Workers Compensation Attorney


The theory behind workers' compensation is very simple. If you are injured at work, you are paid for your lost wages and your medical bills. You don't have to prove that your employer was negligent; the fact that you were injured at work is all that is needed. On one hand, your employer does not have to compensate you for the pain and suffering you endure as the result of your injury. The underlying philosophy behind workers' comp is to make sure that you receive your basic loss benefits promptly and in a fair amount, but not to punish your employer.

If you are injured at work, you cannot recover your first week of lost wages. However, after that you will receive a check every two weeks equal to two-thirds (2/3) of your gross (or before tax) wage. For example, if you earn $600.00 per week, your workers' compensation will be $400.00 per week. This is tax-free. Additionally, all of your medical bills will be paid directly by your employer's workers' compensation carrier. Every employer in the state of Pennsylvania is legally required to carry workers' compensation insurance unless they are so large that they qualify as being self-employed, so all workers are covered.


There are several items that you have to keep in mind in a workers' compensation case. First, make sure that you report your injury. If you don't report your injury immediately, questions can be raised as to whether the injury actually occurred while you were working, and that can lead to problems down the line. Second, you will need to cooperate with your employer. Your employer is permitted to designate what doctor you go to for the first ninety (90) days after the injury. You have to go to their doctor for that time period. Also, even after that time period has expired and you are being treated by your own doctor, your employer is permitted to have you examined by a doctor of their choice.

If your employer offers you light duty work or work within your functional capacity, you must accept that work, and those wages will be deducted from your workers' comp check. Finally, it is important for you to understand that while you are on workers' comp, there is a strong likelihood that your employer will hire a private investigator to watch you. If you are working "under the table" or you are performing tasks which you have told people that you are unable to perform, you will probably get to watch yourself on videotape in front of a workers' compensation judge, and this, of course, will have a very negative effect on your future benefits.


Many workers' compensation cases do not result in litigation. However, it is always a good idea to consult an attorney early. We have written three (3) brochures about workers' comp, and if you are injured at work, you should at least call us, and we can send you a copy of the brochures so that you have a good understanding regarding your rights.

Normally, there are three (3) circumstances where you will actually need to retain an attorney. First, sometimes your employer will challenge your right to workers' compensation benefits initially. If this is the case, you need to go to an attorney and file a Claim Petition to get your benefits. The second circumstance where you need an attorney is where the workers' compensation insurance company is trying to stop your benefits. This might be based on the allegation that you have recovered from your injury or that you are not cooperating with the insurance company as required by law. Finally, you can settle your Workers' Compensation case. Basically, the insurance company offers you a lump sum settlement, and in return, you waive your rights to any future wage loss benefits and/or medical benefits.

If you need an attorney, Fieschko & Associates always bases their attorney's fees on a percentage of your recovery. Normally, the attorney's fee on a workers' compensation settlement is twenty percent (20%) of the settled amount. Normally, in Termination or Claim Petitions, we charge twenty percent (20%) of your benefits for a maximum of five (5) years. There are always costs associated with workers' compensation cases. We realize that most people cannot afford to pay the costs associated with this litigation, so we normally advance those costs for you. If we are unsuccessful in the litigation, we do not ask you to reimburse us. If we are successful in the litigation, the workers' compensation insurance company is required by law to reimburse our costs.


The first area of Workers' Compensation Law that deserves special attention is Work-Related Hearing Loss. Specifically, if you work in a noisy environment, there is a very good chance that you have suffered a partial hearing loss. If your hearing loss is in excess of ten percent (10%), you can recover a lump sum of money from workers' compensation. These lump sums can be substantial; they range from around $13,000.00 to around $130,000.00. There are time limits involved in filing such a claim; specifically, you need to file the claim within three (3) years of the last date that you are exposed to noise at work. If you or anyone else you know works in a noisy area and feels that they may have suffered a hearing loss, you should definitely contact us. We have handled hundreds of these cases in this very specialized area of the law.

Although the general rule in workers' compensation is that the only recoverable benefits are wage losses and medical bills, there are exceptions. One of the major exceptions concerns an injury where you suffer a scar to your face or neck. You can receive a lump sum settlement for that type of disfigurement. Also, if you suffer the "loss of use" of part of your body, you can recover a lump sum settlement, for the loss. If your work injury is the result of an auto accident that was not your fault, you can recover for your pain and suffering. Finally, if your injury is the result of a defective product at work you can recover for your pain and suffering against the manufacturer of that defective product.