Explaining The Termination Petition in Pennsylvania Workers Compensation
This guide will review the Termination Petition that an Employer or Insurer may file in a workers compensation claim. This Petition is an effort to have your benefits stopped completely and below is information on the steps you should take if a Termination Petition is filed in your matter.
What is a Termination Petition?A Termination Petition is filed by an Employer or Insurer when they believe that you have fully recovered from your work injury. They are seeking to terminate, or stop, your indemnity (wage loss) and medical benefits in their entirety. Once the Termination Petition is filed with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, your case will be assigned to a Workers Compensation Judge and a hearing will be scheduled. You should discuss the matter with an attorney immediately because there are time sensitive issues that you will need to address, such as filing an Answer.
Which Party has the Burden of Proof in a Termination Petition?The burden of proof is on the Employer when a Termination Petition is filed, and the Employer must prove that either the employee's disability has ceased, or that the disability that the employee is suffering from is unrelated to the employee's work injury.
Will my Benefits be Stopped?Your Employer cannot unilaterally stop your checks until the WCJ issues an order or a decision allowing them to stop paying you or pay you a reduced amount. The first time a WCJ can do that is after the first hearing. The Employer will make a request for "Supersedeas" at the first hearing, which is when they ask for the immediate relief they are seeking (termination of benefits) to be granted. This relief is a harsh remedy against the employee, but the employee must present some contradictory evidence to that which the Employer is relying upon for the Termination Petition to have Supersedeas denied.
What Should I Do if I Get a Termination Petition in the Mail?If you receive a Termination Petition you should contact an attorney immediately. This is an attempt by the Employer to stop your benefits, and inaction or the improper action on your part may place your benefits in jeopardy. Making sure that your interests are represented immediately, protecting your benefits at the Supersedeas Hearing, and ultimately litigating the Termination Petition are some of the steps your attorney will do on your behalf.