Can my employer try to terminate my workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania?
Unfortunately, yes. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, your employer may file a petition to terminate your right to workers’ compensation benefits, if it can show that you are no longer disabled or that any remaining disability is unrelated to the injury.
Your employer can win a termination of benefits if its medical expert offers testimony that you are fully recovered, that you can return to work without restrictions and that there are no medical findings to support your complaints of pain.
How will I know if a request to end my benefits has been filed?
If a request to terminate your work comp benefits has been filed, you will receive a “Petition to Modify, Suspend, or Terminate.” It’s important to contact an attorney as soon as you receive this petition. Often there are strict deadlines for responding. You should have an attorney advise you of your legal rights and represent you before a judge.
My employer sent me a petition saying my workers’ compensation payments should stop on the day I was examined by my employer’s doctor. Will my payments stop?
This petition you received is called a “Petition to Terminate Compensation Benefits,” and your employer filed the petition because they believe that you have recovered from your injury and can now return to work.
A workers’ compensation judge will decide if your payments will stop. Until those hearings take place, you should still receive your workers’ compensation benefits and payments. If you’ve received one of these petitions, you should speak with an attorney immediately if you believe you’re still too injured to work or your personal doctor hasn’t released you to work.
What if I personally believe I’m still unable to start working again?
If you feel that your employer is trying to force you back to work even though the company doctor doesn’t think you’re ready, chances are that your company will stop pressuring you. However, if the company doctor says you’re ready to return but your own personal doctor disagrees, you can refuse to return to work. Though your employer may file a “Petition to Terminate, Modify, or Suspend Benefits,” your payments won’t change until a judge reviews and decides your case.
If your own doctor feels you’re able to work, but you disagree and refuse to return, you may lose your workers’ compensation coverage.
A lawyer can help you figure out if it’s in your best interest to return to work. You should contact one right away.