Can You Lose Your Workers' Compensation Benefits?

Both you and your employer are responsible for abiding by certain rules and procedures when it comes to handling a workers' compensation claim. If you fail to follow the rules, you could lose your benefits. To help you retain your benefits, here are some situations that could have an impact on your benefits. 

Light Duty

It is possible that your employer offers you a light duty position until you are able to return to your regular position. Depending on the state in which you live, failing to accept the light duty position could impact your benefits. 

Some recipients of workers' compensation benefits mistakenly believe that returning to light duty results in a forfeiture of all benefits. This is not true. You can still continue to receive benefits until you are able to return to work. The benefits you receive can be reduced though. 

If your employer has offered light duty work and your state requires you to take it if you are physically able to, you must take it. However, if your doctor has not given you clearance to return to any form of work, you can refuse it.

It is important that you inform your employer of your reason for refusing and obtain documentation from your doctor stating that you are not yet ready to return to even light duty work. 

Medical Exam

When you first apply for workers' compensation benefits, you are required to undergo a medical examination with a doctor selected by your employer. Depending on your state's laws, you can choose to see your own doctor after that for care. However, your employer has the right to request that you undergo another evaluation at a later date. 

If you refuse your employer's request for another evaluation, your benefits could end. Your employer could argue that it believes you are medically healed and able to return to work. 

If your benefits are ended, you have the option of appealing, but it is likely that you will need to undergo the medical examination with the doctor chosen by your employer. You can argue for an independent examiner though. Your state's Department of Labor can provide a listing of acceptable doctors and you can negotiate with your employer to select one. 

There are many other situations that can impact your workers' compensation benefits. Review your situation with an experienced attorney to avoid making mistakes and to keep your benefits going for the period needed. Contact a law firm, such as the Kolker Law Offices for more information.