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IME completed; What's next? Pennsylvania

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  • IME completed; What's next? Pennsylvania


    In PA; out of work with back pain ruptured discs, etc. after work injury. Comp doctor states permanent nerve damage (limp); took me off work; rx for PT.

    PT continues 3x/week; TTD continues. IME completed. I haven't heard results from IME yet.

    I'm hoping the PT and injections will allow me to return to my regular job (paramedic) and these questions would be moot.

    Wondering what happens next.

    What happens if doctors say I can't return "full-duty?"

    What happens if the doc says return "light duty" but the employer doesn't have any light duty?

    What happens if they say I can return full-duty; and when I return my mobility is slower or limited by my pain/limp and it adversely affects my job performance?

    Thank you, this forum is terrific.



  • #2
    Most of your answers depend on whether or not the IME finds you to be at maximum medical improvement(MMI).

    Once you reach MMI you are no longer eligible for TTD. If oyou can go back to work, you do so. If you are unable to, then you need to start looking into voc rehab.

    If you are not yet fully healed and are unable to return to work, or your employer does not have light duty, then you would continue with TTD.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


    • #3
      Vocational Rehab?

      Thanks ElleMD,

      I suppose I will hit MMI at some point.

      I'm concerned my employer may use this as a way to get rid of me, rather than allow me to return. As a senior employee with 30 years of service, they can hire two younger employees at virtually the same cost as myself. (I've seen this happen before.) Plus they get to keep $25,000 I have accrued in sick time if I'm gone.

      I wouldn't mind voc. rehab --just not sure how to "start over" and receive suffcient salary support at this point in my life. I might try teaching if I am unable or unwelcome to return.

      Does employer/WC assist with retraining, etc.?

      I already found it tough to live on 66.6% of my base salary while on TTD.

      I know this is all based on "what ifs" but I hate being unprepared for future variables.

      Also, I noticed, the PT/OT staff, the IME staff, etc. all ask me for my lawyer's name. They seem surprized that I don't have one. Is there anything a laywer can assist me with in this matter?




      • #4
        WC may help with job retraining or placement assistance if you are unable to return to your former job for a medical reason. It sounds like that is well down the line for you and a bit premature to worry about at this point.

        While it is always your right to hire a lawyer, it is not a given that you need one right away. I would never tell you not to seek legal advice but you do need to be aware what effect this has. If you are represented, you are asking that person, to be your spokesperson. This means that you will not be able to speak to the claims adjusters directly and the doctors will likely send the report to the lawyer first. As far as treatment goes, they will still deal directly with you, but as far as anything else goes, it will go through the lawyer. If you have a good relationship with your attorney, this may not be a huge deal.

        If nothing has been denied improperly and your treatment is running smoothly and you are receiving TTD, there honestly isn't much for an attorney to do for you. However, if you get to the settlement, PPD, voc rehab phase, my own opinion would be to get a lawyer at that point. How you settle a claim is very complex and any settlement you sign is legally binding. You do not want to do this without legal counsel to guide you through it.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.