What should I do if my workers' comp claim is denied?

You have the right to appeal a claim denial to a workers' compensation judge. You should gather your medical records so that a claim petition can be filed with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. It is crucial to have an attorney represent you at this stage of the proceedings because it will be necessary to provide testimony—both your own testimony and the testimony of medical experts who support your benefits.

Through an arrangement with APFA, the attorneys at The Boles Firm have agreed to charge a reduced fee and accept all legitimate claims, no matter how small. Furthermore, the attorneys at The Boles Firm will provide you with a half-hour free consultation concerning your claim and will charge a reduced contingent fee to all American Airline flight attendants who hire the firm.

Under Section 27(C) of your contract, you are entitled to use time in your sick bank while your claim is pending. If you are capable of light duty work, you may be entitled to unemployment compensation benefits because under Section 27(G) of your contract, the company may not require you to work light duty. In the event you are awarded workers' compensation benefits, those benefits will be reduced by any unemployment compensation benefits you received.

Under Section 27(F) of your contract, while your claim is being appealed, you'll be paid sick hours if you have sick hours in your bank.  You will also be paid your vacation pay.  If you're claiming sick leave and have a scheduled vacation, you must notify the company if you wish to cancel the scheduled vacation.  If the workers' compensation judge reverses the denial and the claim is approved, "the amount of sick leave and vacation time claimed, and sick leave and vacation that would have been accrued but for the original denial of the claim during the appeal period will be returned to the flight attendant's sick leave and vacation banks.  The amount of sick leave and vacation time reinstated will be limited to the amount of salary continuance the flight attendant would have been eligible for."  Furthermore, there may be tax adjustments that must be made because sick and vacation time are taxable and workers' compensation benefits are not.  If no tax adjustments are made, you should contact your IOD representative or Fenner and Boles at 215-557-5540.  

Greg Boles
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Partner at The Boles Firm | Experience Matters