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Tim Kennedy is certified as a 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

If you have suffered an orthopedic injury at work in Pennsylvania, be very wary of the company doctors and supposed "specialists" to whom you may be referred by your employer or their workers' compensation insurance carrier, or by a nurse case manager working for the insurer and employer.

We have seen an increasing trend among medical practice groups specializing in orthopedic care on referral from employers and insurance companies.  Such groups generally include competent (though insurer-friendly) orthopedic surgeons.  But, increasingly, the model among the practices most favored by the insurance companies is for such practices to also have a doctor on staff whose only specialty is "occupational health".  Specifically, a doctor who may have no special orthopedic training who is devoted to the single task of pushing patients back to work and serving employer and insurer interests.  Worse, practices who employ this model sometimes make it the official policy of their practice that ONLY the "occupational health" specialist -- and NOT the trained orthopedic surgeons or experts -- are permitted to comment upon the disability status or work release of a patient treated for a work-related injury.

The purpose of such schemes is to afford employers and insurance companies one-stop-shopping with a single point of contact "occupational health" practitioner who will serve the needs of the employer or insurer at the expense of the patient, providing a return to work note where a treating expert might not, or actively blocking the specialists from imposing medically appropriate restrictions that might create hardships for a referring employer or insurance carrier.

Where the orthopedic surgeon might be inspired to disable a patient from work, or from certain types of work, the occupational health doctor within the same practice is there to prevent this from happening.  The goal is to ensure that all patients of the practice are pushed back to work with the maximum possible work-release and/or released to return to work without restrictions as soon as it may be convenient for the employer, often with little or no regard for the patient's complaints.

Unfortunately, some of the largest regional orthopedic practice groups practice this way.  In some mid-size Pennsylvania cities, it is difficult to identify an orthopedic specialist NOT affiliated with a group practicing under some variation of this very insurer-friendly model, which is inherently prejudicial to injured workers.

Worse, when the largest orthopedic groups in given city or region adopt this kind of model, employers and insurers flock to them, starving out other more independant minded orthopedic groups -- who then feel pressure to outdo their larger counterparts in the race to please employers and insurers.  That is, if an orthopedic specialist is practicing outside of the model here discussed, so favored by insurance companies, that doctor will not get referrals of workers compensation patients unless he or she adopts a mindset that is even more friendly to the insurance industry than the occupational medicine specialist at the big orthopedists shop down the highway.  The result is that patients get the minimum possilble care are the maximum possible push toward an early return to work, regardless of symptoms.

We have even seen it develop that where a worker has been disabled from work by a reasonably conscientious employer-referred medical provider at an early stage in their treatment.  That worker is then sent for a consultation with an "orthopedic group" in the expectation of being seen by a competent orthopedic surgeon.  Instead of getting proper care from a specialist, however, the worker is instead placed in the hands of the practice group's coordinating "occupational health" physician -- often without ever being told that the person they think is, say a spine specialist, is instead just an occupational medicine funtionary with no other specialty certification.  Such doctor may then serve as the "hatchet man" for the insurance company and employer, issuing a report at odds with all earlier treatment records, disputing the claimant's injury, claiming to have detected "symptom magnification" or otherwise casting suspicion upon a patient whose injuries previously had been recognized as valid by all other doctors. 

We most often see such tactics when an injured worker has been under care of employer-referred doctors who, despite pressure from the employer or insurer, in a given case may seek to act in support of their patient.  The employers and carriers seek to undermine such support, particularly during the first ninety days of disability -- so as to gain leverage when they issue a "notice stopping" after a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable.  Many times, even reasonably sympathetic doctors support these games.  For example, when an insurance company threatens that they will not approve payment for further office visits if the doctor does not provide a work release.  A doctor who refuses such pressure from an insurer, declining to push a worker back to work where he knows it would cause harm, will often agree instead to make a referral to another doctor, at the insurance company's suggestion, so that the new doctor can be the one to attack the patient's credibility, disregard their injury, and give the insurance company what they need to support a denial of the claim or the withdrawal of a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable.

Of course, there are ways an injured worker can protect himself or herself from the worst effects of such common tactics, if the worker acts as early as possible to obtain representation and guidance from a competent and aggressive attorney who is certified as a specialist in workers compensation law in Pennslyvania.  Our early involvement costs nothing, since our contingent fee interest is ONLY triggered after your claim is brought into a dispute in court where we succeed in securing your rights, or in the event of a lump sum settlement (which will only be available at full value if the employer and insurer know your position is backed by the force of an experienced attorney in your corner).

Do not make the mistake of thinking that the serious and legitimate nature of your work injury will protect you from the harmful effects of such tactics.  The more serious the work injury, the harder the insurance company will work to avoid any liability for that serious injury.  The primary technique for this is to put pressure on doctors willing to play by their rules to minimize any serious injury or to dispute causation if the serious medical condition cannot be denied (such as by dismissing positive MRI or EMG findings as suggesting a pre-existing problem or one distinct from the work injury).

Understand -- the insurance company does not care how legitimate or how serious your injury is.  Every person employed in connection with handling a workers compensation claim for an insurance company is PAID to treat YOUR work injury as illigitimate, as not serious, as inherently very short-term and self-limiting.  They employ doctors and specialists who will help them portray your injury in this way. 

If you have suffered a work injury and are at the point of being referred to an orthopedic surgeon, or more generally to an orthopedic specialty practice, we strongly encourage you to call us before your next medical appointment.  We can help you to determine whether it is necessary to seek treatment with the referred specialist or whether other options may be available that would do more to strengthen your claim.

Call us today at 484-453-8144.
Philadelphia Suburbs:
90 S.Newtown Street Rd,
Newtown Square PA 19073
(610) 924-5667

1700 Market Street
Suite 1005
Philadelphia PA 19103
(215) 559-5003


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 / my, un-fortunate circumstance(s) 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, ser-vices!!!
"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) appreciates 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.
                - Current 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.
                -Tim Kennedy
                (484) 453-8144

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