Here are some common questions I get on phone calls with prospective injured workers.
Q: Can I sue my employer for negligence other than just workers compensation?
A: No. It is extremely uncommon to be able to sue your employer outside the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (Act) for an injury that occurred at work. Workers’ Compensation is the exclusive remedy. I know that is tough to hear, especially when your employer may have been at fault for the injury. The exclusivity provisions of the Act are quite strong and settled law.
Q. The insurance carrier sent me three forms about my income. Two of them look the same. Do I have to complete them?
A. This question references LIBC forms 750, 756, and 760. The answer is yes, they must be completed and returned to the insurance carrier. Failure to do so allows the insurance carrier to suspend your wage loss benefits until they are returned. I always ask my clients to return those forms through my office so we have record that they were sent and received by the insurance carrier.
Q. Can I treat with my own doctor?
A. Few things here. If you have a claim that has been accepted, then you should treat with one of the six designated panel providers for the first 90 days. After 90 days, you are free to treat with your own doctor. One thing some employers do not understand is they are not permitted to dictate which provider on the list you treat with. That being said, within the 90 days, you can treat with your own doctor not on the panel list, but the insurance carrier does not have to pay the medical bills related to that treatment. Now, that is all assuming the insurance carrier has also complied with all the panel provision requirements. If your claim has been denied, then the 90 day panel provision does not apply and you are free to treat with whatever doctor you choose.
Q. I received a notice of Independent Medical Examination (IME) from the insurance company. Do I have to attend?
A. Yes, you must attend. The insurance carrier is permitted under the Act to have you attend an IME twice in a twelve month period. Failure to attend or ignoring the exam will result in a Petition to Compel to be filed and a hearing before a Workers Compensation Judge (WCJ). The WCJ will then order you to attend. Failure to do so will result in suspension of your benefits and will also not shine a positive light on you with the WCJ.
Q. I received a Notice of Ability to Return to Work (NABRTW). Do I need to return to work?
A. Not quite unless the insurance carrier takes further steps. The NABRTW should always be sent out when your work restrictions change, either from your doctor or possibly the IME doctor. Still, the insurance carrier must the also send a job offer letter to offer you light duty within those restrictions. That letter must be received after receipt of the NABRTW. Now, that being said, if the job offer was just based on the IME doctor, and your doctor either has you on more strict restrictions or out of work completely, then you should not return to work.
Q. Am I entitled to a settlement of my workers’ compensation claim?
A. No. No one, including a WCJ, can make you OR your employer settle your workers’ compensation claim. To settle, both parties have to be willing to do so. The presumption that an injured worker is entitled to a settlement is incorrect. That being said, most cases do settle. Insurance carriers like to close out claims. However, settlement of your workers’ compensation claim has to be right for you. Call us today for a FREE consultation to discuss.
If you have been injured at work, Count on Mooney. We have represented thousands across Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland. We have obtained tens of millions of dollars in benefits for injured workers. Even more so, it costs you nothing to talk with us. Consultations are ABSOLUTELY FREE. Call today at 717-200-HELP or 717-632-4656. You can also email us to schedule at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, click to our website and you can simply complete the Schedule a Consultation form.