a torn tendon or herniated disc.  The Work Comp Insurance Company will lure the injured worker into a false sense of security by paying for all the bills for the true injury.  However, the payment of medical bills in Pennsylvania is not an admission of liability for the injury.  Several years later an IME doctor says the injured worker has fully recovered from the stran and the workers’ comp carrier files a Petition to Terminate all benefits.  Typically the injured worker has three (3) years from the last compensation wage loss check to amend the description of injury on the Notice of Compensation Payable.  It is best to review your Notice of Compensation Payable with an attorney who can look at your specific situation to advise you of your workers’ compensation rights.

If your description of injury is not correct on your Notice of Compensation Payable, please call Calhoon and Associates at 717-695-4722 to discuss your situation. Litigation may be necessary to have it fixed and you should make sure you receive the benefits due and owed to you before your statute of limitations runs out.

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Can I Receive Total Disability Benefits and Partial Disability Benefits at the Same Time?

Yes. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act and relevant case law, an injured worker can receive both total disability benefits and partial disability benefits at the same time.  In order to qualify for both benefits, there must be two (2) separate employers for two (2) separate dates of injury.  However, the total wage loss benefits received for both injuries cannot exceed the statewide statutory maximum for the year of the work injuries.

If you think you might have a possible claim for both Partial Disability Benefits and Total Disability Benefits, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.  This a general statement about Workers’ Compensation law. Before deciding whether or not to pursue a claim, you should have your specific facts of your case reviewed by an attorney.

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DO I HAVE TO TREAT WITH THE COMPANY DOCTOR IN PENNSLYANIA (PA)?

Employer do not have to have a posted panel list of physicians for injured workers to treat with for the first 90 days of treatment. When there is no list an injured worker can treat with a doctor of their own choice from day one and workers’ compensation is responsible for the treatment bills.  Likewise, If there is an invalid list,  an injured worker can treat with a doctor of their own choice from day one and workers’ compensation is responsible for the treatment bills. If there is a valid list, then the compensation carrier only has to pay the bills for the first 90 days of treatment if the treatment is with a listed provider.  After the 90 days of treatment, whether on or off the list, the workers’ compensation carrier is responsible. Those employers that choose to utilize a posted list are doing it to control the injured worker by limiting their choice of medical providers.  Too many doctors are more than willing to appease the employer by keeping costs down to keep a steady stream of patients flowing in off the posted list.  As a result, too often the injured workers’ health becomes a secondary interest. Proper testing for diagnosis is foregone and releases to return to work are too often mandated before the injured worker is physically capable which only  subjects the worker to further unnecessary injury. In addition, employers use the 90 day treatment period in conjunction with the issuance of a Temporary Notice of Compensation Payable. On the 89th day the company doctor releases the employee to work and the Temporary Notice of Compensation Payable is revoked on the 90th day which relives the employer from paying any further medical or wage loss benefits and the injured worker must file a Claim Petition and litigate it or forever lose their rights to workers’ compensation for that injury.  Most never realized that the failure to treat with the properly posted company doctor is not a valid reason to deny a wage loss claim.

For those employers seeking to ration and control an injured workers medical choices, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides minimal safeguards by requiring such employers to:

  1. Post a list of at least six (6) health care providers;
  2. At least three (3) must be physicians;
  3. No more than four can be coordinated health care organizations;
  4. Not include on the list any provider that is employed, owned or “controlled” by the employer or carrier unless that information is disclosed; and
  5. Provide the injured worker with and have them sign a written “Acknowledgment of Rights and Duties” with respect to treating with company doctors both before AND after the work injury;
  6. Provide the name, address phone number and specialty of the listed providers;
  7. Provide on the list only providers who are geographically accessible. See Section 127.752 (c); and
  8. If the employer lists a CCO, the employer may not individually list any provider participating in that CC, under circumstances when those individually listed are bound by the terms of the CCO for the treatment rendered to the injured worker.

Failure to comply with any of the above 8 requirements renders the company posted doctor list invalid and requires the workers’ compensation carrier to pay for all treatment from day one with any provider the injured worker chooses.

 

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An union employee working as a  pipeline worker for Michels Corporation, sustained a work injury described as an ACL tear of the right knee which the insurance carrier, Arch Insurance Company, accepted.  The insurance carrier then filed a Suspension Petition in October 2013 alleging that the injured worker had returned to work at no loss of wages.  In reality, the injured worker had returned to work but was making substantially less than his average weekly wage.  The workers’ compensation carrier alleged he was making less because he kept turning down hours of work offered or was late to work. We filed a Penalty Petition for the insurance carrier’s illegal suspension of the employee’s wage loss benefits.  The insurance carrier ultimately paid the injured worker for his back-owed partial compensation.  While in litigation, the case ultimately settled the future benefits for $175,000 via  a compromise and release.  After settlement was reached, we filed a Penalty Petition because the insurance carrier failed to reimburse the injured worker for his past work-related travel mileage and had failed to pay him past due partial disability benefits that were due to him.  The parties then entered into a Stipulation which paid the injured worker an additional $500 to resolve the Penalty Petition.

 

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Couldn’t be happier

I couldnt be more pleased, with the service I received from Mr. Kaminsky and staff. Matt is very personable, and down to earth. Dealing with him on my case, felt like working with an old friend. The entire staff from paralegals to receptionist, we’re always friendly and helpful. I always felt “in charge” of my case, and with Matt’s professionalism and expertise, came to an outstanding arrangement. Without Mr. Kaminsky’s knowledgeable legal guidance, I’d have never reached such a substantial settlement. It was truly a pleasure to work with Matt, and the staff! – AVVO review

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How can I Manage my Chronic Pain?

Dr. Tracy Jackson gave a presentation on Chronic Pain, “The Hardest Pill to Swallow” (Click on the Link to watch the YouTube video). If you are on Pennsylvania workers’ compensation and you are having chronic pain from your injury, it is worth the 18 minutes of your time to watch her presentation.  Her theories can be applied to many injured workers who are receiving PA workers’ compensation benefits and how to handle their daily pain, what their doctors do to treat their pain and what treatment(s) they should ask for.

Dr. Jackson speaks about the excessive prescriptions of narcotic pain medication in the US. How doctors are trained to diagnosis and treat the injured worker’s physical conditions but only receive “3 hours of incomplete, fragmented, and sparse total education about pain”.  She states that chronic pain is a perception but people often are looking for a quick fix.  This quick fix is often ineffective at getting to the root of the problem and creates a dependence on pain medications.

Her answer is Functional Restoration Programs. These programs help people manage their chronic pain and can reduce or even eliminate the need for the injured worker’s pain medication. In these programs, you learn Body and Mind techniques that the injured worker’s needs to rehabilitate such as personalized healing that helps you return to a normal life.  These programs are typically only offered to injured workers who are on workers’ compensation or the rich so this is a great benefits to you under workers’ compensation.  Often private health insurance carriers don’t cover these programs nor does it fit in the model of the “quick fix” relying on a multi doctor system that prescribes pills for your problems.

She states “the Hardest Pill to Swallow” is that there is no quick fix to chronic pain. There is a fix but it is Functional Restoration Programs.  Chronic pain does not have to disable the injured worker.  Her opinion is that the injured workers’ needs a holistic lifestyle change in which the injured person takes an active role in healing.

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12 Common Mistakes Injured Workers’ Make

  1. Failing to take the long view.

In addition to the 7 Deadly Sins explained in our FREE BOOK for the benefit of injured workers’ in Pennsylvania (PA),  Many seriously injured workers fail to look at the big picture.  Where are you going to be five (5) or ten (10) years from now?  Injured workers have to take both a short view of their case (getting better, dealing with the insurance company, getting appropriate medical care, and getting appropriate benefits) and the long view (how to maximize your financial position, how to take into account a series of long-term medical restrictions, whether or not to settle your workers’ compensation case, whether or not to go on Social Security disability, whether or not to seek re-training, when to collect your pension, etc.).

 

  1. Failing to realize that you and your employer have an adverse financial interest once you are seriously injured.

Many seriously injured workers have been with the same company for many years, have never abused their sick time, work extra hours when asked, have delayed taking vacation, and have taken the Mission Statement of the employer very seriously.  Such valued employees identify with the employer and feel that they are part of the “employer family.”  Employers encourage this.  One big happy family, right?  Wrong.  Employers are in business to make a profit.  They have to deal with inventory supplies, business taxes, customers, raw materials, technology and management.  An employee with a serious injury and resulting restrictions is a big financial problem for an employer and most employers try and reduce that cost as quickly and efficiently as possible despite the long and loyal service from the employee.  If you are seriously injured, you need to realize that your formerly valued position in the work force is a thing of the past in most cases and you need appropriate legal and vocational advice to plan accordingly. The Scarlett O’Hara who relies on the kindness of others would get squashed in the PA Workers’ Comp system.

 

  1. Failure to understand the complex relationship between Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability, Social Security Retirement, Severance Pay, Pension and Unemployment.

            Many injured workers make the mistake of thinking that these regulatory themes have the same standards and the same requirements. They don’t.  Many injured workers think that the relationship between, for example, Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability and Pension is common sense.  It isn’t.  Failure to gain a detailed understanding of how these conflicting benefit themes fit together, overlap and contradict each other is a big mistake. There is a proper chronology to what benefits to seek.  Going out of step can have grave consequences, credits owed to the employer/insurance company and a greatly diminished case value.  We provide FREE LEGAL ADVICE on what benefits to apply for and when.

 

  1. Failure to realize that medical records are not private.

            What you say to your doctor is protected by law, isn’t it? Don’t federal and state regulations prevent insurance carriers and investigators from snooping through the medical records of an injured worker?  The short answer is no.  If you file for or are receiving workers’ compensation, you give up your right to privacy.  You can assume that your medical records will be read by insurance carriers, investigators, adjusters, workers’ compensation judges, attorneys, rehabilitation nurses and vocational experts.  Understand this when you are talking to your doctor.

 

  1. Believing what insurance adjuster, rehabilitation nurses or employer controlled doctors tell you about your workers’ compensation case.

            An insurance adjuster has to tell an injured worker the truth, right? Wrong.  The law creates some special relationships:  doctor/patient; priest/parishioner; husband/wife; lawyer/client.  Those relationships create higher stages of confidentiality.  There is no such requirement placed on insurance adjusters.  The adjuster tells an injured worker that they don’t have a claim and the injured worker believes them.  Pennsylvania law says that is the fault of the injured worker to not get appropriate legal advice.  The only person who has to tell you the truth about your workers’ compensation case is the lawyer you hire to represent you.  A panel doctor is trying to serve two masters:  you, the patient; and the employer/insurance company who is paying him or her.  Guess which ethical duty they are going to take more seriously?  A so-called IME doctor (independent medical examination) is not independent at all.  Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law doesn’t even use this term.  The correct term is “Defense examination chosen by and paid for by the employer.”   Even your treating doctor may give you well meaning but wrong advice about your workers’ compensation case.  Your treating doctor means well and probably intends you no harm when they give you wrong or erroneous legal advice, which they frequently do.  You should no more get legal advice from your treating doctor than you should get medical advice from the attorney.

 

6          You are better settling your own case without an attorney.

            Insurance carriers will frequently try and settle the case with an injured worker directly, telling the injured worker that if they hire an attorney, the attorney will take all the money. As noted above, an insurance adjuster will not give you truthful advice about your case.  The person who pays the fiddler calls the tune, the old saying goes.  If you are approached by an insurance adjuster to settle your own case without an attorney, get the offer in writing.  Then go see an attorney and ask the attorney (1) what the case is worth and (2) will they charge you on the difference between your offer in writing and what you eventually get.  Studies prove that those with attorneys obtain much more than 20% in benefits than those without.

 

  1. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney who pays for litigations costs and doesn’t ask you to do it.

            Any litigated workers’ compensation case has two aspects: (1) an attorney fee and (2) litigation costs.  This is similar to when you take your car to the mechanic and there are parts and labor charges.  The attorney fee is payable only when approved by a judge and only when the attorney has legally achieved a result for you i.e., wins you something).  Some workers’ compensation cases also involves costs of litigation.  These are the actual charges from people other than the lawyer (doctors, hospitals, expert witnesses, vocational witnesses and court reports) who charge for their services.  You are better off hiring a law firm that does not pay for the costs of litigation, rather than a law firm that does.  Why?  Because most workers’ compensation cases settle.  It is unfortunate but true that law firms who advance litigation costs (i.e., pay them and don’t require the client to pay them) generally get lower settlement values than do law firms that don’t advance litigation costs.  Why?  There is a tendency for attorneys to be cautious when they have their own money tied up in a case and they generally want to make sure they get their costs back.  Debt can sometimes cloud the judgment of the attorney representing the injured worker.  You don’t want this.  You want an attorney who is completely clear and completely candid about the pros and cons of your case, the pros and cons of each legal option and the settlement value of your claim.  You get this when you hire an attorney who will charge you an attorney fee for the work they have done but asks you to pay for the litigation costs.  Work out a payment plan.  It is better for you in the long run.

 

  1. Beware of the Internet.

            A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Many injured workers spend lots of time on the Internet researching Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation law and Federal Social Security Disability law and then think they know what they are doing.  This is a very bad idea for two reasons.  First, the old saying is that “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.”  You cannot be objective about your own case.  Even experienced attorneys hire an outside attorney to represent them if they are involved in a legal matter themselves for this reason.  Second, injured workers who research law on the Internet and think they know what they are talking about are ignoring the experience factor.  You may know in theory how to rebuild an engine or perform basic surgery; however, you won’t be good at it until you have done it hundreds or thousands of times.  An attorney certified in Workers’ Compensation by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decades of experience and has handled thousands of workers’ compensation claims.  A certified Workers’ Compensation attorney knows the judges, the doctors, the court reporters, opposing lawyers, insurance companies and expert witnesses through the huge number of cases they have been involved in.  This actual experience of how the system works can’t be researched on the Internet.  There is nothing wrong with education – go ahead and read up on the law.  Just don’t think you know how to apply it in your own case.

 

  1. Listening to well meaning friends or family members who want to give you legal advice about your case.

If you have a serious work injury, you will find that your sister-in-law, your nephew who is going to law school in California, your doctor’s receptionist and your co-worker will have lots of advice on workers’ compensation and Social Security and will be only too glad to give you advice on how that applies to your case.  Don’t listen.  These people are usually well meaning but are ignorant.  The cases they talk about are in a different state or county or even are not Workers’ Compensation/Social Security disability cases at all, but long-term disability or general workers’ comp.  Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation is local.  The correct strategy in any case depends on the workers’ compensation judge with authority for that county, the identity of the treating and IME doctors, the identity and track record of the insurance company, the competence and strategy of the insurance company attorney, and the individual employer involved.  A family member who tells you about their friend’s case in Philadelphia will be of no help if your case is in Bedford.

 

  1. Hiring an attorney who advertises on TV.

Television advertising costs hundreds of thousands, or even, millions of dollars.  Law firms who advertise on television or so-called “disability advocate” organizations just have huge debt to pay off each month to the television or cable networks.  They can only do that by moving cases quickly and cheaply.  Appropriate legal representation is not the same as fast food.  You do not want to be represented by a Workers’ Compensation or Social Security attorney who has a lot of TV debt.

 

  1. Hiring a lawyer or doctor who talks down to you.

You wouldn’t hire a garage mechanic who talked to you in a language that you don’t understand.  How can you make a decision on your car if you don’t know what’s wrong with it?  There is no difference between an auto mechanic and a lawyer or doctor when it comes to getting advice.  You want to hire an attorney who takes time with you, who answers your questions, who is knowledgeable and experienced and gives you the pros and cons of each of the available legal options in language that you understand.  Don’t hire an attorney who refuses to talk to you, shifts you to the paralegal, refuses to answer e-mails or phone calls, or tells you what to do without listening to you.  You should ask the attorney for his or her advice, but the final decision is yours once you understand the pros and cons of each option.  Don’t listen to gobbledygook.

 

  1. Failure to be politically involved.

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation law used to favor the injured worker since the injured worker “gave up” his right to sue the employer for negligence in 1915 when the law was passed.  The courts were clear that workers’ compensation was remedial legislation and it was supposed to be a fact and not technical source of benefits which favored the injured worker.  That all changed in the 1990’s when the first “reform” bill was passed.  A lot of the politicians were scared because they thought that injured workers would vote them out.  They didn’t.  Nobody said much of anything so the Chamber of Business and Industry came back a few years later and passed yet another anti-worker bill.  The Governor of Pennsylvania, listening to business interests, wanted Pennsylvania to be a cheaper state for Workers’ Compensation than New York, Ohio, Maryland or New Jersey and he succeeded.  The workers’ compensation system in many ways is no longer tilted towards the employee; it is tilted towards the insurance carriers.  The failure of injured workers to become politically involved and the decline in unionized workers meant that only the trial lawyers were there to oppose pro business reforms to the Workers’ Compensation Law.  Most injured workers are horrified to find out how the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation system works now and will frequently say that it is not “fair,” “reasonable,” “common sense” or is an “outrage.”  True.  But this is shutting the barn door after the horse has already gone.  Failure of workers to vote their political interests means that the law no longer favors injured workers.

The law firm of Calhoon & Associates represents injured workers Disability throughout Pennsylvania, including but not limited to, Altoona, Harrisburg, Pottsville, Allentown, Reading, Bloomsburg, Easton, Bethlehem, Norristown, Bristol, Williamsport, State College, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Lancaster, Waynesboro, York and all cities in Bucks County, Chester County, Columbia County, Dauphin County, Delaware County, Lackawanna County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Lycoming County, Montgomery County, Monroe County, Montour County, Northampton County, Northumberland County, Philadelphia County, Pike County, Schuylkill County, Wyoming County and York County, PA. Our offices are located at 2411 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA and 14 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chambersburg, PA, and we can arrange for meeting locations at law offices throughout the State.

Calhoon & Associates
2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
1-877-291-9675

 

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AM I COVERED BY WORKERS COMPENSATION, IF I AN HURT ON THE WAY TO WORK?

Often people are injured on the way to work. They frequently ask whether their injury should is this covered under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation?  The answer depends on the specific circumstances around your injury and your job. Normally, commutes or driving to work are not covered by Pa workers’ comp.  There are many exceptions to this general rule:

  1. Employees who are on 24 hour call.
  2. Employees who are on a special mission for the employer.
  3. Employees who are furthering the interests of the employer at the time of injury.
  4. Employees who have no fixed place of employment.
  5. The employment contract included transportation to and from work.
  6. The employer asks the employee to work at home.
  7. The employee is dispatched from home and keeps their work tools are there.

These types of claims are routinely denied by WC insurance companies. It is a good idea to contact an attorney to look at your specific facts to see if one of the above exceptions applies. Calhoon and Associates can answer your questions and look into the specific facts of your injury to help you.

The law firm of Calhoon & Associates represents injured workers disability throughout Pennsylvania, including but not limited to, Altoona, Harrisburg, Pottsville, Allentown, Reading, Bloomsburg, Easton, Bethlehem, Norristown, Bristol, Williamsport, State College, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Lancaster, Waynesboro, York and all cities in Bucks County, Chester County, Columbia County, Dauphin County, Delaware County, Lackawanna County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Lycoming County, Montgomery County, Monroe County, Montour County, Northampton County, Northumberland County, Philadelphia County, Pike County, Schuylkill County, Wyoming County and York County, PA. Our office is located at 2411 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA and we can arrange for meeting locations at law offices throughout the State.

Calhoon & Associates 2411 North Front Street Harrisburg, PA 17110 1-877-291-9675

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IF YOU ARE ON PA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION OR HAVE A CLAIM: BEWARE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

If you post to a social networking account such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT WHATEVER YOU POST IS NOT PRIVATE AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO DISCOVERY BY THE DEFENDANTS (i.e., your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier) IN YOUR CASE. Internet and social media security and discretion is important to you regardless of whether you are on workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania.

Be careful what you write or post, or have written or posted, can fall into the hands of the defendant, its insurance company, and its attorneys for the purpose of unfairly attacking the validity of your claim. It is standard practice for defendants, insurance companies and their attorneys to obtain information social media sites and use it before Judge’s and to show to doctors, including the injured workers’ doctor and the IME doctor.  This information it is obtained without your knowledge or permission. If you have a social media site you should make sure that all your settings are on PRIVATE (the highest setting possible). Even with the highest privacy settings you should write or post items with the assumption that it is open to the public.

We urge you to do the following:

  1. Apply the highest privacy settings.
  2. Be very selective about who you “friend” or link with. Do not allow anyone to become a “friend” on an account unless you are absolutely sure you know that person.
  3. Refrain from using social media sites as much as possible while your case is pending.
  4. Do not post anything about your case, do not answer questions about the facts or how you are feeling.
  5. Do not post anything about meetings with your lawyers or staff members. This can result in a challenge to the attorney client privilege.
  6. Be very discrete about any photos that you post: Photographs showing physical activity appearing inconsistent with your claimed disability can be fatal to your case. Do not post photos that show drinking or other activities that the defendant, its insurance company or their attorneys may try to use to paint you in an unfavorable light to a the workers’ compensation judge.
  7. Think about what you post: We have found that have made post that do not actually reflect what they are doing, but rather what they believe sounds good. This “posed” posting can be very damaging to your claim. Do not post anything about your social life that involves drinking or other activities that the defendant, its insurance company or their attorneys may try to use to paint you in an unfavorable light to the judge.
  8. Do not send any e-mails regarding your case to anyone except your attorneys.
  9. Do not forward any e-mails from our office to anyone else. Forwarding our e-mails or sharing our communications of any kind can result in waiver of the attorney client privilege.
  10. Do not visit insurance websites; participate in blogs, chat-rooms, or message boards.

We have seen an increase in electronic surveillance by the insurance companies,  and defense attorneys for purposes of embarrassing and humiliating injured workers, and for the purpose of claiming that your injury was exaggerated. You should assume that the defendant, its insurance company, and its attorneys look for posts that might paint an unflattering picture of you. Professional pages like LinkedIn.com may have information about earning capacity used to modify your weekly compensation benefit rate.

You should review the contents of your social network sites and that you review your “friends” or “connections” and keep only those that you know and trust.

The law firm of Calhoon & Associates represents injured workers Disability throughout Pennsylvania, including but not limited to, Altoona, Harrisburg, Pottsville, Allentown, Reading, Bloomsburg, Easton, Bethlehem, Norristown, Bristol, Williamsport, State College, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Lancaster, Waynesboro, York and all cities in Bucks County, Chester County, Columbia County, Dauphin County, Delaware County, Lackawanna County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Lycoming County, Montgomery County, Monroe County, Montour County, Northampton County, Northumberland County, Philadelphia County, Pike County, Schuylkill County, Wyoming County and York County, PA. Our offices are located at 2411 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA and 14 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chambersburg, PA, and we can arrange for meeting locations at law offices throughout the State.

Calhoon & Associates
2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
1-877-291-9675

 

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$175,000.00 Settlement for Work Related Knee Injury

A union worker from Halifax, Pennsylvania (PA), working as a construction laborer for Trumbull Corp., sustained a work injury described as a left leg / left thigh contusion and left proximal fibular bruising in May 2012, which the insurance carrier, American Zurich Insurance Company, accepted.  The injured worker had filed a Claim Petition.  The Claim Petition described the injured worker’s injury as “left thigh contusion; left leg internal derangement; left knee injury.”   The insurance carrier had the injured worker attend an independent medical examination in 2013 and the IME physician reported that the injured worker’s diagnosis was status post left knee contusion with peroneal nerve contusion status post decompression with increasing pain with some findings suggestive of complex regional pain syndrome type 2 and also reported that treatment on her complex regional pain syndrome was appropriate and that said treatment would include aqua therapy, Gabapentin and desensitization.  The case ultimately settled for $175,000 via a compromise and release.  Including the settlement, the injured worker received $241,168 in wage loss benefits and $54,246 in medical benefits for her work injury.

The law firm of Calhoon & Associates represents injured workers Disability throughout Pennsylvania, including but not limited to, Altoona, Harrisburg, Pottsville, Allentown, Reading, Bloomsburg, Easton, Bethlehem, Norristown, Bristol, Williamsport, State College, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Lancaster, Waynesboro, York and all cities in Bucks County, Chester County, Columbia County, Dauphin County, Delaware County, Lackawanna County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Lycoming County, Montgomery County, Monroe County, Montour County, Northampton County, Northumberland County, Philadelphia County, Pike County, Schuylkill County, Wyoming County and York County, PA. Our offices are located at 2411 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA and 14 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chambersburg, PA, and we can arrange for meeting locations at law offices throughout the State.

Calhoon & Associates
2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
1-877-291-9675

 

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Can I get Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation benefits for asbestos exposure?

The short answer is yes. There are certain restrictions and time frames that must be complied with in order to get compensation for an asbestos exposure in Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation. Asbestos exposure is covered under the Occupational Disease portion of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation. Under the occupational disease provisions of the act you must’ve been exposed to asbestos for a minimum period of two years while working in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the disability from the exposure to asbestos must occur within 300 weeks of the last exposure to the hazard and not 300 weeks from the date of last employment.

When a disease from asbestos exposure manifests itself beyond the 300 week limitation, the injured worker’s remedy to seek benefits or compensation is outside the PA Workers’ Compensation Act. The only remaining option to an injured worker is a direct action against the employer. The exclusive remedy provisions of the Workers’ Comp Act will not bar an action in this limited instance. Asbestos exposure cases often rely on very specific details, for example the location and the duration of exposure also when the disease from exposure manifested itself.  If you suffered mesothelioma or other illness from exposure to asbestos while on the job is best to contact an attorney to understand your rights under both the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation and other remedy’s available to you.

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With Ron’s assistance I was able to recover all of that

“I had selected Ron Calhoon’s practice based upon reviews submitted by previous clients. While the Harrisburg/York area offered numerous attorneys and practices, Ron Calhoon consistently received high marks by clients. My case involved forced retirement as a result of my injury so it was more complex than any others. My forced early retirement cost me a significant loss of anticipated receipts that would have resulted had I been allowed to continue to my full retirement date. With Ron’s assistance I was able to recover all of that.” -Bill York, PA

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$90,000.00 Workers’ Comp Settlement for Shoulder Injury

An employee from Lewisberry, PA, working as a merchandiser for a soda company, sustained a work injury accepted as a right shoulder strain/sprain in September 2014, by the insurance carrier, Indemnity Insurance Company of North America.  The injured worker was treating with Steven M. DeLuca, D.O., and the insurance carrier filed a Utilization Review Request regarding his prescribing  a H-Wave stimulator for the employee to use.  A Utilization Review was performed which found that the H-Wave machine was not reasonable and not necessary for the injured worker’s injury.  We filed a Petition for Review of the Utilization Review Determination.  While the claim was being actively litigated, the case ultimately settled for $90,000 for a full compromise and release.  Although the injured worker resolved the wage loss and medical benefits, the parties continue to litigate the Petition to Review the Utilization Review Determination regarding the H-wave machine.  Including the settlement, the injured worker received $120,848.68 in wage loss benefits and $44,559.23 in medical benefits to date for her work injury.

 

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$220,000.00 Settlement for Low Back Injury

An Union employee from Enola, PA, working as a truck driver for New England Motor Freight, sustained a work injury described as a lumbar strain in July 2011, which the insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual Insurance Corporation, accepted.   The IME physician reported that the injured worker’s restrictions were sitting for 8 hours with rest and standing 4 hours with rest.   Without the need for litigation, the case ultimately settled for $220,000 via a compromise and release.  Including the settlement, the injured worker received $309,526.18 in wage loss benefits.

 

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The short answer is no. No one can force you to return to work but it can cause you problems with your Pa workers’ compensation case so you need to know your rights.  If you get a Notice of Ability to Return to Work in the mail, it typically means that you are being released to work on light duty restrictions or in some cases a full duty with no restrictions.  This is based on information that your employer/insurance company has received from an Independent Medical Evaluation doctor or your treating doctor.   The Notice of Ability to Return to Work is only step one and your employer must still offer you a position within the restrictions outlined in the form but you have to respond to your employer.

A Notice of Ability to Return to Work is typically a precursor to your employer/insurance company preparing to start litigation. In fact, it is a requirement that the Notice of Ability to Return to Work be issued before a Petition is filed to Terminate, Modify or Suspend your workers’ compensation benefits.  If you feel that you cannot return to work within the guidelines set forth in the Notice of Ability to Return to Work or it is based on the Independent Medical Evaluation doctor and your treating doctor hasn’t released you to work, then it is time to consult with your doctor and speak to an attorney about the impacts to your Workers’ Compensation benefits.

The time-frames to respond to job offers from the employer or disputing your employer’s claim that you can return to work in Court are short. It is always better to be prepared by knowing your workers’ compensation rights and ensuring that you have your doctor’s support, in case your employer or their insurance company files a Petition that will affect your Workers’ Compensation benefits.

If you have received a Notice of Ability to Return to Work LIBC-757 form and you don’t know what to do, please feel free to contact us and we will provide you with answers free of charge.

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$165,000.00 Workers’ Comp Settlement for delivery driver

A Union employee from Sunbury, PA, working as a delivery driver, sustained a work injury accepted on the Notice of Compensation Payable as a lumbar strain in August 2013, which the insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual Insurance, accepted. The insurance carrier had the injured worker attend an IME in February 2015 with Dr. DiBenedetto who reported that if the injured worker’s true diagnosis was a lumbar strain, that he was recovered from same. At the time of the IME, the employee had been working in a light duty position with another employer and was receiving partial disability wage loss benefits from the insurance carrier. The injured worker then attended another IME with Dr. DiBenedetto in November 2015. Dr. DiBenedetto reported that the injured worker was recovered from his accepted injury of a lumbar strain and that he could return to his pre-injury job without restrictions. In February 2015, the insurance carrier filed Modification and Suspension Petitions alleging that the injured worker was released to return to his regular duty, that the employer offered him his pre-injury job and the employee had not responded to the job offer and also because a Labor Market Survey had been completed which would result in a modification of his wage loss benefits. In March 2016, we filed a Review Petition seeking to have the injured workers’ description of injury be amended to include a L4-L5 disc herniation. While multiple petitions were being litigated, the future workers’ compensation benefits ultimately settled for $165,000 via a compromise and release.

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Doctors and Injured Workers’ Beware of Workers’ Compensation Settlement Language

In a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation case from 2009, an injured worker had entered into a Compromise and Release Agreement settlement with his employer. The C&R Agreement had language that stated that the employer was not admitting liability to the injury and there was no finding in that the injury was, in fact, work related. This is he usual method of settling a disputed claim petition, even if the Defendants “dispute” is very weak such as they are waiting for the results of an I.M.E. before making a decision on whether to accept the claim. The C&R Agreement also did not require that the employer pay for any medical expenses and therefore nothing obligated the employer to pay for the injured workers’ medical expenses. In this case, a medical provider for the injured worker then filed a Penalty Petition alleging that there was a violation of the Act by resolving the case through a C&R Agreement without giving the medical provider notice and an opportunity to intervene and because the insurance carrier had not paid his related medical bills. Because proper language was not included in the C&R to make sure the injured workers’ medical benefits were paid, the Workers’ Compensation Judge denied the Penalty Petition. The Judge found that the employer did not agree to pay medical bills incurred as a result of the work injury and that the provider had no recourse against the employer. The Judge’s Decision was affirmed by both the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board and the Commonwealth Court.

Injured workers’ and their attorneys have an interest in making sure quality health care is available for those suffering from a work injury. Throwing the doctor under the bus is short sighted. The insurance carriers commonly offer more money in the settlement negotiations for the injured worker to not require payment of past medical bills.

You should review the Compromise and Release Agreement very carefully. You should also have a qualified workers’ compensation attorney review your settlement documents. If you are in the process of resolving your workers’ compensation case, please call Calhoon and Associates to discuss your claim to make sure all of your rights are fully protected. Studies show that having an good workers’ compensation attorney negotiate the terms of your workers’ compensation settlement results in significantly more in recovery. In other words, it costs a lot money to do it alone.

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Ron turned around my whole life, he truly did.

Ron is incredible, reliable, quick to return any/all means of communication, thoughtful and a truly genuine person. His company is always there for you as well as his employees. They all have you’re best interest and Ron is truly compassionate in your best interest. I came to run as a referral to a gentleman who was dealing with a similar situation, simply in hopes for answers to questions I had, that neither my company nor workers comp were answering. Here I am, a 26 yr old, injuried body part, student loan debt and no where to really turn and extremely frustrated. Ron turned around my whole life, he truly did. He excelled in answering all of my questions and beyond that, beyond what I ever thought would even happen. Life went from pretty depressing to soon to be student loan free. Settled. And a cushion for my future. All I can say about Ron, is he’s a truly caring individual, who excels above and beyond at his job. I couldn’t thank or apprecite him enough! -Kaila, York, PA 6-7-16

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$150,000 for left ankle injury

An employee from Lancaster, PA, working as a laborer for Walsh Construction, sustained a work injury to his left ankle in February 2012, which the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, Gallagher Bassett, accepted via a Medical-only Notice of Compensation Payable. We filed a Claim Petition because the injured worker had a loss of earnings and we requested partial disability benefits be paid by the insurance carrier. We also filed a Penalty Petition because the insurance carrier failed to approve the employee’s work-related spinal injection / nerve blocks. The parties entered into a Stipulation in which the insurance carrier agreed that the injured worker was entitled to partial disability benefits which was approved by the Judge and ordered paid. We then filed a Review Petition because the injured worker’s average weekly wage to determine his compensation rate had been incorrectly calculated by the insurance carrier. The parties entered into a Stipulation resolving that Review Petition. The injured worker’s average weekly wage was increased from $793.20 to $1,088.74 and his compensation rate was increased from $528.80 to $725.10. Claimant received back benefits due and owing to him along with statutory interest. The insurance carrier then had the injured worker attend an independent medical examination in October 2013 and the IME physician, Paul Horenstein, M.D., reported that Claimant was status post left ankle surgery performed in July 2012, that he could work within reasonable capacities, that he had not reached maximal medical improvement and that the diagnosis of osteochondral injury was related to his work injury which he was not yet recovered from. Dr. Horenstein recommended physical therapy for two months followed by a home exercise program. We filed a Penalty Petition in July 2014 because the insurance carrier had unilaterally and illegally ceased paying the injured worker temporary total disability benefits. The Penalty Petition was resolved by Stipulation whereby the insurance carrier paid the employee for its violation of the Act. The future benefits were ultimately settled for $150,000 via a Compromise and Release.

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New Home Bought In Full With PA Workers’ Comp Settlement

One of our client’s purchased this new home on 2 plus acres in Elk County where he and his wife watch the Elk come to feed in the evenings. The purchase price was paid New Home View

Valley Viewin fill with Blain’s workers’ Compensation Settlement from his ankle injury.

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SEEKING SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS

So far, Calhoon & Associates has donated $30,000 and continues to sponsor and fund the “Trusted Answers • Peace of Mind Scholarship” to benefit Kids’ Chance, a college scholarship program to provide financial support for children of Pennsylvania workers who have been seriously or fatally injured in a work related accident. Kids’ Chance was formed as a nonprofit organization to provide scholarships to deserving, qualified college aged children of these workers. Each scholarship awarded is good for one school year beginning with the fall semester. Thereafter, a student may continue to receive scholarship funds upon providing grades and other re-application information. Kids’ Chance of PA is accepting applications now for the 2016-2017 year. For information on applying for a scholarship go to www.kidschanceofpa.org or call 610-970-9143. You can also email our office for information at pshafer@pa-workers-comp-lawyers.com. Kids’ Chance of PA is funded by tax deductible donations from individuals, insurance companies, lawyers, doctors, labor groups, professional associations, and other groups or individuals.

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In Pa Workers’ Compensation, any case can be resolved by an agreement between the injured worker and their employer/Insurance carrier by a Compromise and Release (C&R) Agreement. The parties can agree to resolve the matter in whole for both wage loss and medical benefits or just a part of the benefits but it is most common to see resolution for the entire claim. An agreement to resolve the case is drafted on the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation form called “Compromise and Release Agreement by Stipulation Pursuant to Section 449 of the Worker’s Compensation Act” or commonly referred to as a C&R Agreement.
After the parties have agreed to the settlement terms to resolve the workers’ comp case, a Workers’ Compensation Judge will need to approve the agreement after a petition is filed and hearing takes place. The Judge’s role in approving a Compromise and Release Agreement is to decide if the injured worker knows and understands what they are agreeing to and how it affects their Worker’s Comp rights. In other words, what is the injured worker getting and what is the injured worker giving up. To understand what the injured worker is giving up, they must have a basic understanding of their rights which takes us, at least 1.5 hours to explain to each client.
An injured worker testifies at a Compromise and Release hearing about their understanding of the agreement but typically not to the specifics of how they were injured. The following are common questions that are asked of the Injured Worker to ensure they understand the settlement:
1. That the injured worker has read the C&R Agreement; that they have gone over the agreement with their attorney; and that their attorney has answered any questions they have about the Compromise and Release Agreement;
2. That the injured worker and their attorney have gone over the pros and cons of their case and the pros and cons of their C&R Agreement;
3. That the injured worker has signed the C&R Agreement;
4. That the injured worker understands they are not being forced to settle and could continue with the pending litigation. If litigation continues, then the injured worker could continue to receive wage loss and medical benefits that possibly could be more or less than the agreed upon lump sum over time, but also you could end up with zero, if the case is not decided in you favor;
5. That the injured worker understands the terms of the settlement. (Each settlement terms are unique to the specific injury but it typically involves a lump sum of money in exchange for releasing employer/Insurance carrier from liability for the work injury);
6. That the injured worker understands their wage loss benefits will stop as of the date of C&R Hearing;
7. That the injured worker understands what medical bills are going to be paid by the Employer/Insurance Carrier. (Either past medical bills and/or future medical bills related to the work injury). Also the Employer/Insurance Carrier will no longer be responsible for those bills after a specified date;
8. That the injured worker understands they cannot reopen their case even if they get worse or their symptoms return;
9. That the injured worker feels they understand the legal significance of what they are doing by entering into a Compromise and Release Agreement;
10. That the injured worker has not been promised anything that is not written in the agreement in order to get them to sign it;
11. That the injured worker has an attorney of their own choosing and that they have entered into a contingent Fee Agreement with their attorney to represent them in their Work Comp case. In addition, that they understand the amount of the fee the attorney will be receiving from their lump sum;
12. That the injured worker is not being threatened by anyone to accept the C&R Agreement and that they are entering into it by their own free will;
13. That the injured worker is not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol that would impair their decision making ability;
14. That the injured worker will need to verify their status for Child Support Orders. Pursuant to Act 109, any settlement over $5,000 in Pennsylvania requires a search of public records for Child Support Liens. The Injured Worker must indicate that: they don’t have any Child Support Orders against them; or they do and they are paid up to date; or they do and they are in arrears.); and
15. That the injured worker wants the Workers’ Compensation Judge to approve the Compromise and Release Agreement.

If the Worker’s Compensation Judge approves the C&R Agreement, the Judge will typically issue a decision within 3-5 business days. From the date of the circulation of the Decision by the Judge, the Employer/Insurance Carrier has thirty (30) days to make payment. If you have suffered a work injury and you have been approached about settling your case, call Calhoon and Associates before you accept any offers. Typically, Employer/Insurance Carrier’s try to get out cheap as possible and take advantage of the fact injured workers don’t know their rights and what their case is worth. Our experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys will guide you through the process, and explain your rights and maximize your recovery.

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$125,000.00 Workers’ Comp Settlement for Neck Injury

An employee from Waynesboro, working as a truck driver, sustained a work injury, which the insurance carrier, Inservco Insurance Services, denied. Matt Kaminsky of Calhoon & Associates filed a Claim Petition for the injured worker in which we described his injury as a C5-C6 disc herniation with radiculopathy and requested payment of workers’ compensation wage loss benefits from the date of injury and ongoing. The insurance carrier had the injured worker attend an independent medical examination with Chad M. Rutter, D.O. in York, PA. Dr. Rutter reported that he was unable to state that the injured worker sustained a work injury or aggravated a pre-existing condition. While the case was being actively litigated, the claim ultimately resolved for $125,000 via a compromise and release.

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I Absolutely Recommend

I made a mistake by not reporting my work injury immediately to my boss, and workers comp laws in Pa. can be difficult to navigate-especially when prominent companies with large, well funded insurers are behind them, ready and willing to take advantage of even the most innocent, well meaning mistake. Ron took my case immediately (recommended to me by a friend/coworker) and contacted me during his vacation. He spent as much time as was needed to go through the details and went to work. The stress I was feeling was almost instantly relieved. Ron, and the excellent staff he has working for him, deftly navigated the comp laws that are seemingly written in favor of the employer. He clearly laid out my options, suggested courses of action, and saw to it that every detail was handled promptly, with precise professionalism. I simply could not have managed a successful outcome were it not for his assistance. Not once during the entire process, about 1 year from start to finish, did Ron and his staff cause me to have second thoughts. I absolutely recommend him. Jack, a U.P.S. Employee – Williamsport, PA

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Workers comp case? you need Ron

5.0 stars

Posted by Jack
May 2, 2016

 Hired attorney

I made a mistake by not reporting my injury immediately, and workers comp laws in Pa. can be difficult to navigate-especially when prominent companies with large, well funded insurers are behind them, ready and willing to take advantage of even the most innocent, well meaning mistake.

Ron took my case immediately (recommended to me by a friend/coworker) and contacted me during his vacation. He spent as much time as was needed to go through the details and went to work. The stress I was feeling was almost instantly relieved.

Ron, and the excellent staff he has working for him, deftly navigated the comp laws that are seemingly written in favor of the employer. He clearly laid out my options, suggested courses of action, and saw to it that every detail was handled promptly, with precise professionalism. I simply could not have managed a successful outcome were it not for his assistance.

Not once during the entire process, about 1 year from start to finish, did Ron and his staff cause me to have second thoughts. I absolutely recommend him.
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Calhoon and Associates

5.0 stars

Posted by a client
April 27, 2016

 Hired attorney

Mr. Calhoon was very good at answering my questions in a very professional and timely manner. He made sure I knew
what my options were, with my workers compensation case. He is very easy to talk to and cares about his clients.
I would recommend him to anyone that his a W.C. issue.

Made it easy

5.0 stars

Posted by Robert
April 6, 2016

 Hired attorney

From first phone call he was on top of it till the end.He did what he said he would do and also nailed the time line he gave me.I just wished i would have went to him first.I wasted 2 years with another lawyer that just wanted to sit and wait . Wish i could use him for everything!

WC Attorney Review

5.0 stars

Posted by Bill
March 28, 2016

 Hired attorney

I had selected Ron Calhoon’s practice based upon reviews submitted by previous clients.
While the Harrisburg/York area offered numerous attorneys and practices, Ron Calhoon consistently received high marks by clients.
My case involved forced retirement as a result of my injury so it was…
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The Best in NEPA for worker’s comp.

5.0 stars

Posted by Rick
March 7, 2016

 Hired attorney

It was good to have the right guy in my corner. He took charge of the whole situation and every one I had to deal with knew who he was and didn’t play games with me. We settled for an amount that was acceptable and he made sure it arrived in a timely manner. If you need a worker’s comp lawyer this is the man you want backing you up.

Calhoon and Associates

5.0 stars

Posted by Penni
February 28, 2016

 Hired attorney

Mr. Calhoon was very professional and thorough in the handling of my claim. He found some inconsistencies within my case and filed the necessary documents immediately. I would definitely recommend Mr. Calhoon in any workers compensation case.

He is aggressive!

5.0 stars

Posted by Sherry
February 28, 2016

 Hired attorney

Ron Calhoon and his team are always reachable up to 12am ea day! His team doesn’t miss a detail, ever! ! Ron comes from a family (father) who was always a participant w the union laws. Physicians know him and what he needs to have documented ! You truly cannot be in better hands when it comes to ur lively hood/ well being. I worked at a law…
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Super Lawyer with a Passion for Workers Comp.

5.0 stars

Posted by Robin
February 9, 2016

 Hired attorney

My only regrets are I should of hired firm earlier. From the start to finish excellent job with Ronald & Matthew assisting in( 1 appt. ) With presence of all the staff create a 5 star rate in service. Thank you- , certainly will recommend to others.

Ron Is Very Intelligent! Iam Very Happy With Calhoon & Associates

5.0 stars

Posted by Gregory
September 24, 2015

 Hired attorney

Very Smart lawyer.Ron Calhoon will answer any questions you have In a very timely manner by email or a phone call his staff is great also and just as responsive as Ron
Calhoon. Being on workers compensation it is very stressful plus dealing with your injury it can be very unpleasant most of the time…
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Worker’s Comp.

5.0 stars

Posted by Linda
July 9, 2015

I was always kept up to date with what was going on with my case. If I had any questions I would send an email…and I would get a response back within hours.
Very professional and clearly had what was in the best interest of me always first.

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$100,000.00 Settlement for Part Time Delivery Driver

A Union employee from Bloomsburg, PA, working as a driver for delivery company, sustained a work injury to his right shoulder in April 2012, which the insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, accepted for payment of medical benefits only as a “left upper arm sprain.” We filed a Claim Petition describing the injury as “right shoulder – torn tendons and torn rotator cuff.” The injured worker was working in a light duty position at a loss of wages and we requested partial disability from the date of injury to the present and ongoing. While the claim was in litigation, the insurance carrier agreed to issue a Notice of Compensation Payable with the accurate description of injury and we were able to withdraw the Claim Petition. The insurance carrier had the injured worker attend an independent medical examination in July 2013 and the IME physician, Robert Mauthe, M.D., reported that the employee’s diagnosis was right rotator cuff tear status post repair and that he remained symptomatic from his work injury and subsequent surgery and that his prognosis was somewhat guarded. The claim ultimately resolved for $100,000 via a compromise and release. Including the settlement, the injured worker received $136,181.92 in wage loss benefits and $42,809.00 in medical benefits for his work injury.

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$117,000.00 Workers’ Comp Settlement for Lumbar Strain

An employee from Harrisburg, PA, working as a porter for a car dealership in Silver Spring, sustained a work injury described as a low back strain in October 2014, which the insurance carrier, Eastern Alliance Insurance Co., accepted. The injured worker received a Notification of Suspension in March 2015 alleging that he had returned to work at earnings less than his time of injury earnings and we filed an Employee Challenge Petition. The insurance carrier than reinstated the injured worker’s wage loss benefits and the Petition was withdrawn. The insurance carrier had the injured worker attend an independent medical examination with Chad Rutter, D.O., who reported that the employee could return to modified duty work with lifting restrictions of 25 lbs. The injured worker was offered full time employment from the employer in August 2015 and he returned to work. The case ultimately settled for $117,000 via a compromise and release. Including the settlement, the injured worker received $177,277.47 in wage loss benefits and $6,045.98 in medical benefits for his work injury.

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$186,000 Settlement For Left Shoulder Strain

An employee from Reading, PA, working for Exide Technologies, sustained a work injury described as a left shoulder strain in November 2011 which the insurance carrier, Risk Enterprise Management, accepted. The insurance carrier filed a Modification Petition based upon results of a Labor Market Survey that had been performed. The injured worker continued to receive wage loss benefits and a Mediation was held while the case was actively being litigated. The wage loss portion of the case ultimately settled for $186,000 via a Compromise and Release. The insurance carrier remains liable for the injured worker’s medical bills related to his injury.

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Home > Frequently Asked Questions

$205,000.00 Settlement for Back & Groin Work Injury

An employee from York, PA, working as a truck driver and yard supervisor for Midlantic Piling, sustained a work injury described as a back and groin strain in July 2012, which the insurance carrier, Bituminous Fire & Marine Insurance, accepted. We had filed a Claim Petition and a Penalty Petition due the insurance carrier’s failure to either accept or deny the claim within twenty-one days. The insurance carrier then accepted the claim and the parties resolved the pending litigation by entering into a Stipulation in which the injured worker’s description of injury was amended to “back and groin strain, a herniated disc at L4/5 and an inguinal hernia” and the employee continued to received temporary total disability wage loss benefits. We then filed another Penalty Petition because the insurance carrier illegally stopped the injured worker’s wage loss benefits. The parties then resolved the pending litigation by entering into another Stipulation in which the employee was paid $1,122.74 in additional partial disability benefits due to him for the time period when he had returned to work while under restrictions. The insurance carrier had the injured worker attend an independent medical examination and the IME physician reported that the his prognosis was guarded because he was having ongoing symptoms of back pain which had not substantially improved in the ten months since undergoing surgery, that he had chronic pain pattern that he required ongoing medical management and structured physical therapy and that he had not reach maximum medical improvement. The injured worker was working light duty with weight restrictions at the time of the IME. While he was working for the time of injured employer, the future benefits were settled for a tax free, one time lump sum of $205,000 via a compromise and release.

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Calhoon & Associates
2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-695-4722
Toll Free: 877-291-WORK (9675)
Fax: 717-695-4988
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Calhoon & Associates
14 North Main Street
Chambersburg, PA 17201
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Office

Calhoon & Associates

2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-695-4722
Fax: 717-695-4988

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