An Overview of a Workers’ Compensation Vocational Assessment
During the workers’ compensation process it is important to understand that your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company is going to do everything in their power to pay you as little as possible.
The law affords insurance companies certain rights that allow them to potentially cap their loss exposure. This means that in most cases, insurance companies will be tirelessly working to find a reason to stop your workers’ compensation benefits.
Fortunately, a workers’ compensation attorney will be able to stand up for you and ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve and are entitled to.
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Where Vocational Assessments Come in For Workers’ Comp
Vocational evaluations are one of the primary workers’ comp delay tactics that insurance companies will use to try to cut off your benefits; their goal is to try to prove you have earning power, essentially that you are healthy enough to work. Initially, they will try to work with your previous employer to determine whether they can furnish you a position that accommodates your injury restrictions.
If this is unsuccessful, then the insurance company may request that you participate in a vocational assessment. It is also known as an Earning Power Assessment; the vocational assessment is a meeting with an expert who tries to find the injured worker a job, within their region that fits their skill set and injury limitations.
It is highly recommended that you have your work injury attorney attend any vocational assessment you are required to attend. Your attorney will ensure the questions you are asked are relevant and do not cross the line.
After the assessment is complete, the expert will generate a report listing jobs that are “available” and fit the injured worker’s criteria. Once the report is generated the insurance company will likely file a petition to suspend your benefits citing the available jobs. At this point, a workers’ compensation judge will hear the case.
Interviewing For New Jobs
If a job is found that fits your physical restrictions you are required to interview for the position—regardless of position or pay. When you attend the job interview, you must bring your “Physical Capability Evaluation” form and your medical records to give to the interviewer.
During the interview, it is critical that you note the exact specifications of the job and the physical demands of the position. It is advised that you record the interview and take a copy of the job description. Your physician will be able to go over these materials and determine whether you are capable of performing the job.
It is in your best interest to apply for every job listed that suits your restrictions.
It is also important that you maintain detailed information about each job you apply for and each interview you attend. If you do not apply to the jobs you are eligible for the insurance company has grounds to withdraw your case.
You should also be sure to speak with your workers’ compensation attorney to understand your rights during the interview process. Remember, the insurance carrier is not on your and wants to pay you as little as possible.
Things to Remember About Vocational Assessments
A workers’ compensation attorney can greatly help with the process. So, it is important to always consult with your attorney and have your attorney present during any and all meetings with a vocational counselor.
All discussions with your vocational counselor should be careful and calculated. You do not want to make careless claims that could be used to revoke your benefits. Any language used to suggest the injured worker is choosing not to work will be relayed to the insurance company, where they will use your words to show you are not cooperating.
Likewise, you should not make overly hopeful or optimistic statements to your vocational counselor. The vocational counselor will do everything in his or her power to coax words out of you, and it may feel natural to nod and agree, however, this is the last thing you should do.
It is important that you always speak the truth, but it is also important that the vocational counselor is not misleading you.
It is important to note that you should return to work as soon as you can. An individual in the job force will enjoy enhanced financial success and a better mental outlook. That being said, you should never put your health at risk, and you should always listen to your doctor’s plans and instructions.
Protect Your Benefits
Workers’ compensation law is technical and complex. The insurance carrier will try to use any potential loophole to take away your workers’ compensation benefits. It is very important that you have a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney on your side to even the playing field. Here, at Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo our knowledgeable attorneys will fight to ensure that your benefits are being protected. If you have any questions or need help, do not hesitate to contact us or call 877-299-0779.
It is also important to note that workers’ compensation law differs from state to state, if you were injured at work in the state of New Jersey do not hesitate to reach to our good friends Goldberg & Wolf.