Claimants for workers’ compensation benefits typically receive one opportunity to file a claim, litigate the relevant issue, and obtain a final decision. A claimant may appeal a final decision but may not restart the process from the beginning and retry the case in its entirety. This rule of law generally applies to the different evidentiary standards within the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system.
When a worker withdraws a claim petition “without prejudice,” the injured worker may refile the same petition again as long as it is filed within the applicable statute of limitations. However, if a worker’s petition for a claim is dismissed “with prejudice” then the claimant may not file a petition again at a later date, even if filed within the time period prescribed by the statute of limitations.
At times, a claimant may withdraw a petition hoping to refile it later only to be opposed by the employer’s attorney who may be ready and willing to defend the claim. The basis for such opposition may be that some witnesses may have left the employ of the company since the accident. The attorney and employer’s insurance carrier would thereby be prejudiced if the injured worker was allowed to file the same petition in the future.
In this situation, an injured worker who offers reasons for a delay and does not ignore the required deadlines would indicate to a court that any prejudice to the employer or insurance carrier was not the result of the bad conduct on the part of the injured worker. Thus, the court would typically dismiss the petition “without prejudice” and the claimant could yet again file for benefits at a later date.
Accidents happen in the workplace. Other circumstances may also arise in the workplace causing worker injury. At Powell Law, we effectively assist clients throughout the entire workers’ compensation claims process. Powell Law has litigated Pennsylvania workers compensation actions and obtained benefits for injured Pennsylvania workers in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area for over a century. Consult an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE!