You have been injured on the job, and are now unable to work. With bills piling up, you need resources to keep your life intact. Fortunately, there is a safety net available to you in the form of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation System, where someone injured at work on the job can collect wage loss and medical benefits.
However, for some workers’ comp insurance carriers, it all comes down to the bottom line: they will struggle, using any means necessary, to deny you the benefits you are counting on, or attempt to stop or reduce benefits they have to pay. One tool carriers may us to reduce your right to benefits is a labor market survey – and only with an understanding of what you are up against, and assistance from qualified Pittsburgh workers’ compensation lawyers, can you be confident in your ability to collect the full benefits you are entitled to.
An Overview of Labor Market Surveys
So what exactly is a labor market survey, also known as an earning capacity assessment? The Workers’ Compensation Act states that the labor market survey/earning power assessment is determined by the work the employee is capable of performing based upon expert evidence which includes job listings with the Department of Labor and Industry, private job placement agencies and activity levels in the usual employment area.
Labor market surveys are conducted by “vocational experts” (sometimes also referred to as “vocational counselors”) certified by the state. A vocational expert, hired by the workers’ comp insurance carrier, will conduct a survey of open and available job positions that an injured worker could theoretically hold, given his or her vocational skill considering employees residual productive skill, education, age and work experience and medical limitations. The injured worker will also be interviewed by the vocational expert; it can be used as evidence to justify a reduction or cessation of workers’ comp benefits if it reveals open and available job positions that are deemed fit for the injured worker.
Problematically, under precedent from Pennsylvania courts, even if an injured worker applies for all the “available” positions revealed by the labor market survey and is not hired, his or her benefits can be suspended or modified. The labor market survey can still serve as an approximation of earning capacity, thus justifying a reduction of workers’ comp benefits.
An Attorney Can Ensure You Are Not Unfairly Denied Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp
Labor Market surveys are a powerful tool for workers’ comp insurance carriers, but they are not always successful in lowering benefits. Any interview conducted with you by a vocational expert should only occur with your attorney present; your attorney can help you fight for benefits even in the face of a labor market survey.
Continue to receive benefits you need and deserve during your recovery. Contact a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney today to counter labor market surveys and other threats to your benefits.