When a worker is injured on the job or becomes ill due to a workplace exposure, he is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover the cost of medical care and lost wages while he is unable to work. The worker’s ability to perform job duties will be assessed by a doctor chosen by the employer or the employer’s workers’ comp insurer. Disabilities will be classified according to whether they are permanent or temporary and whether they are total or partial. A temporary disability is one from which the worker is expected to eventually recover and return to work. An injured worker should expect to continue receiving benefit payments until he or she returns to work. There are situations, however, that can cause a worker to lose his or her benefits.
Losing Workers’ Comp Benefits
If you are legitimately ill or injured and have followed your doctor’s and your employer’s instructions regarding your medical care and work status, you should not have to worry about suddenly being cut off from benefits. However, when an employer mistrusts your intentions, you may find yourself in danger of losing your benefits. If you engage in any of the following actions, or your employer believes you have done any of these things, workers’ comp payments could be terminated:
- You fail to follow through with medical treatment as ordered by a doctor. The intention of workers’ compensation is to provide income while you are recovering from injuries suffered in the workplace that prevent you from doing your job. In order to qualify for the benefits, you must make every effort to heal and return to work. If you don’t, you could lose benefits.
- You refuse to comply with an order to have a medical exam. If your employer suspects you have recovered enough to return to work, he may order you to submit to a medical exam. If you refuse, your benefits could be terminated.
- You are convicted of a crime and are put in jail. Prisoners are not eligible for worker’s comp benefits. If you are imprisoned, your benefits will cease, even if you have family members who rely on the benefits as well.
- You have returned to work. If you are earning an income, even if it is not in your original line of work, your benefits may be terminated. Workers’ comp is meant to provide an income when you are not otherwise able to earn one. Returning to any type of work could cancel your benefits.
Even if you have jeopardized your benefits in one of these ways, your checks should not stop without warning. If your employer wants to begin the process of terminating your benefits, he will have to submit a request to be reviewed by a judge.
Petition to End Benefits
If your employer has submitted a request to terminate your benefits, you should receive a copy of the request. The request will be reviewed by a judge who will make the final decision about ending your benefits. Until the hearing takes place and a decision is made, you should continue to receive your worker’s comp checks. As soon as you receive notification that a request to terminate your benefits has been filed, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. If your employer’s doctor has determined that you are fit to return to work, but your personal doctor disagrees, you will have to provide evidence of your ongoing disability to the judge. These cases can become complicated very quickly, so hiring an attorney is always a good idea.
Have You Been Injured On The Job?
If you've been hurt at work on the job in Kansas City you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.