MY FEDERAL WORKERS' COMPENSATION CASE HAS BEEN DENIED - DO I GIVE UP???
The short answer to this question is NO.
The number one reason injured federal government employees reach out to an Attorney is because their OWCP Case has been denied. If your OWCP case has been denied, you are entitled to appeal the decision. It is important to note that denial decisions are resolved administratively, thereby avoiding costly and lengthy litigation. Your appeal rights include several different appeal options: the right to a Hearing, a Reconsideration Appeal, or an Appeal before the Employees Compensation Appeals Board. At Lincoln Federal, we can help you with deciding which Appeal option works best for you.
MY CASE HAS BEEN APPROVED BUT NOT FOR EVERYTHING THAT'S WRONG WITH ME?
If your case has been approved but the approval letter does not specifically list everything that is wrong with you this could be a problem. While OWCP may initially pay for your medical treatment and wage loss compensation it may later use the limited approval against by potentially denying medical treatment and/or wage loss compensation benefits.
At Lincoln Federal Law Firm, we will assist you by petitioning the Department of Labor/Office of Worker's Compensation to expand your approved medical diagnosis/approved conditions in order for you to get the continuing medical treatment and compensation benefits you may need and should be entitled to.
MY CASE HAS BEEN APPROVED - WHAT'S NEXT?!?!
The answer to this question is simply….it depends.
WAGE LOSS COMPENSATION BENEFIT
If you are unable to return to work, and your OWCP Case has been approved you may be entitled to receive Wage loss compensation. If you are able to work, but in a limited capacity you may also be eligible to receive Wage Loss Compensation. In this case, OWCP can make up part of the difference in wages you are losing. Examples may be if you are only able to work 4 hours a day or if you are now working a different shift in which you are losing a time/shift differential.
HOW WILL MY WAGE LOSS BE CALCULATED?
Workers' compensation benefits are determined by the employee's monthly pay at the time the injury occurred, or the monthly pay at the time disability begins, or the monthly pay at the time compensable disability recurs. The basic compensation rate is 66 2/3 percent, which is increased to 75 percent if there is at least one eligible dependent.
HOW LONG WILL MY WAGE LOSS COMPENSATION LAST?
While there is no set time that you can continue to receive Wage Loss Compensation, since OWCP is not a retirement system, at some point your Claims Examiner may get aggressive with terminating your Wage Loss Compensation. If this occurs, you may need the assistance of an Attorney to guide you in trying fighting this from occurring.
I AM NOW SUFFERING FROM ADDITIONAL MEDICAL CONDITIONS AS A RESULT OF MY ORIGINAL INJURY
It is not uncommon that you may being to suffer from additional medical conditions that arise as a direct result of the original injury. For example, I have injured my right knee and now am bearing most of my weight on the left side. It is not uncommon that I may now need medical treatment on my left side in addition to the right side. In this example in order to receive treatment on both knees the Department of Labor/Office of Worker's Compensation must first approve the additional medical diagnosis for the left side (i.e. additional medical condition). At Lincoln Federal we will assist your doctor with the wording OWCP is looking for in order to add/approve/upgrade the additional medical diagnosis you are suffering from.
I AM BEING SENT TO A SECOND OPINION/REFEREE DOCTOR
There may be times that the Department of Labor/Office of Workers Compensation requires you to be evaluated by one of its doctors. In most cases these doctors tend to see the injured worker for a very short period of time and reports back findings to DOL-OWCP that contradict what your own doctor has reported. It is common practice that DOL-OWCP will agree with what their doctor says instead of giving your doctor an opportunity to reply. If this is occurring you may benefit from speaking to our attorney to see what the next steps should be.
MODIFIED JOB OFFERS - I'M STILL INJURED BUT MY EMPLOYER IS DEMANDING I RETURN TO WORK
The issue of whether an employee has the physical ability to perform a modified position is primarily a medical question that must be resolved by medical evidence. If your doctor determines you are able to return back to work in a limited capacity, your employer may provide you with an offer of limited/modified duty assignment. If you receive one of these offers you are not without options. Many times, these modified/limited assignments are not suitable and the injured employee should not be forced to accept the offer. Our Attorneys can guide you through the return-to-work process without jeopardizing the threats of your benefits being terminated or being removed from your position.
I HAVE BEEN RELEASED TO RETURN TO WORK WITH RESTRICTIONS BUT MY EMPLOYER WILL NOT OFFER ME A MODIFIED/LIMITED DUTY ASSIGMENT
If you have been released to return to work and your employer does not have work available within your restrictions, you may still be entitled to receive Wage Loss Compensation. Unfortunately, this is a time in one's case in which the Claims Examiner may send you through Vocational Rehabilitation.
WHAT IS VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION
While in limited cases Vocational Rehabilitation may be a useful tool or opportunity for an injured employee to be retrained or educated in a different area unfortunately in most cases the Vocational Rehab process becomes a means for the Claims Examiner to drastically reduce the amount of compensation the employee receives instead of actually retraining them or assisting them with finding suitable employment. At Lincoln Federal our Attorneys can assist and guide you through this process and will fight for your rights.
If your injury results in a permanent impairment you may be entitled to receive a Schedule Award. A Schedule Award is often defined as the Federal Governments' version of a settlement that compensates the injured employee for the permanent impairment of the upper or lower extremities caused by the work injury. The Schedule Award benefit is paid out for a specific number of weeks based on the schedules set by statute and regulations. Our Attorneys can assist with getting you connected with a Medical Provider that is qualified to provide you with an Impairment Rating in order for you to file for your Schedule Award.
Contact Lincoln Federal Law Firm, P.L.L.C., Nationwide Today
Getting the legal help you need is right at your fingertips. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We will discuss your case, explain your options, and help you determine your next best steps.