In Pennsylvania, workers can suffer injuries in whatever kind of work they do. Certain areas are prominently blue-collar and physical injuries are common. That includes union workers, law enforcement, steelworkers and laborers. That does not mean sedentary workers and white-collar workers are invulnerable to injury. It can happen no matter the job requirements. That is true for office workers who might not expect to lose time and need workers’ compensation benefits. There are also unfamiliar aspects of the process that should be understood from the outset.
Available employment and how it impacts workers’ compensation
An often understated part of workers’ compensation benefits is if the employer has an available job and offers it to the injured worker. Many workers who are off the job because of an injury are still able to perform some work-related duties. If such an offer is made, the employee can accept or decline it. Declining could be problematic for workers’ compensation benefits.
Should the employee refuse the work, the employer could move forward with petitioning the workers’ compensation judge to lower the payments or stop them completely. There will be a hearing. As it is in progress, the insurer or employer is required to continue making the payments unless the judge says they can be stopped. During the hearing, medical evidence will be presented from both the employee and the employer or insurer. This will focus on the work available and if the injured employee can do it. If the claim is in jeopardy, it is wise to be fully prepared.
Addressing disputes over workers’ compensation
Often, the medical provider will determine that an injured worker can perform certain tasks while the worker says he or she is incapable of doing them because of the injuries. The injury itself could be important during the hearing process after a work offer is declined. Providing evidence and presenting a comprehensive case are essential and having professional guidance in all circumstances is key.