Super Lawyers

Four Mette, Evans & Woodside Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers”

Super Lawyers

Attorneys pictured (left to right): Kathryn Simpson, James Goldsmith, Michael Farrell & Victoria Edwards

Mette, Evans & Woodside attorneys Kathryn L. Simpson, James L. Goldsmith and Michael A. Farrell were named as top attorneys in Pennsylvania by Super Lawyers. Attorney Victoria P. Edwards was also recognized by Super Lawyer as a Rising Star. The Super Lawyers honor is reserved for attorneys who exhibit excellence in their legal practice with just five percent achieving the recognition in the state.

Ms. Simpson’s practice is in commercial litigation, professional liability defense, labor and employment, and health law. Since 2004, Ms. Simpson has been recognized as a Super Lawyer for her litigation work. She is a frequent speaker and author of continuing legal education course materials for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.

Mr. Goldsmith focuses his practice on professional liability defense, professional licensure defense and real estate litigation. Since 2006, he has been recognized in the professional liability defense category. Mr. Goldsmith also provides legal expertise to professional trade associations such as the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, and several Associations of REALTORS® across Pennsylvania.

Mr. Farrell, who has been recognized for seven years, has been practicing in the field of insurance defense litigation for 32 years. He is a certified specialist in the practice of workers’ compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Section on Workers’ Compensation Law as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He has published articles and has taught seminars relating to Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law.

Ms. Edwards dedicates her practice to workers’ compensation and social security disability. Since 2016, she has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers. Ms. Edwards also is a certified specialist in the practice of workers’ compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Section on Workers’ Compensation Law as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

“Having so many of our attorneys recognized as “Super Lawyers” over the last decade is a testament to Mette, Evans & Woodside’s dedication to providing top-notch legal counsel,” said the firm’s President Tim Hoy. “We’re proud to have these outstanding attorneys as a part of our legal team.”

Mette, Evans & Woodside has a long-standing tradition of providing comprehensive legal representation in Litigation, Estates and Trusts, Business and Real Estate. Founded in 1969, the firm provides clients throughout Pennsylvania with sound legal counsel for all facets of their professional and personal life.

How Should an Employer Handle a Repetitive Motion Injury?

By: Victoria Edwards, Esq.

In manufacturing jobs many times employees are required to perform the same motion repeatedly or maintain certain body positions or grips, which can result in repetitive motion injuries. Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, an injury need not be pinpointed to a specific event or definable incident, so long as the injury arises in the course of employment. Pennsylvania Courts have held that an injury may have resulted from the cumulative effect from the work duties. Many cases come down to differentiating between repetitive motion injuries and degenerative conditions associated with aging. When an employee reports a repetitive motion injury, an employer should immediately document and file a report of injury and notify their insurance carrier. An independent medical examination is also essential to provide a potential basis to deny the claim. Additionally, have an employee be prepared to testify regarding steps taken to ensure that the work station was ergonomic and to address other mitigating factors.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability

By: Victoria P. Edwards

Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability (SSD) is for people, who during their employment history, have amassed enough work credits by paying Social Security payroll taxes. To be considered for Social Security Disability you must be suffering from a severe condition that is expected to last at least 12 months; or result in death; or that prevents you from performing the work you did; or any other work at Substantial Gainful Activity levels.

To be eligible for Social Security Benefits, a person must be unable to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). SGA is the net of impairment-related work expenses, which are expenses you incur from the purchase or payment related to special equipment, training or anything else related to your ability to perform work with your impairment. These expenses can be used to reduce your monthly earnings in order to be considered earning under SGA. In 2018, SGA is earning over $1,180 per month and $1,970 per month for those who are blind.

If the previous information is relevant to your condition, you can apply for Social Security Disability online at SSA.Gov or at the local Social Security Office. The application review process usually takes 4-8 months to hear a decision. Statistics from the United States Social Security Disability Insurance Program show that nearly 60% of applications are denied. Anything from incomplete information to improper medical records can result in denial of the disability application.

Completing all necessary forms correctly is crucial to a successful application. An experienced attorney familiar with Social Security Disability can guide you through the entire process, providing you with information about how to answer questions appropriately, proper documentation of condition and chronicling your treatment history to ensure that your application is accurate.

There is an expedited process available for critical cases. These cases are designated for situations involving terminal illness, veteran with 100% permanent and total disability rating, military casualty/ wounded warrior case and compassionate allowance. Expedited situations also include claimants who are in dire need; meaning they are without food and are unable to obtain it; or lack medicine or medical care and are unable to obtain it; or lack shelter.

If your initial application is denied, you may appeal and ask for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If denied by the ALJ, you may then appeal to the Appeals Counsel. If then denied by the Appeals Counsel, you may appeal to the District Court. Having an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer can help to ensure that your application is accurate thus improving chances of receiving SSD.

Attorneys Farrell and Edwards Successfully Defend Workers’ Compensation Challenge for Client

Attorney EdwardsAttorney Farrell The Commonwealth Court of PA decided in favor of the client represented by Attorneys Farrell and Edwards, that the Workers’ Compensation Judge does not have jurisdiction to review a Utilization Review Determination where the Provider under review fails to provide medical records to the reviewer. The Court also held that denying the Claimant the right to a hearing did not violate the Claimant’s right to due process because the Claimant does not have a property interest in his future medical treatment.

A utilization review doctor did not violate the due process rights of an injured worker by denying a medication and injection regimen after a treating physician failed to submit medical records to justify the treatments, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania decided Friday.

Michael Farrell, one of the Mette, Evans & Woodside attorneys representing Fisher Auto Parts’, argued that because the utilization review doctor had deemed the Claimants treatments no longer reasonable or necessary, the Claimant no longer had a property right to them.

The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board sided with Attorneys Farrell and Edward’s client, overturning the order of a workers’ compensation judge who decided that the Claimant had proved he needed the treatments. The WCAB said that the judge lacked subject matter jurisdiction over UR denials due to a lack of medical records.

Attorney Farrell said he thinks the Commonwealth Court made the right call in this constitutional challenge. “The due process argument that was raised makes (this case) unique, and I think the court actually decided it correctly – there was no violation of the procedural due process of the Claimant of this case,” Farrell said. “The court indicated there was no identifiable property right of the Claimant that had been denied.”

 

IN THE COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA

OPINION BY PRESIDENT JUDGE LEAVITT
FILED: January 12, 2018

Timothy Allison (Claimant) petitions for review of an adjudication of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Board) holding that the Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) lacked jurisdiction to hear Claimant’s appeal of a utilization review determination. In this appeal, we consider whether a WCJ has jurisdiction to review the reasonableness and necessity of Claimant’s medical treatment where, as here, Claimant’s provider did not provide medical records to the utilization review organization (URO) but a peer review report was nevertheless prepared. We also consider whether the Board violated Claimant’s due process rights by denying Claimant a right to appeal the URO determination.

READ FULL DECISION

WorkCompCentral.com Article

Court Rejects Constitutional Challenge to UR Provision
by Emily Brill

A utilization review doctor did not violate the due process rights of an injured worker by denying a medication and injection regimen after a treating physician failed to submit medical records to justify the treatments, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania decided Friday.

READ FULL ARTICLE