Beware Of Premature Termination Of Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you suffered a job-related injury or illness, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, some employers may search for options to modify or terminate your benefits before you are fully recovered. This is why it is important to know about all your rights when it comes to workers’ comp benefits. If your benefits are threatened by premature termination or modification, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney today.
The termination of benefits attorneys at Schmidt, Kirifides & Rassias will help you fight to retain the workers’ comp benefits that you deserve. You should not have to wonder about how to pay your medical bills or other expenses after being injured at the workplace.
How An Employer May Try To Modify Or Terminate Your Benefits
Your employer may file a petition to modify or terminate your workers’ compensation benefits if they believe that you have recuperated enough to return to work. Under other circumstances, an employee may attempt to terminate your benefits to force you into looking for another position.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, your benefits could be helping you deal with a temporary or long-term injury and the expenses related to that injury. This is why you should know about the following methods that an employer may use to cut off your benefits.
Independent Medical Examination
An independent medical examination is a procedure funded by the workers’ compensation insurance company to evaluate the status of your injury. The examining physician will send their findings to the insurance company who will determine whether you can return to work in some capacity. The insurance company may also use this information to suggest cheaper forms of medical treatment or to suspend your benefits entirely.
Impairment Rating Evaluation
According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry, impairment rating evaluations are medical exams that are necessary for a workers’ comp insurer to determine the level of impairment that an injured worker is experiencing. These examinations typically occur after the worker has received 104 weeks of total disability compensation. If your level of impairment is judged below a certain rate, your benefits could be halted or modified.
Impairment rating evaluations were deemed unconstitutional by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court in 2017. However, an altered version of the law was reinstated in 2018.
Your employer’s insurance company may try to evaluate your ability to work by requesting a vocational evaluation. This will require you to have a meeting with a labor expert chosen by the insurance company. The evaluator will assess your work experience and ask you a series of questions to determine fields that you are eligible to work in.
The issue with vocational counseling is that the jobs suggested by the expert may not be positions you are guaranteed to be hired for. Additionally, the expert may advise you take a position that does not interest you, or that is not remotely related to your experience. For example, if you have experience as a nurse, you will likely avoid positions that require you to work as a security guard. The expert may even suggest that your injury would not prevent you from working certain jobs.
It is important to note that statements that are made to a vocational expert may also be used to alter or terminate your benefits.
If your employer or their insurance carrier requested you to perform any of the above activities, they are considering modifying or terminating your benefits. Before you complete any of these tests or meetings, you should speak with an experienced workers’ comp attorney. Our firm can help you prepare for a vocational meeting or medical examination and even accompany you to ensure that your rights are not violated.
It is also important to note that these are not the only methods that an employer may use to cut off your compensation benefits.
We Can Help You Fight The Termination Of Your Benefits
If your employer is attempting to terminate your workers’ comp benefits, you should consult with an experienced Delaware County termination of benefits lawyer today. At Schmidt, Kirifides & Rassias, our dedicated legal team possesses over 100 years of combined legal experience that we will use to help you reclaim your workers’ compensation benefits. Call our office at 610-601-5399 or contact us online.