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While I apologize to my clients for not being available for the last couple of days, I think you will agree that the absence was for a good cause.  For the last several years, I have attended the Annual Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Seminar, which was held earlier this week in Hershey, PA.  Not only does this seminar allow me to earn many of the continuing legal education credits I need every year, but it also allows us a window into what employers and adjusters are being told regarding the law (I am in the vast minority as an attorney who represents injured workers – the seminar is primarily attended by claims personnel (from both employers and insurance carriers) with some defense attorneys sprinkled in).

Like having the playbook for the other team, we believe it is incredibly valuable to hear what is being told, and how, to these workers’ comp claims personnel.  This allows us to have an idea about how a claim or a situation may be viewed, and what steps may, or may not, be taken.  We hope this allows us to be one step ahead in protecting our clients.

So, now we are back, armed with this insight and ready to once again provide each injured worker with the best representation possible.  If you are not already being protected by us, give us a call today at 215-638-7500 and let our knowledge and experience work for you too.

Though it caused our attorneys to be out of town for a couple of days earlier this week, Brilliant & Neiman LLC felt it important that our attorneys attend the annual Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Annual Conference in Hershey. This two-day seminar allowed our attorneys to discuss the law with other attorneys across the State of Pennsylvania, as well as with many Workers’ Compensation Judges (WCJs).

Topics that were covered included an update on recent cases coming through the Pennsylvania appellate courts, some information on traumatic brain injuries, a status of pain management treatment options and goals, the impact of social media on a workers’ compensation case, how employment laws interact with workers’ compensation cases, and how different WCJs run their practices and procedures.

While we hate to be unavailable to our clients for a two-day period, the exposure and information obtained by our attorneys is invaluable, and allows us to far better serve them.

Recently, we attended a seminar to be briefed on changes in the rules, formally known as the Special Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure before Workers’ Compensation Judges or the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (each has a separate set of rules). Since our practice is limited to representing injured workers in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation cases, it is critical that we be aware of all aspects of the system.

Perhaps it would be wise first to understand where the Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure fit into the system. As we have mentioned before in this blog, workers’ compensation laws vary widely from State to State. Here, the law starts with the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, which was created back in 1915 and amended many times since. This law, and its amendments, were written and enacted by the PA legislature. The law is then interpreted by the appellate courts in Pennsylvania. The process by which we litigate these cases, through the Workers Compensation Judge (WCJ) and Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB), are dictated by these Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure.

Included in the changes to the Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure before Workers’ Compensation Judges are how cases are litigated against the Uninsured Employers’ Guaranty Fund (UEGF), the fund that is available when an employer fails to carry PA workers’ comp insurance. There were also changes or amendments to what must be contained within Stipulations of Fact, to the timing of the serving of subpoenas, to the availability of a motion like a Motion for Summary Judgment (as in civil law), and changes to initial hearing procedures and pleadings.

Last night, attorneys Dina Brilliant and Glenn Neiman were guest speakers on the television show hosted by Injured Workers of PA on Berks County Television. Prior to addressing the specific topic of the show, “The Most Frequently Asked Questions We Hear,” the two spoke a little about the prospective legislation which would tax many legal services in PA, including contingent fee agreements in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation matters (Senate Bill 76).

After dealing with this “Legislative Alert,” the two addressed such questions as:

“Can I get workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania if I am not legally able to work in this Country?”

On Friday, January 24, 2014, our offices will be closed for part of the day so our attorneys, and our staff, can attend a seminar regarding the usage of the new computer system recently installed for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Called the WCAIS system, this program went live back in September.

Though we were involved in the early testing of the WCAIS system, each day has brought changes to the new program. To best handle our cases with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, we felt it important that we, and our staff, attend a seminar held to review the current status of WCAIS, and how best to use the system. The seminar is scheduled to have Hon. Elizabeth A. Crum, Director, Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication in Harrisburg, Hon. Susan B. Caravaggio, Central District Judge Manager for the Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication, and three of the lead programmers who worked on, and refined, the system.

While we apologize for any inconvenience caused by us closing the firm, we believe our attendance at this seminar this will better enable us to represent injured workers throughout Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

When we were selected last year by LexisNexis as one of the Top 25 Blogs for Workers’ Compensation and Workplace Issues for 2012, it was our fourth such honor in the past five years. We wanted to make sure that we continued to keep our blog at this high level, to be worthy of the praise we were given. Over the course of 2013, we have strived to provide information to the general public, to help injured workers, especially those in Pennsylvania. We wanted to be a resource people could trust and rely upon.

To our delight, we have once again been selected by LexisNexis as one of the Top 25 Blogs for Workers’ Compensation and Workplace Issues for 2013. We are humbled to now be a five-time recipient of such a high honor from an esteemed source. While we certainly do not produce our blog for such awards, we do greatly appreciate being recognized for our efforts.

As we have over the past several years, we will work hard in 2014 to continue to keep the same level of service to the public, and make sure that we remain worthy of the honor we have received.

We at Brilliant & Neiman LLC are honored to announce that the Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce (SBIEC) has awarded our firm with the 2013 Pennsylvania Excellence Award. According to the press release:

“Each year the SBIEC conducts business surveys and industry research to identify companies that have achieved demonstrable success in their local business environment and industry category. They are recognized as having enhanced the commitment and contribution of small businesses through service to their customers and community. Small businesses of this caliber enhance the consumer driven stature that Pennsylvania is renowned for”.

We are obviously humbled and honored by being selected for this award, and we strive to serve our clients at the highest level every day, to make sure we are worthy of such recognition. It is this kind of recognition which reinforces our decision, from our firm’s creation, to limit our practice to simply representing injured workers in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation matters.

As we mentioned before, both of the partners of Brilliant & Neiman LLC, Dina Brilliant and Glenn Neiman, were invited to appear on a television show hosted by Injured Workers of Pennsylvania. This show was aired live on August 19, 2013, and broadcast throughout the Berks County region of PA. The website for Berks County Television has a copy of the show in its archives, and it can be viewed on the internet by clicking here.

We at Brilliant & Neiman LLC thank Injured Workers of Pennsylvania for giving us this opportunity to speak to the public on issues regarding workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania. The primary topic was the status of House Bill 1636, which would eliminate choice of doctor for all injured workers in Pennsylvania. One of the jobs we, as attorneys representing injured workers, have is to educate the public, so injured workers know their rights under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.

We are excited to report that Dina Brilliant and Glenn Neiman have been invited to appear on the television program aired by Injured Workers of PA on Berks County Television, to discuss matters of interest to injured workers throughout Pennsylvania. This will be on a live call-in program on August 19, 2013 from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm. We invite our clients, and anyone else out there wanting to discuss workers’ compensation issues, to call in during the program. The number is 610-378-0426.

As a leading workers’ compensation firm in Pennsylvania, Brilliant & Neiman LLC has worked with the PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation on issues, such as the mediation process, in the past. The Bureau is now getting ready to institute the final part of its overhaul, transitioning into the online Workers’ Compensation Automation and Integration System (WCAIS). Initially, last September, the Bureau started the transition to WCAIS, by putting the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB) onto the system. This next, and final, step will be to bring the rest of the Bureau, and the entire adjudication process, into WCAIS.

It was no surprise, then, that the attorneys at Brilliant & Neiman LLC were again invited by the Bureau to be among a select group of attorneys and legal professionals from across the State of Pennsylvania to assist the Bureau with the final stages of this development. This partnership is beneficial to the Bureau, by having the attorneys work on the new system under the watch of the Bureau – to further tweak the process and refine its efficiency, as well as to the attorneys involved, by having an early exposure to the new system and gaining valuable experience.

The WCAIS system will streamline the workers’ compensation process in PA, centralizing the filing of petitions, the scheduling of hearings and the entire litigation of cases. Currently, the system is scheduled to go live on September 9, 2013. This new process should greatly increase the efficiency of both the Bureau, and the parties involved in litigation. We at Brilliant & Neiman LLC were excited and honored to share our time and experience with the Bureau, to help make the system better for all involved.

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