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Brilliant & Neiman LLC is proud to announce a Continuing Education Series, with topics of interest to the injured worker in Pennsylvania.  The initial seminar in the series will take place on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 7:00 p.m., at the headquarters of the firm, 260 West Street Road in Warminster, PA.

The program on September 25, 2018 will be entitled “Settling a PA Workers’ Compensation Case – What the Injured Worker Has to Know.”  We selected this topic to start the series, since we are often asked questions regarding the settlement of workers’ comp cases in Pennsylvania.  Specifically, we will be discussing the timing of a settlement, the factors that go into determining the value of a PA workers’ compensation case (and the factors that, for reasons we will explain, do not), and the process (from the start of the settlement negotiations to the final approval of the Compromise & Release Agreement).

Additional programs will be held in October and November (for those marking their calendars, the dates will be October 24, 2018 and November 29, 2018).  The program in October will examine and explain the PA workers’ compensation litigation process, from the origin of a claim, and the starting of benefits, through litigation when an insurance carrier seeks to reduce or end the benefits.  We felt this topic would be helpful to address the stress an injured worker faces about the direction and future of his or her case.  Finally, the November program will talk about the medical issues involved with an injured worker, specifically, as dealing with chronic pain.  Depending on the level of interest, there could be additional programs added to this series.

Unfortunately, due to what appears to be a problem with Comcast business phone service across several states, we currently cannot be reached by telephone.  Please try to contact us by e-mail at gneiman@bnlegal.com or dbrilliant@bnlegal.com or by messaging us at our Facebook page.  We deeply regret this inconvenience, and hope Comcast has our service restored in the near future.

***I should note that the phones were back by that afternoon around 3:00***

 

Recently, an injured worker from Lower Bucks County, PA, called us.  When we discussed our Bucks County office locations, I mentioned our main office in Warminster and our satellite location in Trevose.  To our surprise, the injured worker was not familiar with Warminster.  As a proud commercial resident of Warminster Township, we wanted to make sure more folks knew about our town.

Warminster Township is less than four miles northwest of Philadelphia, and conveniently accessible to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-95.  SEPTA bus service runs throughout Warminster, and we have our own regional rail station.  Over 32,000 residents call Warminster Township home.

While Warminster Township may be less than 11 square miles in size, it features “420 acres of active and passive recreation areas in 13 parks.”  The largest of the parks is Warminster Community Park, located between Street Road and Bristol Road, adjacent to Jacksonville Road.  This park boasts over five miles of trails, and features playground equipment, basketball courts and a unique “little city” area for kids to play.

We have often discussed the importance of winning a case before the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ).  This is because the WCJ is the “ultimate finder of fact.”  Determinations of credibility made by a WCJ cannot be challenged on appeal.  Indeed, appellate courts can only change the decision of a WCJ if there has been an “error of law.”  Given this great power held by the WCJ, it is critical that an injured worker’s case be litigated as well as possible before the WCJ.

We say this to point out that it really does matter what PA workers’ comp attorney an injured worker selects.  Certainly, one can simply search on the internet and find many attorneys from which to choose.  But, therein lies the difficulty – how should an injured worker in Pennsylvania choose his or her workers’ compensation attorney?

To try to bring some common sense to this situation, we have added a page to our website, intended to help an injured worker make this important selection.  Obviously, we would like an injured worker to call us, but whether you do or not, these are some things an injured worker can consider when making this important decision.

As we have done in the past, our attorneys will be at the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Conference in Hershey, PA, on June 12th and 13th.  This is the one annual program run by the Bureau itself.  There is a large attendance by adjusters, risk management and safety officials, attorneys (from both sides of the fence) and Workers’ Compensation Judges from all across PA.

While we regret being out of town, and unable to serve our clients on these two days, we believe attending this seminar is beneficial to ultimately represent injured workers in Pennsylvania.  By listening to updates in case law and legislation, we stay current on trends and developments (as followers of our blog know, of course, we already stay pretty close anyway!).

Perhaps just as significant as the seminar, is hearing the topics being discussed by attorneys for the insurance carriers, and, even more so, the Workers’ Compensation Judges (WCJs).  It is invaluable to have some insight into how any particular situation, or any set of facts, will be viewed by our opponent, or by the WCJ.

As attorneys representing the injured worker in Pennsylvania, there is a call we get far too often.  It starts with the injured worker telling us that they lost their case before the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) and need assistance in litigating an appeal before the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB).  Unfortunately, in the vast majority of these cases, we are simply unable to offer help to the injured worker.

The role of the WCJ in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation is something we have discussed on this blog in the past.  Essentially, the WCJ is the ultimate Finder of Fact.  When a credibility determination has to be made, it is the province of the WCJ to do so.  As long as there is support in the evidentiary record, and the WCJ explains his or her reasoning, these credibility determinations cannot be reversed or changed on appeal.  Even if the appellate body, whether the WCAB, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, or even the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, admits it would have concluded otherwise, it still cannot change the Findings of Fact or credibility determinations rendered by the WCJ.

So, you may be wondering, if an appellate court cannot change the Findings of Fact or determinations of credibility of a WCJ, what is required then on appeal?  Basically, a successful appeal requires that it be shown the WCJ made an error of law.  An appellant would have to show that there is no substantial basis to support the ultimate Conclusion of Law made by the WCJ.  In other words, accepting the facts as found by the WCJ, the appellant should still have won.  For better or worse (depending if you win before the WCJ), it is pretty rare to find a true “error of law” made by the WCJ.  This is why we can rarely help an injured worker with an appeal, when the injured worker does not contact us until he or she loses in front of the WCJ.

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.

We have previously discussed things an injured worker in Pennsylvania may wish to consider when selecting a PA workers’ compensation attorney.  Of course, you would want an attorney experienced handling PA workers’ comp cases.  Having practiced primarily in the area of PA workers’ compensation for over 20 years, each of our attorneys has extensive experience in the field.

Since the availability of such a certification in 2013, you may now want to make sure your attorney is Certified as a Specialist in the Practice of Workers’ Compensation Law.  Both of our attorneys, Dina Brilliant and Glenn Neiman, are so certified.  In fact, Brilliant & Neiman LLC is proud to state that our attorneys were two of the first group of attorneys ever to be certified in this area.

But, it is more than just having experience or qualifications.  The true test is using those skills for the benefit of our clients.  Why, just today, Mr. Neiman argued before the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.  This is something not every workers’ compensation attorney gets to do.  We at Brilliant & Neiman LLC go that extra step for our clients, backing them as far as it takes.

If you have not visited our website recently, you may be surprised at some of the changes you will see by checking us out at www.bnlegal.com. The first thing you may notice is that the site has been redesigned to be more friendly to devices other than computers. Now the site should scale itself to be easily read, whether you are browsing on your smart phone, tablet or computer.

Also, we have expanded the information available under the “Workers’ Compensation” tab. We know the entire workers’ compensation system can be scary and intimidating, even if you have an attorney already protecting your rights. In fact, we at Brilliant & Neiman LLC feel that one of our jobs is to explain the process to our clients, so they can feel more secure and understand the system better. Aside from basic concepts, like what benefits are available under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, what if my case is denied or how do I settle my case, we have created pages addressing Impairment Ratings Evaluations, Utilization Reviews and Labor Market Surveys/Earning Power Assessments, since these things impact so many injured workers in PA.

If there are any other pages you think would be helpful for us to add, feel free to visit us and make suggestions.

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.

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