Dear Madam or Sir in Manhattan:
Well, we are all surprised that the so called INDEPENDENT medical examiner (IME) found you were able to play goal for the New York Rangers, despite your injuries. The Judge knows too, but will have to go through a process.
Initially, we must say that if you are able to return to some work you are better off. If your return to work is at a lower weekly amount, you must continue to see your doctor so he will issue reports certifying a continuing disability.
The Carrier will file an RFA2 asking to suspend your payments. A hearing will be scheduled and the Judge can stop payments and order testimony be taken from the IME and your doctor over the telephone, which will take about 6 weeks.
It is possible, the Carrier will offer to pay a reduced rate on a temporary basis to avoid the litigation.
You didn't say what sort of injury you have, so it is a problem to determine which is best for you. If this is a Back or Neck injury, our advice would be to go for the testimony and do without any comp payments for a while.
You will need to have a lawyer to depose the docs and you should be using a person who does workers' compensation claims all the time.
If you have an injury to a member like an arm, leg, fingers, hand, etc., it is likely your claim will end up with a Schedule Award, assuming your own doctor comes to a point where he believes you are at maximum improvement and especially if you go back to work. Then, I'd say to see if the Carrier will agree to a reduced rate instead of a suspension and hopefully it won't be long before you go back to working.
In the end, if you get a Schedule Award, the Carrier DOES get to take credit for all they have paid so far; you would be presently eating up your own award.
Since you have been out of work for 16 months, I am guessing this is a Back or Neck injury and thoughts of a schedule award are out the window; go for the Deposition testimony.
THEY WILL ASK YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU ARE 100% DISABLED FROM ALL WORK NOT JUST FROM YOUR JOB; IF HE SAYS NO, THE JUDGE WILL REDUCE YOUR RATE.
The foregoing is based on the little information provided; additional facts may change the comments given.
There will likely be a hearing.
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It is likely that not only will the carrier move to reduce or stop your money because of the IME it is also likely that the carrier will push for a finding that you have a permanent disability so as to put a limit on how long you can collect money benefits.
At this stage it is very important to understand the process and what you have to do to seek work. It is impossible to out line a stragery with out knowing other facts such as your age job history and plans for the future.
The IME like your doctors opinion does not in of it self control your ability to work. Working is your decision and it my experience you will almost always be better off with some work.
Please remember the answer to this question is in general and without knowledge to the specific facts of your case. You should not rely on this answer when making important life decisions and seek a legal opinion based on your particular facts and circumstances.
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