What does a Petition to Suspend mean?
If your employer has filed a petition to suspend your workers' comp benefits, you are likely worried and confused. The reason a Petition to Suspend has been filed is because the insurance company no longer wants to pay disability benefits. There are multiple bases upon which an employer may attempt to cut off your benefits. In Pennsylvania, a Petition to Suspend may be filed if the injured worker returns to work, refuses to return to work, fails to return specific LIBC forms required to be completed under the PA Workers' Compensation Act, on the basis of a Labor Market Survey, or even if an injured worker has turned down recommended medical treatment. Each of these situations provides the employer or insurance company a chance to get out of the obligation to pay an injured worker his or her wage loss benefits.
What do I do now?
If your employer has filed a petition to suspend your benefits, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney. An initial consultation is free. The attorney will be able to explain why and how the insurance company is attempting to cut off your benefits, what steps need to be taken to protect your interests, and evaluate the likelihood of success. The attorney will also be able to determine, after assessing your priorities, whether it is smart to look at settlement or simply litigate the case to a judge's decision.
It's important to realize that in a Petition to Suspend, the burden of proof is on the Employer/Insurance Company. This doesn't mean that the injured worker always wins, but the worker is in an advantageous position. Because there are many different bases upon which a Petition to Suspend may be filed and because each situation is different, it's important that your attorney know exactly what is going in your case. Sometimes, even if your benefits have been suspended you may be entitled to reinstatement of your workers' comp benefits. The earlier you reach out to an attorney, the better equipped you are to deal with the petition and the sooner you can breathe easy knowing your case is being handled.