Have your Virginia workers’ compensation checks or payments stopped? Schedule a FREE consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your legal options. Call (540) 384-0348 or fill out our online form.
If you are receiving workers’ compensation for an on the job injury, you likely wonder how long you will receive the different benefits provided. Even if you are still injured, unable to work, or on light duty, you may start to feel some pressure to end your claim. If your employer or employer?s insurance provider contacts you about ending your claim or returning to work, remember that they may not have your best interest in mind. Paying out workers’ compensation claims can be expensive for both the insurance company and your employer, giving them plenty of motivation to push you before you are ready.
If you think your Order providing you with benefits may be modified or terminated before you are able to resume your full work duties, you need a strong legal advocate on your side. The team at Lugar Injury Law can help you with your modification or termination of benefits.
Can Workers’ Compensation Stop Payments Without Notice in VA?
The answer to this question is complicated. First, it is not workers’ compensation stopping payments [SEE TERMINOLOGY PAGE for clarification] it is the defendant?s insurance company or the lawyer hired by the insurance company. Second, it is important to determine whether you are under an actual Award Order or not. (If you have not received any documentation from the Workers Compensation Commission, then more than likely you are not under an official Award Order.)
It is also important to know what kind of benefits the Award Order bestows and what you have asked for. What you do not ask for you do not get ? you may be entitled to more ? SEE ARTICLE ON BENEFITS. Not infrequently, the insurance company will agree to pay your medical bills and other benefits without filing a formal claim. At first, this appears to be a decision that saves you time and minimizes your stress.
However, it can cause you difficulties down the road. Without an official workers’ compensation award in place, the insurance company can stop payments without any notice. However, if you do have an official workers’ compensation award in place, they cannot stop payments without notice and without a good reason.
Reasons Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can Be Stopped
There are many reasons that your benefits may be terminated. If your workers’ compensation checks stop, one of the following circumstances may apply:
- You?ve been approved to return to work by your treating physician. This is perhaps the most common reason that people experience a termination of benefits. If you have gone through treatment and your physician believes you can return to work, you will lose your benefits and resume normal employment.
- You?ve signed a Termination of Wage Loss Award. Employers can stop payments if the employee willingly agrees to end benefits. Before you sign anything agreeing to a termination of benefits, discuss your options with your lawyer.
- You have received 500 weeks of payments. Payments stop when you have received 500 weeks of temporary total/partial disability and permanent partial disability benefits.
- You skipped an appointment with a vocational counselor. Your employer or its insurance carrier may require you to meet with a vocational counselor as part of your workers’ compensation agreement. Skipping a meeting or refusing a meeting could lead to an end to your benefits.
- You refuse to comply with medical treatment. Complying with medical treatment that is designed to get you back to work is a condition of workers’ compensation payments. If you do not comply with your doctor?s orders, you can expect an end to your payments.
- You agree to accept a lump sum in exchange for workers’ compensation benefits. Some companies will settle with injured workers by offering a lump sum of payments in lieu of weekly or monthly payments.
- You refuse a medical examination. A medical examination that verifies the extent of your injuries is often required to receive benefits.
- You refuse an offer of light duty or fail to market. If your job offers you a position in line with what the doctor says you can do, you must work the light duty position offered by your work (BUT DO NOT VIOLATE THE WORK RESTRICTIONS, even if they try to make you do so) you must remedy your refusal within six months, otherwise, you risk forfeiting wage loss compensation. Further, if you have light duty release by doctor, but no light duty options by the employer, you must apply for jobs weekly seeking a position that you are able to work with your restrictions and skill set.
If you cannot figure out why your benefits have ended, speaking with a lawyer is a good step. They can help you determine whether or not you can get benefits restarted or pursue other compensation options.
Modification of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Have you received a notification of modification or termination of workers’ compensation benefits? Employers can file a petition to modify your benefits if the physician has changed their decision regarding the severity of your illness or injury. For example, if the physician finds out that the injury is not as debilitating as they once thought, they may permit you to take a light duty position or a modified position. This could change or end your workers’ compensation benefits.
In some situations, the modified job made available to you by your employer is not in line with your doctor?s recommendations or is inappropriate for your injury. That?s why you should reach out to an attorney as soon as you receive a modification notice. If you do not respond to the petition or attend a scheduled hearing, your benefits may automatically be modified or terminated.
Contact Our Team for Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
When you go to a modification or termination of benefits hearing, you need someone who can represent you and your best interest. Further, if you are receiving benefits without an official Award Order through the Workers Compensation Commission, it is best to have such compensation recognized through a formal award, you are much more protected that way. This is where our team comes in and can assist with any problems or questions you may have with the information provided in this article.
At Lugar Injury Law, we help clients with every single step of the workers’ compensation process. Learn more about your options now by filling out the contact form or calling Lugar Injury Law at (540) 384-0348.