Representing injured workers has been a way of life for me for 44 years. I started to practice law in 1974. I had no idea what kind of cases I would handle - they don't teach you that in law school!Frank Pawlosky showed up one day. He worked for Rolling Rock cleaning the beer vats. The chemicals made his asthma get so bad that he had to stop working. I filed a claim for him. The Judge found that he was not entitled to Workers' Compensation since the chemicals did not cause his asthma, only aggravated it. I appealed. I lost. I appealed again. I lost. Ten years and three appeals later, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania agreed that Frank Pawlosky was injured at work and they awarded him disability benefits. Needless to say, I found my niche in the law.Today, the climate for injured workers is not as favorable as it was in 1984. Harrisburg has taken away important rights. Our appellate courts are filled with judges who are not very sympathetic to the plight of the injured worker. Attorneys who advertise on TV give injured workers and the whole system a bad image.
"In the state of Pennsylvania, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability insurance coverage are not mandatory insurance coverages, such as Workers' Compensation. Therefore, it is dependent on your employer to carry such coverage, or for you to purchase an individual policy on your own from an insurance carrier. Usually, you can find out whether your employer offers Short-Term or Long-Term Disability coverage by contacting your Human Resources Department and/or reviewing your employee manual.
At first glance, Long-Term Disability Claims/Denials seem to be a simple issue of contract law. Usually, for the first 24 months, the definition of disability is whether or not you can perform your own job. So, if you can't work, all you have to do is provide a form signed by your doctor that you are disabled and furnish "proof of disability" and magically the insurer will pay your claim!