WHAT IS A TERMINATION PETITION?
- Will a Termination Petition affect my weekly benefits?
Not immediately and hopefully never. If the Employer wins a Termination Petition, the injured workers’ weekly comp checks will stop. However, the filing of a Termination Petition does not mean wage loss benefits will immediately or ever stop. The injured workers’ benefits can continue as the case continues to be litigated. The Petition will be assigned to a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Judge, and hearings will be held. The first time the Employer can ask the Judge to stop benefits will be at the first hearing, which will be approximately 4-8 weeks after the injured worker receives the Termination Petition. The injured worker will be provided an opportunity to submit medical evidence to establish that he/she is not fully recovered from the work injury. It is important that the injured worker has skilled counsel to protect his/her interests to be in the best position to have his/her benefits continue while the Termination petition is pending and to prevail against the Employer.
- Will the filing of a Termination Petition affect an injured worker’s medical benefits and treatment?
Not immediately and hopefully never. The Employer cannot stop paying medical bills without a Judge’s Order granting a Termination Petition. It is important that the injured worker continues to treat after receiving the Termination Petition. The injured worker will be provided an opportunity to submit medical evidence to establish that the injured worker is not fully recovered from the work injury. The Employer continues to be responsible for paying all medical bills related to the work injury while the Termination Petition is being litigated.
- What is the law?
The law puts the burden of proof on the Employer to establish that the injured worker is fully recovered from the work injury. The Employer usually presents evidence through its own hired medical experts. These medical experts typically see Injured Workers under the guise of an “Independent Medical Examination.” As discussed in other articles on this blog, these exams are not independent, but rather are defense/insurance-carrier driven. The Injured worker has the right to present Medical evidence to rebut the Employer’s evidence.
- What should the injured worker do?
If the injured worker does not have a lawyer, it is highly recommended the injured worker hire an experienced Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation lawyer. An attorney can guide the injured worker through the complicated area of Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation law, review the medical file, and review the injured workers’ injury history. By doing this, the injured worker is in the best position so that his/her benefits do not stop allowing the injured worker to treat for his/her work injury. Our office does not charge fees unless we are successful on the Termination Petition.
- Can an injured worker settle his/her case before the Judge issues a Decision?
Yes. As discussed on this website, an injured worker can settle both the wage loss and the medical benefits or just the wage-loss benefits or just the medical benefits. However, it takes both the Employer/insurance carrier and the Employee to agree. Settlement is strongly encouraged by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Mediation is now required in all Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation cases. A Mediation is a meeting between the Employer/worker’s compensation carrier and an injured worker with another Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Judge. The Judge will meet with both parties and attempt to move both parties closer to resolving their differences. The injured worker is not required to settle his/her case. It is important to have a skilled Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Attorney to walk the injured worker through the complexities of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.
Feel free to contact our office to speak with an experienced Worker’s Compensation Attorney for a free consultation.