The workers’ compensation procedures and outcomes in Pennsylvania were recently analyzed as part of a study performed by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute. Pennsylvania was included in the study because it is known to have faster and higher return to work stats in comparison to other states. The study found that recent economic conditions have made it more difficult for injured workers to return to the workforce. For example, employers are less likely to offer modified work to injured workers at the cost of having to lay off able-bodied workers to make a position available. Employers are also less likely to hire workers with permanent restrictions, creating fewer jobs for injured workers who are lookingfor work. While employers may be making it more difficult for injured workers to return to work, injured workers have a strong financial motivation to return to work, if faced with the possibility of losing their temporary disability benefits. If you have suffered a work injury and have been contacted by your employer to return to work, it is important to speak with an attorney to ensure that you are being offered appropriate and available work and to understand what your rights are under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Samuel H. Pond recently prevented an employer from reducing his client’s workers’ compensation benefits when the injured worker did not return to work following a vocational assessment. The vocational expert had identified non-union jobs for the union worker. The Workers’ Compensation Judge agreed with Mr. Pond that the non-union positions were not considered “available” under the Act and could not support the employer’s request for a modification of benefits.
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