Many workers believe that once their workers’ comp benefits were approved and start coming in, they no longer have any obligations and rules to follow. Unfortunately, many injured workers find this isn’t true when their employer terminates their benefits early. At this point, a Miami workers’ compensation attorney may not be able to do much for them.
For this reason, we decided to prepare a list of some of the most common reasons why an employer may stop your workers’ compensation benefits. Armed with this information, you can avoid the pitfalls leading to the termination of benefits.
If your benefits stop coming in even though you’ve followed the rules, you should contact an experienced Miami workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
Your Employer Has the Right to Monitor Your Treatment
Workers’ compensation is designed to cover the medical costs you incur as a result of a workplace accident and provide replacement wages.
According to Florida Statutes 440.15, an employer has the right to request a medical evaluation of any worker injured on the job. They will also have the right to request you to see their approved doctor for treatments. During the entire period when you are under their care and receive workers comp benefits, the doctor will report back to your employer.
Thus, your employer will know how well you respond to treatments and – even more importantly – whether you follow them to the letter. For this reason, you must not deviate one bit from the doctor’s treatment plan. The exception, of course, is when you experience side effects. In this case, you can and should tell the doctor about them and have your treatment plan revised.
The Main Reasons Why Your Workers Comp Benefits May End before You Expect It
Let us examine the main reasons why an employer may decide to stop your workers’ comp benefits while you believe you are still entitled to receive them.
1. You Do Not Follow the Treatment
As we explained, the employer-approved doctor will report on your progress and on your cooperation or your resistance to following the treatment. If you stop refilling prescriptions or going to physical therapy sessions, each of these facts will be brought to your employer’s knowledge. In this case, the employer may decide that you are now recovered and will terminate the benefits.
If any treatment prescribed to you gives you unpleasant side effects, tell your doctor immediately. At the same time, reach out to your Miami workers’ compensation attorney, who may request an independent evaluation by a different doctor. You will be able to stop the treatment without losing your workers’ comp benefits and receive a different type of medication to help you heal.
2. You Miss Appointments With the Doctor
When you are out on worker’s compensation, you are supposed to rest and get treatment. This is not a time to visit your uncle Joe in Vermont or cousin Sheila in California. Visits are not prohibited in principle, as long as they are not strenuous (thus making your injury worse) and as long as you don’t miss a medical check-up.
For many employers, just one missed appointment is enough to put an end to your benefits and call you back to work. If you are out of state and unable to return within a couple of days, your workers’ comp benefits may be terminated. You may even be fired. And there is not much that a Miami worker’s compensation attorney can do for you.
3. You Are Found to Be Physically Capable of Work
Florida workers’ compensation laws state that, in order to collect permanent total disability, an employee must prove that they are not physically capable of doing any work, even of the sedentary type, in a 50-mile radius from their home. If you were receiving this type of benefits and they are terminated, then your doctor probably determined that you are capable of performing some kind of work.
If you disagree, reach out to a Miami worker’s compensation attorney. You may get an independent medical evaluation and, if it confirms your point of view, the lawyer will file an appeal against this decision.
4. You Refused a Light-Duty Position
In some cases, your employer will be able to arrange for you to perform a part-time or light-duty job that does not negatively impact your chances to recover from your injuries. As a result, your wage replacement will be reduced.
If you refuse this position, your employer has the right to terminate your workers’ comp benefits and fire you. The best option is to accept the position and contact your lawyer as soon as possible to file an appeal on your behalf. Of course, it is not always successful, but it can give you extra time to recover and then return to your initial job.
5. You Are Imprisoned for Committing a Crime
Being out on workers comp and breaking the law do not go together. Even a DUI charge can lead to the termination of your workers’ comp benefits. This is why it is important to remember that you are not on vacation, but healing from injuries. You should avoid all types of risky behavior – not just for the sake of the benefits, but for your own good in the near and distant future, as well.
6. A Judge Has Re-Evaluated Your Case and Overturned the Initial Decision
In some cases, an employer will submit your workers’ compensation claim for a fresh re-evaluation after it was approved. This is the case of claims which contain a degree of suspicion, such as:
- There were no witnesses to your accident
- You waited several days before reporting the accident
- Your drug test came back inconclusive.
While, initially, a Miami workers’ compensation attorney was able to secure a positive result, this does not mean that your employer will stop trying to prove otherwise. If this is the case, you must contact your lawyer immediately to evaluate the new decision and file an appeal.
We Can Help You Understand Your Rights and Obligations
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition is a team of experienced worker’s compensation attorneys. We know all the finer points of the law and how they can work in your favor. We also know what employers are looking for in the attempt of denying or terminating your workers’ comp benefits.
Thus, you should always reach out to a Miami workers’ compensation attorney and follow their advice. If your benefits were stopped, schedule a free case review and bring all the documents you have recently received from your doctor and your employer. We may be able to get your benefits reinstated.
Either way, you have nothing to lose, so call us now at 786-686-2857!