Workers’ Compensation Glossary
After suffering a serious work-related injury, navigating the workers’ comp system can be difficult. In order to make the process easier, Freeburn Hamilton Workers’ Compensation Attorneys developed a glossary of terms that you may come across to ensure you fully understand your rights and responsibilities.
Workers’ Comp Terms You Need to Know:
- Denial – If you have received a denial of your workers’ compensation claim, this means that your employer will not pay for your work-related medical bills or your wage loss. Despite receiving a denial from your employer, you still may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You should contact an attorney to help you fight for the benefits that you are entitled to receive.
- Impairment Evaluation – An impairment evaluation is a test that an employer has you undergo to see whether you are partially or totally disabled. The employer may use the impairment evaluation to change the duration of your benefits. If you are scheduled to undergo an IRE, you need an attorney.
- Independent Medical Exam (IME) – An IME is a physical examination by a doctor hired by the employer. The employer may use the opinion of the IME doctor to terminate or change your workers’ compensation benefits. If you do not have a reasonable cause or excuse, you must attend the IME examination or you may lose your right to compensation. If you have received a request to attend an IME, you need an attorney.
- Notification of Suspension – Your employer files a notification of suspension when they intend to stop your workers’ compensation benefits. Typically, your employer will file the notification of suspension after you have returned to work in some capacity. Your employer will argue that your injury no longer affects your loss of earning power. If you fail to challenge the notification of suspension within 20 days, your benefits will automatically stop. Therefore, it is extremely important to contact a lawyer when you receive a notification of suspension in order to protect your rights.
- Petition to Modify – Your employer will file a petition to modify when they intend to change your workers’ compensation benefits. Typically, your employer will file this petition to lower your workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer may argue that your disability has decreased, you have returned to work, or that they have work availability. However, your employer may not be entitled to modify or lower your workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, it is very important that you contact an attorney to assess your options and rights after receiving a petition to modify.
- Petition to Suspend – Your employer will file a Petition to Suspend when they intend to stop paying your workers’ compensation benefits. Among other reasons, your employer may file this petition after you have returned to work. However, even if you have returned to work, your employer may not be entitled to stop or suspend your workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, it is very important that you contact an attorney to assess your options and rights.
- Petition to Terminate – Your employer will file a petition to terminate when they intend to terminate or end your workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer filed this petition, it means that they believe that you are fully recovered from your work injury. Typically, your employer will file a petition to terminate your benefits after you undergo an independent medical examination. That is why it is extremely important to contact an attorney after receiving a request for an independent medical examination and a petition to terminate your benefits.
- Specific Loss – Specific loss benefits refer to benefits that your employer must pay you after you have suffered permanent scarring on certain parts of your body, an amputation of a body part or a permanent loss of the use of a body part. After any work injury, you should contact an attorney to determine if you are entitled to specific loss benefits.
- Vocational Expert – Your employer may hire a vocational expert to conduct an evaluation of your earning power. Typically, your employer will hire a vocational expert while you are unable to return to work for your employer because of your work injury. The employer may use the vocational expert’s opinion to determine if you can return to the labor market and possibly as a means to reduce or stop your workers’ compensation benefits. You should contact a lawyer if your employer requests that you attend a vocational evaluation.
Questions? Contact Freeburn Hamilton at 717-777-7777 to speak with a Certified* Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Specialist.
Beware. Not all Workers’ Compensation Attorneys are Certified Specialists. We are! Freeburn Hamilton has attorneys on staff who are certified specialists by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Law Section. These specialists are ready to represent you in your work injury claim. Let us fight to secure the maximum compensation and benefits you deserve.
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*Certified by the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Workers’ Compensation Law Section as specialists in the Practice of workers’ compensation law. A 12 member Certification Committee of the PBA Workers’ Compensation Section is responsible for the workers’ compensation law attorney certification process. In order to be certified as a workers’ compensation law specialist, an attorney must be admitted to the practice of law in Pennsylvania; have been actively engaged in the practice of law for at least 5 years, devote at least 50% of their practice to the specialty field of workers’ compensation, submit a variety of documents showing that they actively practice workers’ compensation law, participate in mandatory continuing legal education in workers’ compensation law, and submit to a written test on which they must score an 80 percent or better.