Work injury Lawyers- Workers Comp- Penalty Petition

Date: October 28, 2012
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Phil injured his back at work. He immediately reported the injury to his boss. The Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier for Phil’s employer advised Phil that he was to visit Dr. Bombay for treatment. Phil and went to Dr. Bombay, who wrote an excuse keeping Phil out of work until his back condition had improved.

In the meantime, the insurance carrier failed to pay Phil is compensation wage losss benefit checks. Despite several calls to the insurance carrier, the payments were not made. Phil was forced to retain a lawyer to file a Claim Petition on his behalf.

Typically, an attorney will receive a fee of 20% of the wage loss benefits that are paid or payable. Attorney fees cannot charge be chraged until the workers compensation administrative law judge approves the fee. There are situations where the compensation carrier, as in Phil’s case, has no reasonable basis to deny the claim. This is referred to as an unreasonable contest. In such situations, the Workers’ Compensation Judge can order the Workers’ Compensation carrier to pay Phil’s legal fees in addition to paying Phil his workers compensation checks. If the unreasonable contest is found by the Judge, the 20% will not come out of Phil’s past compensation, but rather will be paid by the compensation carrier.

In addition the Administrative Judge, if he finds there has been an unreasonable delay in the payment of Phil’s compensation, can order a penalty of up to a 50% of the unpaid benefits against the compensation carrier.

If you’ve suffered a work injury and have questions about your claim, contact me at tcummings@dlplaw.com// or call (570) 347-1011 for a free consultation.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.