It has been a couple of weeks since we shared an overview of Pennsylvania's workers' compensation system with our readers. At the end of that post, we mentioned that injured or sickened workers have the right to appeal when they are unhappy with the initial result.
Expanding on that reference, today we will discuss the workers' compensation appeals process in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeals Board got its current name in 1996, but it has been around for decades. In fact, when the Workmen's Compensation Board was created in 1915, it was considered the final finder of fact, and the referees that heard claims were under the Board's jurisdiction.
Then, in 1972, amendments to the state Administrative Code and Workmen's Compensation Act curtailed the Board's power somewhat. It could only overturn a referee's decision if the ruling was not based on competent evidence.
Instead of being the final fact-finder, the Board now became an appellate body, with its name changed to the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board. Its name changed again in 1996 to the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board, to reflect the fact that women get hurt on the job too.
Making an appeal to the Board can be tricky. Perhaps your original claim was unfairly denied, or you were unable to present clear enough evidence that your injuries were due to a workplace accident or the nature of your job.
Whatever went wrong the first time, having an attorney help with the appeal can greatly improve the odds that things work out in your favor the second time around.