6. What paper work might I see after I notify my employer of my injury?
Notice of Compensation Payable (NCP); Statement of Wages; Temporary Notice of Compensation Payable (TNCP); Medical Only Notice of Compensation Payable; Notice of Denial; Authorization for Medical Records; Employee Verification Form; Supplemental Agreement; Final Receipt.
7. What is an Independent Medical Exam (IME)?
Under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, the employer/insurance company is entitled to have the injured worker examined by an IME doctor of their choosing every six months at a reasonable time and place. The doctor's fees and your travel expenses are paid by the workers' compensation insurance company. The doctor will also review your medical records, take a medical history and perform a brief exam. The defense hired doctor can recommend testing or procedures that are necessary, involve no more than a minimal risk, and are not unreasonably intrusive. The IME doctor's opinion is often used to try and modify or terminate your benefits. You can request to have a friend or relative accompany you. You cannot record or videotape the exam without the consent of the doctor. Keep in mind that if you do not attend an IME, the insurance company can file a petition to stop your benefits until you do attend.
8. What is an Impairment Rating Exam (IRE)?
If you have been receiving temporary total disability workers' compensation wage loss benefits for two (2) years (104 weeks), the employer or its insurance company likely will ask you to see a doctor for an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). In almost all cases the IRE results limit your eligibility for future workers' compensation wage loss benefits based on your percentage of whole body impairment.However, the employer's/insurance company's request for an IRE must be made in a timely fashion (within 60 days after you have received 104 weeks of temporary total disability benefits). If it is not, the employer/insurance company cannot automatically limit your future eligibility for benefits. Therefore, it is important to determine if any IRE request you receive is timely.
9. Is it possible to settle my claim for a lump sum?
Yes. Many cases can be settled via a Compromise and Release Agreement (C & R). The insurance company can offer you a lump sum payment to fully resolve your entire claim or just the wage loss or medical portion of your claim. Relying on an experienced workers compensation attorney is the best was to maximize your recovery and make sure that all of your rights are being protected. Making sure your paper work is properly completed is also important because of the effect it may have on Social Security Disability payments. If the insurance company is bringing up settlement you should contact us immediately.
10. Do I Really Need a Lawyer to Represent Me in My Workers' Comp Claim?
The insurance company will certainly have a lawyer and this can place you at a severe disadvantage if you do not retain a lawyer as well. Workers' Compensation is very complicated and it can be extremely difficult to win a case without an attorney. Attorneys who concentrate their practices in workers' compensation know the law and procedures. Thus, having a good attorney can make the difference between winning and losing a case or between getting a large lump sum settlement or a small one. We recommend that you contact an experienced attorney as early as possible in this process. Because of the contingent nature of representation, you do not need to pay an attorney until they go to a hearing on your behalf or settle your claim for you.