As you can tell from the responses, Federal Workers' Compensation is a different body of law from Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation. I would agree with my colleague that attorney Zeelander is one of the few attorneys in this area who handles Federal Workers' Compensation cases.
Every instance is unique, so first I would recommend speaking with an attorney about your situation. However, generally, the requirement that an injured worker treat with a designated or “company doctor” is governed by Section 306(f.1)(1)(i) of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Section provides a number of rules in setting up the panel. Employers rarely meet those rules. Prior to the panel list being effective, the employer must ensure that the list complies with 306 (f.1) and must show...
I agree with attorney Cullen. You can and may wish to refuse the rehab nurse's services, but the claims adjuster may decide to deny the claim as a result. I would hire an attorney sooner, rather than later, and have the attorney walk you through the process.
Every WC case should be evaluated differently. It seems that your attorney may have been speaking to you about what the "average" settlement in Pennsylvania is. While two to three years is rather low even in speaking about averages, no case should settle simply because many cases fall into a certain range. Since you have a mediation coming up, you may want to spend some time asking the mediating judge the relevant factors. Your attorney should be able to elaborate.
As for the SSDI issue,...
I think most of the attorneys on this board will not simply tell you what you want to hear. I agree that hiring someone certified as a specialist, which is a new classification of lawyers, is a good place to start.
I would agree with my colleagues. You do need to discuss this with an attorney right away as each situation is vastly different. That being said, I would note that it is generally a good idea to treat for medical necessity. If a doctor is helping your condition, keep seeing that physician. If not, getting a second opinion is often beneficial. Your attorney should be able to help minimize any negative perception irrespective of your decision.
Unless, as Richard pointed out, this is a hearing following an "Employee Challenge," your payments should not have stopped to begin with. Checks should resume immediately, but you may need an attorney to push the issue.
Unfortunately, pain and suffering damages are not an element of a workers' compensation award. I would contact a workers' compensation attorney right away and not attempt to negotiate with the carrier unrepresented.
Each situation is very fact specific. If your attorney does not handle third party cases, you should ask for a referral to an attorney who does. Both attorneys should work together to identify the responsible party.