Thursday, November 26, 2015

Virginia Workers' Compensation & the Employer's Application for a Hearing

You are injured and cannot work. You are receiving workers' compensation weekly payments and medical coverage. Then you receive an Employer's Appilcation for a Hearing. What does this mean?

First, it means your weekly compensation payments are suspended.

Second, your medical coverage may continue.

Third, it does not mean your payments are permanently cut off.

Fourth, most of the time a medical report will be attached to the Employer's Application saying you have recovered from your injury (or in some cases that you have returned to work).

Fifth, if your treating doctor has returned you to work, then there may be no defense to the Employer's Application.

Sixth, however, many times the report will "not" be from your treating doctor rather it will be from a so-called independent medical examiner. One thing you can be sure of the doctor of examiner is not going to be "independent" at all. Instead, the insurer will procure this examination because the treating doctor has not returned you go work soon enough.

Seventh, despite the fact the medical release did not come from the "treating doctor" but rather an outside doctor the Senior Claims Examiner may find it constitutes "probable cause" and forward it for   a hearing which means the suspension of compensation will continue.

Eighth, the injured worker has 15 days in Virginia to respond to the Employer's Application. Most of the time the best response is an updated report from the treating doctor which shows the "independent  doctor" is wrong and the worker is still under a disability. If the treating doctor can write a "home run" report the Senior Claims Examiner may deny "probable cause" and refuse to refer the Application for a hearing (which means compensation payments will have to resume).

In summary, an injured worker who receives an Employer's Application for Hearing still has rights and can contest the Application. Of course, the worker needs to contact an experienced Virginia worker's compensation lawyer immediately.

For more information about this or any Virginia workers' compensation problem, contact Jerry Lutkenhaus at 1-800-256-8862 or visit my website at geraldlutkenhaus.com.