We have talked before on this blog about how an injured worker can go about choosing a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney. Since this is such a common question, the issue is so important, and there are so many choices, we even have a page on our website devoted to the topic. So, this blog post is not about how to choose a workers’ comp lawyer. Instead, this entry will talk about one of the more important jobs we, as attorneys who represent injured workers, have in the process.
The vast majority of injured workers are not familiar with the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system. From the outside, it can appear to be a complex and complicated arena. Indeed, it can even be complicated for those of us who work with the system every day. Perhaps the scariest aspect of this for the injured worker is simply the vast unknown.
We regularly participate in various injured worker message boards on the internet, providing general legal information to those who ask (we, of course, cannot provide legal advice to someone we do not represent). Many of the questions we see, from injured workers who are already represented by an attorney, as well as those who are not, deal with the PA workers’ compensation process and how it works.
This brings to mind a key aspect of an attorney’s job in a workers’ compensation case – education. We believe that one of our biggest responsibilities in representing injured workers is to educate the injured worker about how the system works and what can be expected at each stage of the process. Having this knowledge, and being able to anticipate the various stages of a case, we believe, helps make the process less stressful for the injured worker. Since there is already far too much stress in the life of an injured worker, we take this aspect of our job very seriously.
Obviously, an attorney’s skill and expertise in litigation is critical, but the job goes beyond the courtroom. Communication skills are not simply for questioning witnesses or arguing to the Workers’ Compensation Judge. Instead, we should take the time to explain each step of a case to the injured worker, so there are no excessive fears or unnecessary surprises. To us, protecting the client starts with making sure the client understands what he or she is being protected from, and why. After all, as they say, knowledge is power!