Pennsylvania Workers Compensation law includes some words and terms that many people have have never heard of, or may mean one thing that may not be entirely accurate when used in the workers compensation arena. Below are four words or phrases that an injured worker may come across in a hearing, when reading a Workers' Compensation Judge's decision, or if they do some internet searching about Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation law. These terms may also have a significant impact on your right to receive workers compensation benefits in Pennsylvania and you should always have your case evaluated before dealing with an insurance company alone..
Disability: Disability under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law is defined in relation to the injured employees’ “earning power” or wage loss. In other words, you can sustain and injury, and have an impairment, but unless you are not experiencing a "wage loss," you are not disabled under the definition of disability for workers' compensation purposes. This is important because sometimes your claim may be denied because you "are not disabled under the meaning of the Workers' Compensation Act."
Supersedeas: Supersedeas is the insurance company or employer's request to the Workers' Compensation Judge to allow them to stop or reduce the wage loss payments they are making to an injured worker. This request is included when a Petition to Modify, Suspend or Terminate Compensation Benefits is filed. After one of those petitions are filed there will be a hearing where the insurance company will present evidence to the judge requesting Supersedeas to be granted. This is a rather harsh remedy, but if the judge grants the Supersedeas request, only your wage loss benefits will be affected, not your medical benefits.
Compromise and Release Agreement: A Compromise and Release Agreement (also called a C&R Agreement) is the settlement document that contains the settlement terms between the injured worker and the insurance company or the employer. Once the parties have agreed on settlement terms including a dollar amount and if the medical benefits are also being stopped; the parties sign this agreement and have a hearing before a judge so the injured worker can testify to his/her understanding of the settlement and the legal consequences of entering into the settlement. After the judge approves the C&R, the insurance company then mails the settlement check to injured worker.
Final Receipt: A Final Receipt is a form the employer or insurance company may request that an injured worker complete acknowledging that the worker has fully and completely healed from the work injury and has returned to work without any ongoing wage loss.The signing of a Final Receipt is very significant because if can completely terminate your entitlement to wage loss and medical benefits. It is vital to discuss a Final Receipt with a workers' compensation attorney, before you complete and return the form.
When faced with a work injury it is vital that you discuss your claim with a workers' compensation attorney that can best represent your interests and educate you about the process. An informed client can then make intelligent decisions about their Pennsylvania workers' compensation claim.