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Workers’ Compensation Handbook

Foreword

Legal issues regarding the Workers’ Compensation Act and other employment-related matters can be very complex. This booklet is designed to assist workers with questions they may have if they are injured on the job. However, this booklet cannot replace the advice of an experienced attorney. If you have any questions regarding workers’ compensation or other legal matters, do not hesitate to contact Rudberg Law Offices, LLC at 412-488-6000 or contact us online.

Introduction

At Rudberg Law Offices, LLC we believe that clients deserve unequaled personal and professional service. We share a strong work ethic and commitment to working men, women and their families. Our success is measured first and foremost with client satisfaction. Not only do clients deserve high quality legal service, but they also have a right to expect that we will spend time helping them through the legal maze. Let us introduce some of the committed members of our team:

SIGNE O’BRIEN RUDBERG, ESQUIREe-mail

Since 1992, I have worked closely with injured workers and helped them with the uncertainties and unique problems that they face in the workers’ compensation arena and with toxic exposures, car accidents and other serious injuries. Whether I am representing a client at a deposition, at a hearing, or in front of a jury, I recognize the responsibility that I have to that individual and the impact the outcome of their case will have on their life. I also closely supervise and manage all the members of our team. I have represented hundreds of injured individuals throughout Western Pennsylvania and in West Virginia. I work closely with our attorneys and staff in order to provide the best possible service and ensure that the files are prepared, crucial evidence is collected, and that we are prepared to assist you. I also closely supervise and manage all the members of our team. Your injury is serious to you so it is serious to us.

MATTHEW S. FAHER, ESQUIREe-mail

Matthew was born and raised near Johnstown Pennsylvania, an area shaped past and present by coal miners and steel mills, and most significantly, by men and women who labor hard within these industries. The son of a former mine worker whose career ended when the mine shut down, Matt recognizes the issues and dangers faced by the working men and women. He understands that every person has a sense of what is fundamentally fair and that communication and preparation form the keystone of an attorney-client relationship. Adherence to these principals produces the first-rate representation those who contact Rudberg Law Offices, LLC seek. Matt is certified as a specialist in the practice of Workers’ Compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Section on Workers’ Compensation Law as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

TY M. OSTERMAN, ESQUIREe-mail

Prior to becoming an attorney, Ty worked in steel mills and foundries. He understands the ever-present dangers to and struggles of working men and women. Ty utilizes that understanding in his zealous representation of injured workers. Ty also represents individuals in Social Security Disability appeals and performs all types of writing and research at Rudberg Law Offices, LLC. Ty’s diligence and legal skills make him a strong advocate for injured workers and disabled clients seeking benefits.

DONALD L. RUDBERG, COORDINATORe-mail

Many of you are familiar with Don Rudberg and have known him over the past decades as a union official and a strong proponent of workers’ rights. Whether Don has been organizing a lobbying effort in Harrisburg related to Workers’ Compensation Act changes, standing shoulder to shoulder with union members on the picket line, or protesting against non-union efforts of big business, there is no doubt where his loyalties lie. His experience as a blue collar worker assists our attorneys in understanding the intricacies of industry and the interplay between the law and employment issues.

KERI RUDBERG MCCANN, OFFICE MANAGERe-mail

With a 20 year banking and management background Keri has acquired the ability to orchestrate all facets of Rudberg Law Offices, LLC from client relations to employee management to community relations. Keri understands the significance of organization and will continue to provide proven support in an effort to keep Rudberg Law Offices, LLC a strength in the legal field.

STACEY SHRECK, SENIOR Paralegal

CHRISTY LAUTMAN, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Stacey and Christy are members of our team and are very interested in helping clients with the uncertainties of the workers’ compensation system and personal injury litigation. Clients’ cases are paramount and they will always take the time to make clients feel at ease.

Table of Contents

Section One Development of the Workers’ Compensation Act
The Employer and the Insurance Company
Section Two Work Injuries
Work-Related Aggravation of Pre-Existing Conditions
Occupational Diseases
Repetitive Trauma
Non-Covered Injuries
Section Three What Should I Do If I Am Injured?
Notice
An Uninsured Employer
Filing A Claim
Seeking Medical Treatment
Section Four Benefits and Rights Available Under the Workers’ Compensation Act
Total and Partial Disability
Physical Exams
Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE)
Prior Law
New Change in IRE Law
How Do You Know That Your Employer Is Paying Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Medical Benefits
Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable, Notice of Compensation Payable, Medical Only Notice of Compensation Payable and Agreement for Compensation
Specific Loss Benefits
Hearing Loss Benefits
Fatal Claims
Section Five What To Expect When You Are On Workers’ Compensation
Supplemental Agreements For Compensation
Notification Of Suspension
Termination Of Benefits
Final Receipt
Supersedeas
Job Availability
Vocational Rehabilitation
Labor Market Surveys
Layoffs—Involuntary, Economic and Voluntary
Refusing Medical Treatment
Notification Requirements and Verification
Fraud
Retirement
Credits and Offsets—Social Security, Pensions and Other Compensation
Lump Sum Settlement
Section Six You May Be Entitled To More Than Just Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Unemployment Compensation
Sickness and Accident Benefits, Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability
Social Security Disability
Americans With Disabilities Act
Family and Medical Leave Act
Section Seven Personal Injury Claims
Third-Party Claims
Car Accidents
Medical Malpractice
Weingarten Rights