Philadelphia Workers' Compensation Modification Petition Lawyer
Workers’ compensation benefits are not intended to replace a person’s income indefinitely. They are to temporarily replace the income a person could otherwise be earning were it not for the injury. An employer’s insurance company is keeping tabs on the recovery of an injured worker. Those periodic medical examinations may be less about continuing medical care and more about your ability to return to some kind of income-producing activity. If the insurance company can show that you are capable of working and there is work available you can do, they can reduce or eliminate the wage replacement portion of your workers’ compensation benefits. A petition to modify or suspend workers’ compensation does not affect the benefits being received for medical care.
If you have received notice that your employer has filed a modification petition and you think there has been a mistake about your ability to work, you need to contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation modification petition lawyer right away. At Gross & Kenny, LLP, we know the lengths insurance companies will go to reduce or terminate wage loss benefits and we won’t let them steamroll our clients. Have questions about the modification petition sent by your employer? Call our office in South Philly at your convenience so we can build a defense to the petition and you can continue receiving benefits for your injury or illness.
What Happens During a Workers’ Compensation Modification Hearing?
What happens is that your employer’s insurance company tells a workers’ compensation judge (WCJ) that your weekly checks should stop or be significantly reduced because you are able to work and work is available. What your attorney does is present evidence to show you are not able to work or not able to work in the manner that the insurance company says you are so you can maintain the highest amount of continued benefits possible.
This is a process of back and forth that typically takes 6 to 9 months before the judge renders a decision. During that time you continue to receive benefits. Nothing changes until a final determination is made.
During the hearing, you will testify by answering questions posed by your lawyer and the lawyer representing your employer. A workers’ compensation modification petition attorney in Bustleton or South Philly will ask you questions about your injury, the treatment you’ve received, and the progress you’ve made. You will likely be cross-examined at the first hearing.
It is possible that the judge will issue an order via a preliminary ruling or wait until the final judgment to take action in this case. Either way, it is important that you work with an experienced attorney from Gross & Kenny, LLP, so that your rights as an injured or ill worker are protected and you continue to receive benefits.
The next step in the hearing process is for the judge to set a schedule for briefing and a date for a trial. Your South Philly workers’ compensation modification petition attorney will file briefs with the judge that present evidence of your medical condition and why you require further benefits and treatment.
Once all of the evidence has been presented and testimony has been given, the judge will close the trial record and issue a ruling. The ruling will be issued in writing anywhere from two to six months from the end of the trial. The decision of the judge is final unless either side decides to file an appeal. All appeals must be filed with the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
Possible Decisions the Judge Could Make
There are 3 possible outcomes that a WCJ can reach based on the evidence he or she reviews.
- You cannot work – your benefits continue as they have been, which allows you to continue receiving treatment until an additional review of your condition is conducted. Benefits from workers’ compensation will be sent to you so that you are not paying for medical treatment out of your own pocket. If you have questions about receiving benefits, be sure to speak with a Philadelphia workers’ compensation modification petition attorney from Gross & Kenny, LLP.
- You can do some work – your benefits are reduced – A typical reduction would be to an amount that is 2/3rds of the difference between what you can earn now and what you used to make. Again, this decision will remain unless an appeal is filed. You will continue to receive 2/3rds of the benefits until you return to work.
- You are able to work and earn as much or more than before your injury – your benefits are suspended (terminated). You can decide to return to the job where you suffered the injury or became ill, or you can inform your employer that you will not be returning to work for them. You are not required to return to the same job when your benefits are terminated.
Contact a Philadelphia Workers' Compensation Modification Petition Attorney for Help
Let an experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation modification petition lawyer help you retain your benefits. Call today to learn more.