We frequently receive calls asking for help after injured workers receive a “Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits” or a NOID. Injured workers who were once receiving ongoing wage loss benefits are suddenly cut off. People may be in a tough economic position, after relying on this ongoing wage loss.
If you have received a Notice of Intent to Discontinue Benefits or a “NOID” then the work comp insurer is attempting to stop paying you benefits. Adjusters for insurance companies issue these for a variety of reasons, but frequently these are sent after the adjuster sends you to their doctor to do “an independent exam.” Injured workers learn too late that these doctors are not independent and instead are paid by the insurer.
Before cutting off wage loss benefits, the insurance company must issue a written notice of their intent do so. This notice must also be sent to the State of Minnesota. Failure to do so properly may result in the continuation of your wage loss benefits.
There is a limited time period for you to object to the insurance company’s attempt to stop paying you wage loss benefits, such as temporary total disability or temporary partial disability benefits. If you do not object right away, you may have to wait months before getting into court in front of a workers’ compensation judge. You should retain an attorney as soon as possible to assist with objection to the employer and insurer’s attempt to stop paying you. You do not need to automatically accept that your benefits will be terminated for the reasons set forth by the work comp insurer. Sometimes, this discontinuance is proper—you returned to work or your treating physician lifted all of your restrictions.
Properly objecting to will result in a scheduled conference for this issue, which will be held by a workers’ compensation judge at the Officer of Administrative Hearings. This hearing is known as a “.239 Conference” since the procedure for this conference is governed by Minnesota Statute § 176.239. In the interim, before the hearing in front of the judge, you will not receive wage loss benefits. This hearing is held a few weeks after your objection to the discontinuance is filed. The .239 hearings are currently being held by conference call. During these hearings you may testify, your attorney will argue on your behalf, and the adjuster or the defense attorney will argue their position.
The work comp judge normally issues their opinion very quickly, as they’re aware that people need to know whether they will or will not continue to receive ongoing benefits. Both parties then have an opportunity to appeal the decision. If a party appeals, then the matter will be set for a formal hearing. If the employee wins, then they will receive the back pay owed and continue to receive ongoing pay.
Employers and insurers may issue a NOID when they allege that you returned to work without a wage loss, or that your doctor determined you are at MMI (maximum medical improvement), or the doctor for the insurer and employer found you did not have a work injury or your injury was resolved, or they believe you are not diligently looking for alternative employment. These allegations may be fought with proper legal knowledge and an attorney may help you reestablish benefits. Experienced work comp attorneys recognize common mistakes that employers and insurers make when issuing NOIDs.
Contact the knowledgeable work comp attorneys at Schmidt Salita Law Team today for a free, no-obligation consultation if you have been issued a NOID and are afraid that your work comp benefits are going to be terminated.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team Offers Contingent Fee Arrangements
The firm offers contingent fee agreements (You don’t pay lawyers fees until you collect and then only as a percentage of the settlement). It also offers home and hospital visits to clients whose injuries present difficulty in coming to the office.
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The Schmidt Salita Law Team offers high quality legal services to the victims of car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle collisions, distracted driving, and pedestrian collisions. The firm serves clients in the entire Twin Cities Metropolitan area, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Anoka, Apple Valley, Blaine, Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Buffalo, Burnsville, Carver, Chanhassen, Chaska, Cottage Grove, Delano, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Edina, Elk River, Golden Valley, Lakeville, Mankato, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Medina, Minnetonka, Monticello, Mound, New Ulm, Oakdale, Orono, Ostego, Plymouth, Prior Lake, Richfield, Rockford, Roseville, Sartell, Savage, Sauk Rapids, Shakopee, Shorewood, South St. Paul, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Michael, St. Peter, Stillwater, Waconia, Waite Park, Wayzata, Woodbury and surrounding areas.