There may be hidden hazards in your workplace. If you have developed a condition which you feel may be related to work, contact a properly qualified Workers Comp lawyer immediately.
Your Basic Benefits
In Pennsylvania, Worker’s Compensation entitled you to medical care, temporary or permanent disability, and/or vocational rehabilitation. Your medical care benefits give you the right to receive treatments to cure the injury, or to relieve the pain. This includes doctors bills, tests, transportation, and prescriptions.
Your Employer Wants You Back, and So Does Their Insurance Company – Returning to Work
One of the things that can take place is the process of vocational rehabilitation (job re-training) to get you back as a wage earner. When injury prevents you from returning to work, your employer may offer assistance in getting another job.
Be Careful About Returning to Work
If you are earning as much or more than you were earning before you were injured, even if you are still injured, your benefits will stop. But if your wages are less due to your injury, you can still receive some wage loss benefits, but the amount will be reduced.
The Doctor Says You Can Go Back To Work…
Is this good news? If you are fully recovered and ready to resume your place in the workforce, this can be great news. Having the doctor release you back to work can mean that you can resume your duties and start earning wages again. However…
CAUTION: Signing Off… Signing Away Your Rights…
Your boss may ask you to sign something saying you are 100% better and that you have received all of your benefits. Before you sign anything, have a lawyer look it over. If they ask you to sign a Final Receipt of Benefits or (or anything agreeing to limits on your benefits) have this reviewed by a lawyer first. Often they use these forms to limit your benefits, especially when you are still injured. Sometimes these documents contain language saying you are completely better. Be careful!
Protect Yourself if You are Still Injured
Signing off for your “Final Check”You must determine if there are limits that should be placed on your job duties. If you are not fully healed, then you may seek to have restrictions placed upon your job duties. For example, if you tore your knee or have a bad back, you might want to be instructed not to lift objects in excess a certain amount of weight. Get this in writing from your doctor and provide a copy to your employer (including your direct supervisor at work). You may want to get a receipt confirming that they received this information, or in the absence of getting that, have witnesses to your asking for these restrictions
This is another tricky point. Don’t be in such a rush to get your final payment that you will sign anything. Rather, wait and have that document reviewed by an attorney. Again, this is particularly important if you still have residual injuries. While your employer may tell you that the check can not be paid until you sign, it can often be a tactic to get you to sign a document saying your are 100% better, when in fact you are not. If they tell you this, realize that this is not the law. You do not have to sign off to get your check!
You should only sign off when all of the following are true:
1. You are 100% better, physically and mentally
2. You are done treating, buying medications, being tested
3. Your lawyer says it is OK to sign off
4. Your new job pays as much more than your old job
5. You are working as many (or more hours) than before
6. You can work without restrictions
7. You have no permanent disfigurements
Its not too late if you did sign off…
In some cases, we have succeeded in filing a petition to set aside the Final Receipt and reopen a claim. Contact us if this situation applies to you. This application must be done in a timely manner, so do not delay, even a day.