Practice/Industry Group Overview
The Workers' Compensation Practice Group is devoted to the exclusive representation of employers, insurance carriers and third party administrators. While many of the attorneys in this group have a background in civil litigation, they all focus their practice solely on the defense of workers' compensation matters. Our attorneys are well versed in the intricacies of this nuanced practice, and due to their constant presence in the courts where they practice, they are well respected by the judges before whom they regularly appear and the attorneys against whom they compete.
Our attorneys are involved in all aspects of workers' compensation, from the infancy of a claim through practice in the appellate courts. We are vigorous litigators who also recognize that litigation is not always the primary focus of an employer's successful workers' compensation program. Significant monetary savings can be achieved through the effective management of workers' compensation plans and innovative return-to-work programs, and our attorneys are on the cutting edge of case law developments to assist in the design, implementation and continuation of such programs. We also provide risk management services and can help reduce costs by becoming involved during the pre-litigation phase. In addition, the work of the attorneys in the firm's highly regarded Appellate Advocacy and Post-Trial Practice Group includes front-line responsibility for conducting necessary legal research, writing required briefs, and preparing and presenting oral arguments in post-trial motions and appeals.
As workers' compensation has become increasingly sophisticated, we have expanded our scope of practice to support clients in areas that have become tangential to the workers' compensation practice.
Workers' Compensation Fraud
Fraud contributes significantly to the cost of doing business and negatively impacts employers, insurance carriers and third party administrators. We can facilitate the filing of a fraud claim through local government agencies and review all cases for civil remedies to help our clients recoup some of the monies expended due to fraudulent cases.
There is increased interplay between unemployment compensation and workers' compensation cases. We can assist our clients in assessing their need for counsel in unemployment cases and can also answer specific questions on how to handle unemployment cases.
Fee reviews have become an increasingly important component of workers' compensation cases in Pennsylvania. We have identified the problems associated with the fee review system and developed a practice in Pennsylvania where our attorneys are involved at the initiation of the fee review process and aggressively represent our clients' interests through the fee review hearings. Medical providers are able to use the fee review process to challenge the timeliness or amount of medical payments made by the employer/carrier. Since a provider's allegations are accepted at face value during the initial stages of the fee review process, many unjust initial determinations are issued. Attorneys in each of our Pennsylvania offices have extensive experience with the issues that arise during fee reviews and have a thorough understanding of CPT codes, appropriate levels of treatment, appropriate types of treatment and how to win these cases in an efficient and cost effective manner.
Federal Black Lung
Our attorneys defend claims filed by coal miners and their surviving spouses for benefits available under the Federal Black Lung Benefits Act. Clients benefit from our extensive experience litigating industrial pulmonary disease claims before the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Administrative Law Judges, Benefits Review Board and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In addition to defending Black Lung claims, our attorneys leverage their knowledge and experience handling pulmonary disease litigation to defend workers' compensation claims in which a pulmonary exposure is alleged.
Hearing Loss Claims
Injuries resulting from exposure to hazardous occupational noise comprise one of the largest group of specific loss/permanency claims in the tri-state area. In addition to becoming more commonplace, these claims have also become more technologically complex. Each attorney assigned to hearing loss claims are familiar with the science behind acoustical trauma, including the inner workings of audiometric testing, leading to effective cross examination of key witnesses. Further, our attorneys seek to expose pre-existing, non-work related hearing loss and differentiate it from compensable loss. We are one of the leading defense firms in protecting successor-in-interest employers that are unexpectedly plagued with hearing loss claims stemming from employees’ hazardous noise exposure with previous employers. In Pennsylvania, we were pioneers in the effort to change the standard of monetary award in hearing loss cases from an all-encompassing specific loss award to that of a percentage award based on actual work-related hearing loss. Our attorneys are also well versed in the practical implications of a working hearing conservation program and the benefits such a program can have on an employer’s bottom line.
Our attorneys regularly advise and counsel clients in matters related to Medicare Set-Asides. Led by James Pocius, who was actively involved in the creation and refinement of the regulations, our group is well versed in the workings of the federal and state liability systems as well as the workers' compensation systems of various states. We can assist our clients with Medicare Set-Aside allocations for workers' compensation and liability cases, Medicare eligibility searches, Medicare submissions to the agency for approval, conditional payment searches and revisions of Medicare Set-Aside allocations.