Under certain circumstances, injured workers in Pennsylvania are required to submit to a vocational evaluation (a meeting with a vocational counselor). Until recently, the injured worker would usually then hear nothing . . . until a petition was filed by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to reduce the injured workers’ benefits based on a “Labor Market Survey” (Basically a listing of jobs said to be available to the injured worker). This “hiding” of the vocational evidence made it more difficult for the injured worker to fight the petition.
In June, 2007, new regulations were passed by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, requiring vocational counselors to provide a copy of their initial report, as well as any additional reports, including the Labor Market Survey, to the injured worker, and his or her attorney within certain time frames. This makes the battle to protect an injured worker’s benefits much more fair.
When a workers’ compensation insurance carrier requests the injured worker have a vocational meeting, this should be a clear signal to the injured worker that his or her benefits are in jeopardy. It is at this time, if not before, when an injured worker should seek a workers’ compensation attorney.