Q: PA workers compensation headache
Two years ago I settled a workers comp claim for a back injury (herniated disc). I felt comfortable settling as my physiatrist completed a FCE and stated I could return to full duty. I started a new job, but after 8 months the pain in the back returned along with going down the left leg. My job is about 10-12 hours of bending, twisting, stooping, standing and walking. I went back to my doctor and she stated I need to file a new comp claim. She put me on restrictions. I thought I could do several jobs but the employer puts me that day on short term disability. About 4 months later my doctor reduces my restrictions and I find out the comp claim was never filed. I get a call from HR and their general counsel stating they will allow me to work under then restrictions. They finally file the claim. My boss does not follow. I was pulled from work again. The carrier is stating this is pre-existing. In fact the one rep said I should not peruse as he thinks it is fraud. Is this true?
A: Based upon your fact pattern, you may have sustained an aggravation of your pre-existing lower back injury which constitutes a “new” injury for the purposes of Worker’s Compensation. Obviously, there would be issues to decide whether, or not, this is a “new” injury or a “recurrence “Of the case that you settled two years ago.
It is my recommendation that you immediately contact an Attorney Who is a Board Certified Specialist in Pennsylvania Workers comp compensation Law to discuss your rights and remedies. The initial consultation would be free of charge and most Attonreys accept cases on a Contingent Fee Basis
A: It is not fraud on your part. Your employer having submitted the claim to short term disability rather than workers' compensation is potentially a different answer. It is called an aggravation of a pre-existing condition which is considered a new injury in PA. It is very unlikely at this point that your workers' compensation claim is going to be accepted voluntarily, so stop wasting time talking to the adjuster and hire a workers' compensation attorney.
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