An obvious question asked by many clients is just how long does Workers Compensation litigation take in Pennsylvania. It is a concerning issue for many injured workers because they are either off work with a denied injury or off work and the insurance carrier has accepted the injury, but only for medical purposes, not wage loss. That means that the injured worker is out of work, often times with no alternative sources of income.
In Pennsylvania, a typical time line for workers compensation litigation extend from 8 months to 12 months. Let’s walk through the time line to illustrate why the lengthy time line exists.
First, from the time you file a claim, it may be 15-45 days before a hearing is scheduled. Depending upon what Judge is assigned to your case, you may or may not testify at the first hearing. I advise my clients on that issue immediately (So there is at minimum 1 month)
After the initial hearing, the Claimant has 90 days to complete his/her medical evidence, which is a medical deposition of your treating doctor. The employer then has 90 days thereafter to depose their medical expert, which is the doctor that performed an IME on you. (So there is at least 6 months for medical evidence portion of the case)
At some point in the middle of this six month medical portion of the case, a status hearing and mediation may be scheduled. Mediation is used to try and settle the claim, and often times, mediation can be successful.
After the medical evidence portion is complete, a final hearing is usually scheduled where the parties update the Judge on the completion of the evidentiary portion of the case, the Judge may close the evidentiary record, and then issue a briefing calendar. A briefing could like both parties have 30 days to submit their briefs to the Judge, or the Claimant has 30 days to submit his/her brief and the Employer has 30 days thereafter to submit their brief, or Claimant has 30 days to submit their brief and Employer has 15 days thereafter. Procedure really depends on the individual Workers Compensation Judge assigned to your case. (So you can count anywhere between 30-60 days for briefing)
After briefs are submitted, it may be another 30 to 60 days before the Judge issues a Decision in your case. (So there is another 30-60 days)
Adding that up, that would equal about 9 to 13 months. The calendar also depends on the individual Judge and the case itself. Not every case goes through the process with smooth sailing. At times, the calendars get backed up for one reason or another.
That is a long time for an injured worker to go without compensation. Unfortunately, it is also a reality.
Fortunately, most cases do not go through the entire litigation process. They end up settling out. It is important though that you have an experienced workers compensation attorney on your side that understands the process, can guide you through the process, and understands the appropriate value of your case. Here at Mooney & Associates, we have recovered millions and have excellent success sin winning decisions. We stand by ready to vigorously represent you and protect your Workers Compensation benefits and rights. We represent injured workers throughout Central Pennsylvania with 14 offices statewide, including fully staffed offices in Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Carlisle, Harrisburg, York,Gettysburg, and Hanover. Call us today for a FREE consultation on your case at 717-200-HELP or 1-877-632-4656. You can also get more information from our website by linking right here.