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Computer problems slow down workers' comp claims

An update to a government computer system in Pennsylvania has brought the workers' compensation system to a stop. The new system was supposed to improve and overhaul the process for filing workers' compensation claims, but the new system seems to be having the opposite effect. Problems range from the inability to upload claims to paperwork for the court simply disappearing. As a result of these issues, injured workers are unable to get hearings, and there is an enormous backlog of cases.

According to a lawyer who is on the steering committee that works with the state and oversees the implementation of the system, while he and others are in favor of waiting for improvements, the system has caused the claims process to come to a halt. He stated that he has filed 20 petitions seeking workers' compensation for injured individuals since the system was implemented, and none of the cases have been assigned to a judge. Before the new system was put in place, cases were assigned within a week of being filed, and injured workers could expect a hearing within seven to 14 days.

The new system launched on Sept. 9, and the problems began almost immediately. Officials from the Labor and Industry Department have stated that the problems are either resolved or currently being worked on. Staff has also been added to deal with the backlog of more than 500 cases waiting to be assigned to a judge.

When someone has been injured as a result of their job, they are likely to miss work and accumulate medical bills. A lawyer could help an individual file a workers' compensation claim that may help them pay for medical bills and lost wages.

Source: Philly.com, "Computer woes plague Pa. worker comp system", Angela Couloumbis, October 22, 2013

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