Tim Kennedy advises us he has an intimate familiarity with the work done by pipefitters, the injuries they may suffer at work and problems they then face in the workplace:
I used to be a pipefitter, or at least an apprentice. During breaks from college and before law school, I worked for a natural gas utility. I spent my days threading pipe and building and setting meter manifolds for commercial and residential properties converting to natural gas heat.
One summer, I suffered a work-related injury. I was helping to lift a bank of meters that was both heavy and awkward. I threw my back out and found that I could not straighten. At the time, I knew nothing of the workers' compensation system. I was surprised and thought it was nothing short of generous when my employer paid for me to get medical treatment, without even a co-pay from me, and even kept me on at work when I was restricted to the shop. They sent me to a chiropractor, which was a whole new thing for me. I realize now that they were pushing me to the lowest level of care they could, and keeping me at work specifically because doing otherwise would have given me workers' compensation rights for wage loss.
The most telling moments came when the supervisor of my department asked me about my injury and my treatment. He was generally a nice guy and had always liked me because I was the most hard-working of the "temp" workers he had in the department. I was unwise, then, to the ways of workers' comp, and thought he was just being conversational. Pretty quickly, though, his reactions to what I told him about my treatment, and particularly his questions about whether I had ever had prior back problems, told me that his casual concerns were part of another agenda. Even though I continued working, hobbled though I was (only temporarily, thankfully), and even though I did everything the employer directed me to do, with no thought for pursuing any workers' compensation rights, the employer began treating me differently. In the days following my injury, a "safety director" who worked at another site began to make appearances at the shop. Even though I was quickly returned to full duty, and did all that my employer asked of me, I began to get harassed by the employer. The safety director would take note of small things, like parking a work truck too near the propane tanks -- exactly where I had been directed to park it -- and he directed my supervisor to have me on "close watch" for any employment violations. The very clear implication was that he wanted me gone, simply because I had suffered a work injury, even one from which I had recovered. I kept my nose clean for that summer, but I was not invited back.
I have since wondered how this would have played out if I had asserted my workers' compensation rights. Knowing what I now know, I believe that the very fact that I allowed the employer full control over the work injury situation, the fact that I did NOT act in a way that showed any knowledge of my legal rights for a work injury, allowed the employer to keep my injury under wraps and inspired the safety director to try to take the further step of seeing me out the door. In hindsight, it was only when the employer felt that I would assert my rights that they took any steps directed at keeping me happy or showing concern for me as a person or as an employee.
The lesson from this is that it is very often better, and safer, for an injured worker to show that they are aware of their rights, and the employer's obligations, under the Workers' Compensation Act and to let it be known that they are in a position to enforce those rights if the employer seeks to treat them unfairly. That said, I understand that different approaches work differently for different employers or situations, so each case must be considered individually and the best strategy determined for dealing with that particular employer or injury.
This rule applies not just to pipe-fitters, but to any injured worker who suffers a work injury that may set their personal needs and interests at odds with those of their employer. Trust employers to act in their own interests. If they can bully a worker into ignoring his very valuable workers' compensation rights, they may try to do so. If they can only protect themself by strict compliance with their obligations under the Workers' Compensation Act, and if they know the worker has an attorney ready to stand up for them in a fight, they will be more likely to tow the line and do the right thing in support of the injured workers' rights.
Whether you are employed in a union or a non-union shop, and regardless of what threats your employer may make about workers who suffer work injuries and pursue their workers compensation rights (believe: they don't tell workers the full story -- they guy you thought was "forced out" after pursuing his work injury rights very likely may have left with a six figure workers compensation settlement subject to a gag order), you are far better off if you at least explore your options in relation to your workers compensation rights.
Call our office today. We can tell you what your rights are and explain how we may help you preserve both your valuable rights and your control over the situation when your employer seeks to bully you into an outcome that favors only them.
Call Tim Kennedy at (484)453-8144.
I had a serious work related injury. I hired Tim after speaking with him and feeling completely at ease with his professionalism and demeanor. My case became complicated over time. Throughout the process I always felt that Tim had my best interest in mind. With every phone call or email, Tim was very informative and proactive, always explaining things in a way I could understand. He worked hard for me in his dealings with my employers insurance company. He did this so much so, the insurance company actually fired their own attorneys in the middle of litigation. In the end, Tim was able to negotiate a substantial settlement, including taking the burden off of me of an excessive amount of unpaid medical bills. I would highly recommend Tim.
- B (Workers Compensation client)
I truly love, respect and appreciate Attorney Timothy James Kennedy for his highly professional, unselfish(going above and beyond), highly dedicated approach in working with me and my unfortunate circumstances and my unfortunate legal dilemma... and will with every opportunity be highly recommending his legal services to all family, friends and strangers found in-need of such services!
Attorney Timothy James Kennedy is not only a true professional, he is a loving, caring, sharing human being who not only cares about his cases and reputation, but cares also for the lives and the families of those he so-caringly and so humbly represents!
He will always be appreciated and will never - ever - be forgotten. I, on behalf of myself and my family, appreciate the fact that he was willing to stop by and become "The Good Samaritan" in our lives!
- Michael (Workers Compensation Client)
Timothy is a really great lawyer. He knows what to do, and how to handle really sticky situations. When I first came to him, I had very little to back me up, but we mainly him lol pulled through and got the job done with GREAT results. If I could back in time I would still pick him as a lawyer 1000 times more. He took his time, talk to me like I was a person and not a dollor sign, and made lawyer jargon understandable english for me. I truely felt comfortable with him handling my case, and I never doubted him since the very first meeting. I also like that he gives his personal direct number to get in contact with him whenever you may need him, and he always responds if not that same day, the very next. The only bad thing I would have to say is its a shame I would have legal trouble to work with him again lol.
-Trina (Workers Compensation Client)
Highly knowledgable in the law with excellent people skills..I highly recommend Mr. Kennedy.
- Workers Compensation Client
Mr. Kennedy was most informed concerning how to handle my workmans comp claim. Also, his staff was excellent in keeping me informed of negotiations. I can not say enough about Mr. Kennedy and his staff !!!
-Marvin (Workers Compensation Client)
When hiring a lawyer you need to be sure that they are knowledgeable,trustworthy,responsive and most of all have very strong confidence in their abilities to fight for your rights. Mr. Kennedy is one of the most confident people i know. He is determined and aggressive. I guess i can also say he is feared by others. Mr. Kennedy made me feel as we were friends by always keeping me informed and also asking me for my input as well as cared for my opinion. He told me that he would have no problem getting me the amount that i felt i deserved. He then said i will do better than that were gonna go high and mabey hit a homerun. When he called me with news of the final judgement i was shocked he said i not only hit a homerun for you, it was a grandslam. His work is so impressive he can be considered to be the best in PA.
-Jake (Workers Compensation Client)
Mr. Kennedy goes above and beyond to answer all questions and concerns and does so in an easy to understand manner. He worked very hard on my case as I'm sure he does on all of his cases. I am very pleased with the outcome of my case and would not hesitate to refer him to someone in need of his services. Thank you, Mr. Kennedy.
-Maria (Workers Compensation Client)
As these testimonials reflect, we work very hard to satisfy our clients and to ensure the best results in handling their claims. Call us now to let us explain how we can help you advance your rights and interests, so that you too can become a satisfied client.