Will I Know If My Benefits Are Being Modified?
One indication that your South Philly or Bustleton employer has an interest in modifying your workers’ compensation benefits is a visit from a vocational expert to assess your earning power – in other words, what types of jobs you are capable of doing while you are recovering. There may be a modified or “light duty” job available that the vocational expert feels would be appropriate for your capabilities.
If your employer, or the insurance company, asks you to complete an independent medical exam (IME) by a physician of their choosing, this could be another sign that they intend to modify or terminate your medical or wage loss benefits. If the physician is of the opinion that you are well enough to return to some form of work, then your employer will have grounds to file a modification/suspension petition.
Contact an experienced attorney immediately if you have concerns about the continuation of your benefits. The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation act gives you the right to receive medical and wage loss benefits if you have been injured on the job. An experienced lawyer can help you keep your benefits until you have made a full recovery.
Steps To Take After A Notifications Of Changes In Pennsylvania
You will be sent instructions about how to answer the petition. Consider working with an experienced lawyer for assistance in answering the petition within the deadline given and defending your right to benefits at the hearing.
When your case has been assigned to a workers’ compensation Judge, you will receive a Notice of Assignment. Then your case will be scheduled for a hearing.
Your employer cannot stop paying your benefits unless the Workers’ Compensation Judge has issued a judgment about your case.
There are several possible outcomes, including:
- Your benefits could remain the same if the judge decides you cannot continue working.
- Your benefits could be reduced to two-thirds the difference of your previous and current wages if the judge determines you can work again, but at a lesser wage.
- Your benefits could be terminated if the judge decides you are capable of earning at the same or greater rate as the wages you earned before your work injury.
Each judge is different, and no two cases are exactly alike. In general, most evidence in these cases is given through depositions. At the first hearing in these situations, the injured worker will have to testify about their injury and sit through cross-examination by the defense. A judge could issue a preliminary ruling, but they may not take any action until their final ruling.
After a judge establishes a briefing schedule and a trial date, the role of your attorney will be to present medical documentation as well as testimony from medical professionals and other experts. A workers’ compensation judge’s ruling is typically final unless the ruling is appealed. That said, if either side believes that there was an error of law, they can appeal the decision to the state workers’ compensation Appeals Board. It is wise to seek Bustleton legal counsel when facing a modification of your workers’ compensation benefits.
Affording An Attorney For These Cases
Our attorneys understand that those going through these situations have limited resources available to them. That is why we take workers’ compensation appeals cases on a contingency fee basis. Our team will not collect legal fees until after we obtained the compensation that you are entitled to.