What is a Notice of Ability to Return to Work in Pennsylvania?

A Notice of Ability to Return to work in a standard form in Pennsylvania Workers Compensation claims.  I get calls from clients and potential clients that are concerned about receiving this form.  So what is this form and what does it mean?

First, this form is prescribed by Section 306(b)(3) of the PA Workers’ Compensation Act.  The form essentially provides to you notification that the insurance carrier has received medical evidence that indicates your ability to return to work.  Ability is italicized above because it means that the insurance carrier has received work restrictions or a change in restrictions for your condition, it does not mean you have to return to work.  In some cases, an injured worker receives the form and is already back working in light duty, further compounding the confusion.

Essentially, you should view the Notice as an informational notification, rather than a notification that requires action.  However, and I caution, DO NOT take the form lightly.  It could be indicative that the insurance carrier may be preparing to attempt to modify or suspend workers’ compensation benefits.  Continue reading

Common Postal Worker Injuries in Federal Workers Comp

U.S. Postal Workers are frequent victims of work-related injuries, mostly due to the nature of their jobs.  Of all Federal Government employees, US Postal Workers we see the most with on the job work injuries.

As you can read here, Federal Government employees can not file workers compensation claims through the regular state workers compensation systems, like all other non-Federal employees.  The Federal Government has its own unique Workers Compensation system.

Here are the common injuries we see among Postal Workers.

  1. Mail carriers deliver mail right to individual homes.  Those homes have dogs.  You know the deal.  Dog bites can be down right serious.   It can be frequent as well.  In fact, the United States Postal Service released a report on March 11, 2016 that indicated there were 6,549 dog attacks on mail carriers.   You can see in this release dog bites by cities.  Philadelphia had the 7th highest rate in the United States.  These type of injuries can likely also lead to Third Party claims for the injured worker.  Our office can help with the third party lawsuit as well.
  2. Slip and Falls are another significant mechanism of injury among postal workers.  This include mail carriers and sorting center employees.  Mail carriers are out delivering the mail in all elements.  That includes in snow and ice and after snow and ice storms.  Slip and falls generally increase during winter months as a generality.  The postal service is no different.  Individual property landscape and issues such as tall grass, barriers, limbs, and other obstructions can contribute to work accidents among mail carriers.  Included in this also is slip and falls on stairs and steps.  These type of injuries may also lead to a Third Part claim for injured workers against a homeowner or property owner.  Our office can help with the third party lawsuit as well.
  3. Lifting, Pushing, Pulling, and Carrying injuries are also frequent among postal workers.  Obviously, postal workers are handling pushing, pulling, lifting, and carrying packages of all different weights.  That sometimes leads to back, neck, shoulder, knee, or other type of injuries.
  4. Auto Accidents can be another frequent mechanism of injury among postal workers.  Postal workers do not just deliver mail by ground, but also by care.  That can lead to motor vehicle accidents, which can be devastating.  These type of claims also lead to third party motor vehicle accident claims for injured workers.  Our office can help with the third party lawsuit as well.
  5. Overexertion/Aggravation injuries can be frequent among post workers.  Day in and day out, postal workers are handling various weights and performing duties that are highly repetitive in nature.  Doing the same task over and over can harm muscles, nerves and tendons.  These type of repetitive tasks often times cause awkward body postures and positions which can further damage and aggravated, otherwise, dormant physical conditions.

This certainly is not an exhaustive list of injuries that occur to Postal Workers, but it is a list of common type injuries.  Our office represents ALL injured Federal Government employees, including US Postal Workers.  If you are an injured Federal Government employee and you have been hurt on the job and OWCP has denied your claim or is attempting to end your claim, call Mooney & Associates today to speak to our Workers Compensation attorney.  Call  us today at 717-200-HURT or 1-877-632-4656.  You can also email us directly at the email address listed on the right sidebar under Business Contacts.

Workers Comp Settlement and Social Security Disability

Is there any interplay between a lump sum workers compensation settlement and social security disability benefits?  Yes, there is.  And your workers compensation attorney better be aware of it.

Social Security is still entitled to an offset.  It is statutory, meaning, it is a legal requirement.  So what is the best process to deal with a potential offset when settling a workers compensation case?  Your attorney should ensure that any future offsets are either minimal or eliminated.  It should be done by spreading your settlement over your lifetime expectancy.  This is done through special social security offset language in Paragraph 13 of the Compromise and Release Agreement, otherwise known as the “Sciarotta Allocation.”  The allocation is based on the case Sciarotta v. BowenContinue reading

Concussions aren’t just in sports, but in the workplace too

Concussions have been in the national spotlight recently.  That is because of the rising awareness of concussion impacts on the NFL, NHL, and other sports.  However, concussions aren’t just a ‘sport’ thing, they happen often in the workplace as well.

Concussion work injuries can be one of the most serious of all on-the-job injuries. Most of these type of injuries can be attributed to head trauma that is caused by falling objects, slip and falls, malfunctioning equipment, and auto accidents.  They are also often litigated in Pennsylvania because of the impact they could have and the fact that symptoms can be slow to wane and continue to develop.

Loss of consciousness — does it matter?

One of the misnomers out there is the fact that if the individual did not lose consciousness, then he/she is probably exaggerating their symptoms.  That simply is far from the truth.  A mild traumatic brain injury can certainly cause loss of consciousness, but there also may be no obvious symptoms at all, including loss of consciousness.  In fact, the vast majority of concussions across the United States, loss of consciousness does not occur.

One common myth about a concussion is that it only occurs, or more often occurs, following loss of consciousness. The truth is that concussions occur with or without loss of consciousness. In fact, more than 90 percent of concussions are not accompanied by a loss of consciousness.  A related myth is that when there is a loss of consciousness, this indicates a more serious concussion and a lengthy recovery period. Our research shows that loss of consciousness is not directly correlated to a longer recovery, and may even be associated with a shorter one. Continue reading

What are the Workers Compensation LIBC Employment Verification forms?

Pennsylvania injured workers get tons of paperwork in the mail, especially when they are in litigation of their workers compensation claim.  They get tons of documents from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, from the insurance carrier, from their employer, and from their attorney.

There are a few documents you should know about and understand the importance in completing and returning these forms in a timely manner.  They are Employee verification forms, specifically, LIBC 750 (Employees Report of Wages), LIBC 756 (Employees Report of Benefits), and LIBC 760 (Employees Verification of Benefits).   [If you misplaced them, call the insurance carrier forn new copies or download them here.]  You may have a tendency to walk those forms over to your trash can, and place them in the trash can.  Do so at your own risk.

Pennsylvania injured workers who are receiving wage loss benefits are required to complete these forms when forwarded by the workers compensation insurance carrier.  Failure to complete and return can lead to a complete suspension of your wage loss benefit checks.  These forms are required under the anti-fraud provisions of the PA Workers’ Compensation Act.  The Act permits insurance carriers certain credits on wage loss benefits for any wages or certain potential benefits, earned after a work injury.  You must truthfully and accurately verify that you are not or are receiving other income. Completing these forms and failing to report income could result in fraud criminal charges.

So what do you do when you receive these forms in the mail?  Complete them truthfully and accurately, make copies for yourself, and then send them to the carrier by certified mail.  If you are  a client of Mooney & Associates, we encourage you to bring the forms into our office and lets us return them to the insurance carrier and/or defense counsel.  That way we can be assured the forms were returned appropriately to the insurance carrier.  It really is that simple.  A suspension of benefits for failure to return such forms is really not necessary.

If you do not understand the forms or wish to have Mooney & Associates handle the forms for you, just drop them off at one of our Central Pennsylvania offices or simply give me a call at 717-200-HURT.   Mooney & Associates offers FREE consultation or new clients and only represent injured workers on a contingency fee basis, meaning, we only collect if you collect.  Of course, if you are a current client, there is NEVER a charge to come and see me.