There are many myths about Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation issues. I hear them every day. I wanted to share my thoughts about these to help set the record straight from my 16 years of experience.
1. Myth: My Neighbor Got $100,000 for His Settlement, So I Should Too
Fact: No two cases are identical. There are so many factors that distinguish cases. For example, what’s the average weekly wage and comp rate, the age of the claimant, the diagnoses, the accepted injuries in the controlling document, is there is an IME report challenging the treating doctor’s findings, if there is litigation, who is the Judge, has an earning power been established, etc etc etc. It is a waste of time to consider what another person received for their settlement. Talk to your attorney about the value of your case, given the facts of your case.
2. Myth: The IME Doctor Will Side Against Me
Fact: Not always. While they tend to be quite biased in many cases, I’ve seen plenty of fair and balanced IME reports which acknowledge a work-related injury and disability. Don’t jump to conclusions.
3. Myth: Most People On Work Comp Don’t Want to Work
Fact: I’ve seen, interviewed, and fought for hundreds of injured workers for many years. I am able to line up their sentiments with their medical records and see them testify under oath- I get a very good sense of people and pretty quickly. Very few have indicated or shown a propensity to simply want to coast on work comp- most injured workers don’t enjoy being at home, out of work, and in pain. You lose money while on work comp- you don’t make it.
4. Myth: If I Get Fired, I Cannot Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Fact: Not true. If the firing was for willful misconduct, then the insurer/employer will likely argue that any wage loss benefits payable should cease. However, that’s not easy to prove. If an injured worker is laid off and has work-related restrictions, a reinstatement of benefits is due. A termination of employment does NOT end a workers’ compensation case.
5. Myth: Since I Am on Workers Comp, My Health Insurance Cannot Be Terminated
Fact: Unfortunately, this is not true. The fact that a claim has been accepted or is being paid, does not mean that an Employer has to keep health insurance going. In many cases, it stops soon after the employee stops working, with a COBRA notice going out where applicable. The work comp insurance for the accepted work-related injuries continues until a full recovery is found by a Judge or until a case is settled, but the regular health insurance is not something the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act covers.