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WCJ Ignores all of the facts and denies claim offhand
#1
Hello everyone
I have a question. Is it common for a WCJ to make a decision based on the "demeanor" of the claimant, and deny all of the facts?
 
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#2
it depends on the facts and the claimant.
certainly judges have to make a determination about what is the truth and what isn't. they don't have to take either at face value.
if you believe judicial ethics were violated, you can file a complaint.
of course either party has the right to an appeal.
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#3
1171,
After my hearing, I was told that IF the WCJ denied my request for the needed surgery to my knee, the only way I could file an appeal was if there was a rule broken in the WC book of law. This was per my lawyer.
 
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#4
(07-25-2014, 07:48 PM)Scooter123 Wrote: 1171,
After my hearing, I was told that IF the WCJ denied my request for the needed surgery to my knee, the only way I could file an appeal was if there was a rule broken in the WC book of law. This was per my lawyer.
ignoring facts breaks the rule of law.
how the law is interpreted can vary between courts.
the poster thinks facts were ignored; if that can be shown then that is sufficient for an appeal.

at the higher levels of appeal you have to show the legal precedents and can't bring in new evidence or facts.
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#5
Thanks for reply!
 
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#6
(07-25-2014, 07:57 PM)1171 Wrote:
(07-25-2014, 07:48 PM)Scooter123 Wrote: 1171,
After my hearing, I was told that IF the WCJ denied my request for the needed surgery to my knee, the only way I could file an appeal was if there was a rule broken in the WC book of law. This was per my lawyer.
ignoring facts breaks the rule of law.
how the law is interpreted can vary between courts.
the poster thinks facts were ignored; if that can be shown then that is sufficient for an appeal.

at the higher levels of appeal you have to show the legal precedents and can't bring in new evidence or facts.
 
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#7
I see. Well the WCJ in my case denied my claim with absolutely no reason why. In fact the Judge asked me many more questions then the Ins. Co. Lawyer did. (It seemed like the judge had a stake in this case and didn't let the Ins. Co. lawyer speak at all except for a little bit at the end). I have appealed to the WCAB and they have upheld his denial of benefits. All of the evidence that the Ins. Co. has submitted are lies substantiated by testimonies of "their own" witnesses. (The 2 witnesses for the Defendant contradicted themselves in their testimonies, and the IME Dr. agreed on cross-examination that there "was" documented injuries in the medical records (his initial opinion was that there were no "documentation" of an injury, including the MRI that clearly showed 6 Herniated Disks, Stenosis and Arthritis) There are tons of "precedents" noted in my lawyers brief, but they also seem to be being ignored. We are now in the PA Commonwealth Court and waiting for a decision. They have asked my lawyer for "more specificity", which he tells me that that has "never" happened to him before in 35 years of representing injured workers. I feel like me and the facts of my case are being ignored. I don't know where to go from here. Any suggestions?

P.S. How do I file a complaint and to whom do I file it with?

Thanks for everything
 
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#8
http://www.pacourts.us/courts/court-of-j...discipline

if your atty indicated that you had a good case and now you are losing it's understandable that they would make some self-serving statements to explain.
if the atty hasn't seen the situation in 35 yrs they are probably not as experienced as they should be.
since the lawyer can't blame the client or themselves, the court itself becomes the likely target.

if they thought they could win and haven't I would not rely on their analysis that the court is at fault; their track record in predicting outcomes may not be as accurate as they've been telling you.

there is no guarantee the legal system will get every decision right.

it's difficult to believe that the court issued a decision only without any comment on their reasoning. that in itself may work against it being upheld by the higher court.
are you sure there wasn't more on the decision that you have not seen?
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#9
Hi 1171, thank you for your reply.

First of all, my attorney goes silent when I ask questions like "Is this a good case". I typically get a 50/50 answer, if any, (Maybe they will, Maybe they wont, it's hard to say). I have spoken to other attorneys about the case and they always ask me "who is your lawyer?", and when I tell them, they say "Why are you here seeing me, Jeff is the best!, and they dummy up"!

I got the "more specificity" letter and a copy of the brief he sent in response to it in my snail mail. I asked him long ago to send me copies of all correspondence. I have everything, testimonies, decisions, briefs. It seemed to me that the Court was asking for clarification of some things, the original brief, the one that was used up to this point was a disaster, typo's missing facts, etc. And him mentioning that it had never happened to him before, was odd too, but I don't know how these things are supposed to work.

As far as the decision with no reason, that is one of the first things mentioned in my lawyers brief. Also the fact that even though the Ins. Co. Dr.'s testimony should have been found to be "equivocal" (invalid), because he admitted under cross-examination that there "were" documentation of injuries in the medical records, when his original opinion was that there was "not".
(The WCJ and the Appeals Board both ignored this fact).

When you also consider that one of the two witnesses for the employer said that they "were" aware that I had been injured, and the other said they weren't, and the General Manager, who is the first person I reported the injury to, didn't testify at all!

There's a lot more to this case, but that's all I will say for now.

I would like to get more information about what options I have.

Thanks for your time.
 
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#10
To go back to your original question, in PA the judges' are permitted to make determinations regarding the credibility of witnesses that they actually see testify based upon demeanor alone, and this does happen frequently. If the testimony is presented by deposition, the judge has to explain why he found one witness more credible than another. Furthermore, credibility determinations are not reviewed on appeal, so your attorney would have been in a ruff spot from the beginning if the judge's decision is based on credibility determinations. It sounds like your lawyer has done everything possible and then some. The sad reality is that some times legitimate injuries are not recognized.
Timothy D. Belt
DISCLAIMER: This post is intended as general information applicable only to the state of Pennsylvania. The answer given is based only on the facts provided. This post is not intended to create an attorney client relationship, or to provide any specific guarantee of confidentiality.
 
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