It's no secret employers generally don't like it when employees file for and are awarded workers' compensation benefits because this may lead to higher premiums and other costs for them. Some employers will look for ways to end the payments and will file a petition with the insurance company to either lower the amount of benefits you're getting or terminate your checks altogether. Here's what you need to do when this happens.
Determine the Reason
First and foremost, you need to immediately find out why the employer is taking this course of action. Most of the time, your boss will initiate this process after receiving a medical report stating you are capable of performing light or full duty. However, an employer may also seek to terminate benefits for the following reasons:
- You obtain employment at another company
- He or she feels the incident doesn't qualify as a workplace accident
- He or she feels you didn't sustain a compensable injury
- He or she suspects you are committing insurance fraud
Employers typically must file their objections within a certain time period. In North Carolina, for example, companies must file a request for termination within 90 days of being notified about the injury or death; otherwise, they will be permanently barred from contesting the claim. Likewise, you'll have to respond to the allegation within a limited time period or risk having your benefits cut off with a hearing.
Gather the Necessary Evidence
If you feel the objection is erroneous, you'll need to gather together the evidence needed to disprove your employer's allegations. If your employer is claiming you can work, for example, you may need to return to your doctor (or go to a different doctor) for another examination to prove you are still disabled and/or cannot perform your duties. You may need to acquire reports from other experts to help your case, so it's a good idea to consult with an attorney about the types of evidence you need for your particular situation.
File an Appeal
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your employer wins and your benefits are terminated. You can file an appeal with the workers compensation board contesting the action. In Michigan, for instance, you would file an Application for Mediation or Hearing with the Michigan Workers Compensation Agency. You will have another hearing where you can present additional evidence disputing your employer's claims and showing you are, in fact, eligible for workers' comp benefits.
Unfortunately, it can take quite a bit of time to win on an appeal, which is why you should hire an attorney to help you as soon as you are notified your employer is contesting your benefits to avoid getting them terminated in the first place. For more information about this issue or help with a workers' comp claim, contact a lawyer.