Burden of Proof On A Reinstatement Of Suspended Workers' Compensation Benefits

A claimant seeking a reinstatement of suspended workers' compensation benefits must prove that his or her disability is once again adversely affected by their disability, and that such disability is a continuation of that which arose from their original claim. A reinstatement petition may be prompted by a number of circumstances-such as a light duty job ending. The claimant need not re-prove that the disability resulted from a work-related injury during their original employment.

Once the claimant meets this burden, the burden then shifts to the party opposing the reinstatement petition. In order to prevail, the opposing party must show that the claimant's loss in earnings is not caused by the disability arising from the work-related injury. This burden may be met by showing that the claimant's loss of earnings is caused by the claimant's bad faith rejection of available work within the relevant required medical restrictions. For example a WCJ finds claimant can do light duty and the employer offers a light duty job but claimant chose not to try the job because it wasn't their usual type of work, or didn't pay what they had previously earned.

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