Mississippi Termination of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Lawyer
Injured workers have a right to receive the benefits they need to cover their medical expenses and loss of wages. When these benefits get terminated, it can be scary and put the injured worker in a difficult position. Often, many workers do not fully understand how workers’ compensation works and are not aware that they have a right to dispute the termination of benefits.
Employers and insurance companies are often only looking out for themselves, so it is not uncommon for them to terminate benefits to avoid profit losses. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation insurance companies can lawfully terminate benefits without first notifying the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC).
Even if the injured worker is still under medical supervision, employers can terminate their benefits. This can be confusing and scary for workers who could otherwise not afford the necessary medical treatments on their own and are still unable to return to work to earn an income.
If you were injured in a workplace accident and are facing termination of your benefits, it is advisable for you to consult with an experienced Mississippi workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney can advocate for your rights and help you take steps to avoid termination. If the termination goes through, your attorney can also help you file a dispute.
The Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC, are here to help and offer you guidance during this difficult time. We understand how frustrating it can be to have your benefits terminated when you are not yet fully healed. Our lawyers are dedicated to helping our clients understand their rights and ensure they get the benefits they deserve. Learn more about Mississippi workers’ compensation benefits termination below, and contact Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC, if you’ve been injured in a workplace accident.
Why Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Get Terminated?
Workers’ compensation benefits can get terminated for various reasons, including:
- Being cleared for work by a doctor
- You fail to show up for medical appointments
- You refuse medical treatments
- If your medical condition changes and you do not apply for a new type of benefit
- The insurance company or your employer thinks you are lying, providing false information, or are faking your injury.
- You fill out the wrong form or make a mistake on the form you did file.
- You become incarcerated
As mentioned above, insurance companies and employers often care more about increasing their profits than ensuring their employees are protected and cared for. They will typically look for any way they can to save money, which includes denying or terminating workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, they can do this without notifying the WCC, even if the injured worker is still seeking medical treatments.
Even if your own treating physician has not cleared you for work, the insurance company may seek out a second opinion from a doctor of their choosing. If that doctor tells them that you are fine and can return to work, they will likely terminate your benefits, even if the doctor’s opinion is untrue. In these situations, the doctor they seek a second opinion from often performs a limited examination that is not thorough enough to fully evaluate your condition.
Your benefits could also get terminated if there is a change in your medical condition. There are a couple of different types of disability benefits provided for injured workers, and the type of benefit they receive will depend on the extent of their injuries. If your medical condition changes, you may need to apply for a new type of benefit. If you fail to do so, the current benefits you are receiving could be terminated.
Exaggerating your medical condition can also result in a denial or termination of benefits. If you attempt to make your condition seem worse than it actually is to continue receiving benefits, your benefits will be terminated. You could also lose your benefits if you stop going to your appointments and seeking treatment. It is your responsibility to show that you are taking the necessary steps to improve your condition; if you fail to do so, it could result in benefit termination.
Dealing with workers’ compensation can be confusing, which can result in mistakes being made on forms or the wrong forms being filled out, which can result in a denial or termination of benefits. You also have certain time limits you must adhere to, and if you fail to turn a form in on time, it could also result in a loss of benefits. Injured workers who get arrested and sent to prison could also have their benefits terminated.
What Should I Do If My Workers’ Compensation Benefits Get Terminated?
If possible, you should take steps to avoid having your benefits terminated if you suspect it may happen. It is typically easier if you work with an attorney to take action to keep your benefits from being terminated in the first place. However, if they do get terminated, there are still some things you can do.
Having an attorney on your side from the moment you apply for benefits is always best as they can offer you guidance to ensure nothing goes wrong. Additionally, insurance companies do not terminate benefits as often when they know the injured worker is consulting with an attorney. Without an attorney, insurers will terminate benefits in the hopes that you won’t do anything to dispute them, but when you have an attorney on your side, insurers know that you will likely take action against them.
Your attorney will do everything possible to help you avoid having your benefits terminated, but if you do lode them, there are a few things you can do, such as:
- Request an Independent Medical Exam (IME) if you think the termination is due to a doctor making an ill-informed decision.
- Negotiate with the insurance company to have your benefits reinstated.
- Return to work on light duty to prove to your employer that you are still recovering and unable to return to work at full capacity.
- File a dispute form with the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC).
Before taking any steps, you should consult with your attorney to decide the best course of action. The options available to you will depend on your individual circumstances and why the benefits got terminated in the first place.
At Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC, our Mississippi workers’ compensation attorneys can help you dispute the termination of your benefits. This process can be scary and intimidating, but we are here to support you and advocate for your rights.
Can I Challenge a Termination of My Workers’ Comp Benefits?
The simple answer is yes. You have a right to challenge the insurance company if you believe your benefits were not rightfully terminated. Insurance companies and employers are not allowed to just terminate anyone’s benefits whenever they wish. Unfortunately, they often get away with this because injured workers do not understand their rights when it comes to workers’ compensation.
Once the insurance company decides to terminate your benefits, they will have to send you certain forms, such as Form 1002 . Once you receive this form, you can take the following steps to dispute the termination:
- Complete a Notice of Disagreement portion of the Form 1002 and return it to the insurance company. Once the insurance company receives the form, they will have seven days to either agree and pay your benefits or decline.
- If the insurance company declines and refuses to continue paying benefits, you will have to file a new Disputed Claim for Compensation Form (1008) and send it to the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation court.
- After the court receives Form 1008, the insurance company may respond by requesting a preliminary hearing with a workers’ compensation judge. If the insurance company does not request a hearing, your disputed claim will be scheduled for trial.
- If the insurance company does request a preliminary hearing, all parties involved will be allowed to provide evidence to support their claim. This includes medical records, doctor statements, and witness testimony. A judge will then have 30 days to review and make a decision.
- Once a decision is made, the insurance company has ten days to do one of two things: 1) notify you that they do not accept the decision or 2) accept and comply. If they accept, they will need to mail another 1002 form to you along with any benefits that are due.
- If the insurance company does not accept the decision that was made by the judge in the preliminary hearing, a trial will be scheduled for your disputed claim.
This process can be long and stressful. It can be difficult for injured workers to deal with this on their own. If you need to dispute the termination of your benefits, you should consult with an experienced Mississippi workers’ compensation attorney.
An Experienced Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
If you disagree with the termination of your benefits, you have a right to file a dispute with the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission. Insurance companies are known for denying and terminating benefits while injured workers are still recovering and need help with their medical expenses and loss of wages. If you need help with any part of your workers’ compensation claim, from initial application to appealing denials or disputing benefits, our team of experienced attorneys can help. For help with a Mississippi workers’ compensation claim, contact the workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC, for a free consultation.