Employers will try to change even an Open Award in a workers’ compensation claim. They will normally do this through an Application to Terminate Benefits (or a Termination of Benefits Agreement) because you are able to return to work. The basis for filing this application will be a report from a doctor that you are able to do your job.
What are your options?
- You can agree that you are able to return to full duty work. You may be asked to sign the Termination of Loss Award which means your Open Award will now, once the Commission orders it, will become a Closed Award.
- You can contest that you are able to return to full duty work and request a hearing. The burden will be on the employer to show you can do the full duty work. You should receive your benefits while you’re waiting for the hearing and the hearing decision.
Often the employer will use their “company” doctor who may say you can return to work before you’re really ready. In this scenario, your Virginia Workers’ Compensation lawyer will make sure you see your own doctor as soon as possible and have the doctor perform the proper diagnostic tests. The doctor will need to prepare a report that explains why the “company” doctor is wrong and explains why you’re not ready to return to work.
- You can agree that you can do some work but at a lower pay. If you return to work (full time with restrictions or part time) at a lower wage than what you were making before, then you should review with your lawyer whether you can get the 2/3 difference between the pre-injury wages and the return to work wages. This difference is called temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. You shouldn’t sign a termination of loss agreement unless the employer also signs a new Agreement award for the difference – the partial payments. As noted, the new agreement isn’t binding until its made part of a new Open Award Order or Stipulation Agreement and 30 days have passed.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Joe Miller Can Help You.
You need an expert in Virginia Workers’ Compensation to recognize when your claim is being wrongfully denied. Call the Work Injury Center at 888-694-1671 and get Strong Justice for your work injury. There is no obligation — call free, now.