Articles Posted in Attorney News

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.

One of the most difficult decisions faced by an injured worker in PA is how to decide who to hire as their worker’s compensation attorney. Many sites, or publications, have a list of attorneys they tout. Maybe they are called “Super” attorneys or “Awesome” lawyers, or some other cleaver marketing name. What standards do they use? Are they objective? Is there really merit in being named? Who knows. Now, however, there is an objective, regulated selection process authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

As we mentioned before, Pennsylvania has created a Workers’ Compensation Law Certification process. First, an attorney is screened to be certain he or she possesses the requisite experience to sit for the examination (a minimum of five years practicing in workers’ comp is required). Specific cases must be provided, including briefs and written arguments. The attorney must certify that at least half of his or her practice is devoted to PA workers’ comp matters. Only then is the attorney even allowed to sit for the examination test.

This test was given for the first time in March, 2013. The grueling four hour assessment covered every aspect of PA workers’ compensation law, thoroughly testing each applicant’s knowledge of the workers’ comp system. Both multiple choice and essay questions were involved.

Mediation is a growing area in Pennsylvania workers’ comp. As we have previously discussed, a mediation is when an independent party, in this context usually a Workers’ Compensation Judge [WCJ] (other than the assigned WCJ), meets with the parties in an informal setting in an effort to resolve the differences between the parties. The ultimate goal is to achieve a settlement to the case (usually done by “Compromise & Release Agreement”).

Since we at Brilliant & Neiman LLC work with injured workers every day, having constant contact with the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system, we are well-versed in most aspects of how the system functions from day to day. We are proud that our knowledge and experience will be used by the PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, as the Bureau adjusts the system to change with the times.

Since the start of “Mandatory Mediation,” added to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act in the 1996 amendments to the Act, the system has been relatively stagnant. Recently, the Bureau has sought a small working group to evaluate the mediation system and see what, if any, changes could be beneficial to the mediation process.

As mentioned here previously, Glenn C. Neiman, Partner at Brilliant & Neiman LLC, was featured in a seminar yesterday in Center City Philadelphia. The seminar was presented by renowned CLE provider Lawline. While Lawline typically specializes in internet CLE programs, this presentation was live (as well as webcast). The program, discussing updates in PA workers’ comp law as well as trends in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation, was done with Lawline’s program attorney, Kyle Robinson, in an interview format. The program will shortly be added to Lawline’s online course catalog, where attorneys from around the Country will have access.

Lawline.com has announced its speakers for the seminar the organization will be holding in Philadelphia on December 13, 2012. Discussing current trends in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation, and providing an update on decisions from PA Courts on such issues, will be Brilliant & Neiman LLC partner, Glenn Neiman. This will be the third speaking engagement for Mr. Neiman with Lawline.com, a well-respected continuing legal education provider. As was done in the previous seminar, Lawline.com’s program attorney, Kyle Robinson, will do an interview-style presentation with Mr. Neiman. The prior effort, from July 2011, was extremely well-received, garnering a 97% recommendation from seminar participants

As attorneys who limit their practice to representing the injured worker in PA workers’ comp cases, we are thrilled by the recent announcement that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has approved the process of creating a “certified workers’ compensation attorney” in Pennsylvania (or, in other words, a workers’ compensation specialist).

We have seen the damage done to cases when an injured worker trusts a general practitioner to handle a Pennsylvania workers’ comp case. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act is a complicated piece of legislation. As loyal readers of our blog know, this is a frequent topic of cases decided by the appellate courts in PA. Trusting a workers’ compensation case to an attorney not experienced in that area of law is akin to having an orthopedist handle your coronary artery bypass surgery. Just not a good idea.

A work-related injury can cause tremendous disruption, and loss, to both the injured worker and his and her family; we are thrilled that in the near future, that injured worker can have the confidence that he or she is selecting a “certified workers’ compensation attorney.” We, of course, look forward to becoming “certified workers’ compensation attorneys” as soon as the process for the testing and certification is completed.

Once again, we are honored and excited to report that our blog has been selected by LexisNexis as one of the Top 25 Blogs for Workers’ Compensation and Workplace Issues for 2011. We recognize all of the wonderful blogs out there covering not only Pennsylvania workers’ comp issues, but also blogs covering workers’ comp across the entire Country. It is for this reason that we are so humbled at again being recognized. We are especially proud, since this is our third such recognition in the past four years.

We again thank LexisNexis, and our loyal readers, for this providing us the opportunity to serve. We will make every effort over the ensuing months, and years, to show that we are worthy of this recognition.

As noted in a previous blog posting, Glenn C. Neiman, a partner at Brilliant & Neiman LLC, joined the prestigious faculty of Lawline.com in 2008. It was recently announced that his next seminar for Lawline.com will be on changing the description of injury in PA workers’ compensation, a topic which has been addressed here recently. The seminar, currently scheduled for late July, will be streamed live through Lawline.com, then made available to attorneys across the State of Pennsylvania, as well as throughout the United States.

Last week, we attended a PA Workers’ Compensation seminar in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This is the “Fall Section Meeting of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Section.” For years, workers’ comp attorneys from across the entire State of PA have gathered at this seminar to learn and discuss new cases and trends in PA workers’ compensation.

As you know, from reading our blog, we stay very current on workers’ comp cases coming out of the Commonwealth Court of PA and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. But, we recognize the importance of attending seminars like this one, so that we can interact with other workers’ compensation attorneys across PA, as well as the Workers’ Compensation Judges, and stay on top of trends and developments.

We believe it is this desire to stay current in all aspects of PA workers’ compensation law which makes Brilliant & Neiman LLC able to help injured workers as well as possible. Sometimes, general practice attorneys, who do not limit their entire practice to PA workers’ comp cases, as we do, are not able to stay as current on all aspects of cases they handle. We believe this is the primary benefit to us limiting our practice to just representing injured workers in their PA workers’ compensation cases.

As we mentioned in a previous blog entry, we are excited to sponsor a seminar on Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation, which is free to injured workers. More information can be seen in our ads in many area newspapers, or you can view the ad on www.phillyburbs.com by clicking here. We think this opportunity to learn about work injuries, from two experienced PA workers’ compensation attorneys, an occupational medicine physician and two representatives of a physical therapy facility, is a valuable experience which should be taken by every injured worker. We look forward to seeing all of you in our offices for the seminar on May 10, 2010 at 6:00. Just call us at (215) 244-8101 to reserve your spot.