With an "Award" in hand, many disabled works in Virginia believe that they have a "lifetime" guarnatee. Unfortunately, the law makes it relatively easy and painless for employers,. insurance companies and their lawyers to terminate an injured workers’ compensation benefits. In Virginia, the employer and insurance company can stop weekly checks merely by filing an Affidavit, which if true, would be the basis for stopping workers compensation benefits. Then the issue goes to an evidentiary hearing before a Deputy Commissioner, which can take a long time. In Maryland, after an evaluation set up by the employer’s insurer, the insurance company can terminate a claimant’s temporary total disability payments by sending a letter to the claimant. That is all they need to do. It is then up to the disabled maryland worker to request a hearing, wait 8-12 weeks, and then hope to get his disability pay check reinstituted. The Maryland Association for Justice is looking into a provision that would only allow the Commission to terminate benefits after a hearing is held.
According to my friend Bob Rush of Rush & Nicholson in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, their state has a 30 day notice provision before benefits can be terminated. However, if later proven to be terminated without good reason, the Iowa workers compensation commission can assess up to 50% penalty of what should have been paid but was not. Other states have similar penalty provisions to keep the insurance companies "honest." Virginia and Maryland Workers Compensation lawyer Doug Landau thinks there should be a penalty for insurance companies when they cut off an injured worker without good reason. It would cause insurers, employers and their lawyers to think twice before cutting a disabled employee off from their workers compensation benefits, especially as the compensation carriers can afford to do so with almost no impact, whereas the loss of several week’s income can prove devastating to an injured worker and their family. If you or someone you know or care for has been injured on the job and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.