Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits While On Vacation: Go On or No Go?
Let´s take a look at the vacation tips you need to follow if you are going on vacation while receiving workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania.
The bad news is you and your family have been planning a trip to your old stomping grounds for more than a year, when suddenly, two weeks before your vacation, you slip and fall at work or are involved in a ladder or scaffolding accident, injuring your clavicle and back. Your family, happy that you were not seriously injured, is disappointed that everyone will miss the homecoming festivities and all those friendly faces you have been waiting so long to see. Under certain conditions, the good news is that you don’t have to miss Grandma’s famous cherry pie or Uncle Billy’s bad jokes.
Tip 1: Coincidence?
Frequently, workers’ compensation cases that are opened a week or so before a planned vacation are “red-flagged” or given more attention by the insurers. Be sure to follow your treatment plan to the letter. Also, remember that most of the time, your vacation pay is deducted from your workers’ compensation benefits unless you have PTO (paid time off) or your vacation pay has an accrued value when not used. Several union employees may collect vacation pay while receiving workers’ compensation. To know to which group you pertain, it is best to contact an attorney.
Tip 2: Doctor’s Orders
Never miss or reschedule a physical therapy, mental health specialist, or doctor’s appointment. Workers’ compensation benefits were created to support a person’s treatment and recovery financially. You would think that changing one appointment would not make a difference, but if you are injured enough not to be at work, you need to make it to every one of the appointments set up to give you the most optimal recovery. An insurer reviewing your case may view your choice to miss these appointments to indicate that you do not need medical help. If your benefits are lost, getting them back will be an arduous endeavor. If this happens, contact a specialized attorney immediately to help you.
Tip 3: Social Media Blackout
Make sure your social media accounts are set to private or avoid posting anything altogether. Pictures of fun times can be misinterpreted. The most benign photo of you and Cousin Harry sitting by the pool can quickly turn into “party time” in an insurer’s opinion if there are alcoholic beverages at sight. You may not have had one sip the whole time you were on vacation, but that picture may be interpreted in many ways. Investigators are permitted to take video footage and photos of you in public places. They can talk to you, your relatives, and your friends. You need to contact an attorney right away if you are notified about a loss of benefits.
Tip 4: Follow Doctor’s Orders
Frequently insurers hire investigators to document your physical activity. As yours was a back/clavicle injury, any jarring motions would aggravate your pain. Although tempting as it may be, stay off the jet ski, the diving board, the hiking trails, and the trampoline. Technology allows anyone in the area to take a picture, diving into a pool, or dancing and singing karaoke. Pamper yourself as you would anyone in your family who had experienced a similar injury. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help in getting up, moving around, finding a chair/position that is comfortable. Give substantial evidence to prove that you are injured and following your treatment plan as you should. This goes for standing in line for long periods at the airport, moving and carrying heavy luggage, or driving long distances. You may want to be helpful, feel like less of a burden for those around you, but you could lose your benefits if an investigator snaps several photos of you going against your recovery plan.
Tip 5: When You Get Home
After a week out of town, that grass looks high, and the flower beds are full of weeds. What a mess! Under no circumstances are you to cut the grass or do yard work, even if you are beginning to feel better. Do not remove the suitcases from the car or grab the baby’s car seat. It would help if you relied on your family to do those things until you are fully recovered. It can be frustrating not to do everything you usually do but consider the situation a temporary bump in the road. How much more frustrating will it be if you no longer have the benefits you need to be back on your feet again? If that occurs, call an attorney who is on your side.
Contact our PA Workers’ Compensation Attorney for a free consultation
Vacations are a kind of medicine. In what has been a stressful period, they certainly can contribute to your recovery as long as you don’t disregard your doctor’s orders or miss necessary treatments and appointments. Being injured requires a reliance on the people around us, which can be uncomfortable times.
At Cohen & Riechelson’s, you can rely on us to provide you with excellent representation regarding your workers’ compensation benefits. We have served injured workers from Northeast Philadelphia & Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania, including Bensalem, Bristol, Buckingham, Croydon, Doylestown, and Northampton. Contact us online or call at (215) 337-4915 to schedule your free consultation. We are always here for you.