“Help! My workers’ compensation payments were cut off. Why?”
After receiving workers’ compensation benefits for a few weeks or months, you might expect that those benefits will continue until you’re healthy enough to go back to work or until you’ve been cleared by your doctor to return to work. However, there are a few reasons why you might stop receiving these benefits.
If your benefits were suddenly cut off, you need to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine why they stopped and what you could do to have them started again. In the meantime, here are some common explanations.
Investigating your activities
Sometimes, a private investigator is hired by employers or insurance companies to monitor you. If the investigator reports back that you are able to do daily activities with ease, then your workers’ comp benefits could be cut off unexpectedly.
Pictures or videos may have been provided to your employer or their insurance company, so there may be evidence to automatically cut off your payments.
Light duty work
After being out of work for a few weeks, you might be offered a light-duty job. Your lawyer can advise you as to whether or not you should accept the position, especially if you are still being treated by a doctor for your injuries or illness.
Keep in mind that refusing light-duty work can sometimes result in the loss of benefits. If all accommodations are made by your employer to keep you comfortable while you’re working and you still refuse, then your benefits will likely be halted.
Following a workplace accident, you’ll want to have a medical exam performed to determine the severity of your injury or illness. Your doctor should provide clear and concise details about your injuries, how they were caused and the treatment that is needed.
Sometimes, your employer might want you to see the company doctor. This doctor could try to say that your injuries aren’t as significant as you believe they are or as your personal doctor has determined.
If the report from the employer’s doctor states that you are able to work and you don’t return, then you could lose your workers’ compensation benefits. You could also lose your benefits if you don’t go to the exam after the appointment is scheduled.
A physical therapist might begin working with you to determine if your injuries are too severe for you to return to work. You’ll usually need to perform several activities to test the strength of your muscles and your overall function as it relates to how you’re able to perform tasks at work.
If you don’t cooperate with the therapist, it can be reported to your employer. This could lead to your benefits being cut off prematurely. You could also be reported for trying to exaggerate the severity of your injury in order to receive payments from your employer’s insurance company.
If this is determined to be true, then you might be forced to pay back some of the benefits that you have already received. In this scenario, you should contact an attorney who can fight on your behalf to keep your benefits—or to at least make it so that you don’t have to pay the money back.
You quit your job
If you decide to quit your job after being paid workers’ compensation, then your payments could stop because you won’t have lost wages to turn into the insurance company due to no longer working for the employer.
However, if work accommodations can’t be made or you find another job that you can perform with ease even with your injury, then you might want to consider quitting so that you could possibly make more money elsewhere. You would then need to report the information to your employer so that compensation benefits are stopped as soon as possible to prevent you from paying back benefits that you weren’t supposed to receive.
Your claim was denied
Soon after being injured at work, you’ll meet with your employer, a doctor and possibly the insurance representative for the company. You’ll answer questions about your overall health and how you were injured. Your employer will also have a chance to tell their side of what happened. Any pictures or videos from the scene will be reviewed to determine if your story aligns with what really happened.
If the details of your injury aren’t the same as what your employer or the insurance company claims, then your benefits could be denied from the first step of the process. This means that you would receive no payments, but you could speak to an attorney who might be able to file a claim for a settlement if the injury did occur on the job.