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When can workers' compensation benefits be suspended?

Being injured on the job can not only make for a bad day, but also for a bad month or months. For some, it could even spark the beginning of many bad years to come. Why? In addition to the pain and suffering these injured workers may go through, they also often face significant financial challenges. They may be unable to work and therefore suffer from lost wages, and the medical expenses incurred as part of their treatment and rehabilitation can be overwhelming. Although workers' compensation benefits may be available to these individuals, there are instances when benefits can be modified or ceased altogether.

One way that workers' compensation payments can stop is if an injured worker fails to submit to a medical examination necessary under the law. Cessation of benefits under these circumstances can begin without a court order. Once notice of the suspension is provided to the injured worker, then a hearing must be held within 21 days to reevaluate the claim. If the injured worker fails to show up to the hearing, then the suspension will continue until an administrative law judge decides whether the benefits should be forfeited altogether.

So what does this mean for Massachusetts residents who have suffered a workplace injury? It means that they need to be sure to go to all required medical appointments. If their benefits are suspended, and they are subjected to reevaluation, then they need to be prepared to present legal arguments as to why their benefits should be reinstated without modification.

This can be a challenging process, especially when it seems like the evidence is stacked against an individual. However, a strategy can be created to approach most cases. Those who want to learn more about how to create a legal strategy that best seeks to protect their workers' compensation benefits may wish to think about discussing the matter with a qualified attorney of their choosing.

Source: Massachusetts Department of Labor and Workforce Development, "452 CMR1.06: Modification or Discontinuance Of Compensation," accessed on May 5, 2017

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