The first three parts in this blog series have addressed situations where defendants may terminate TTD benefits without first securing Industrial Commission approval; situations where Form 24 Applications need to be filed; and how to best prepare Form 24 Applications.
This fourth and final part of this blog series will provide a roundup of my best tips and strategies for preparing a successful Form 24 Application by addressing common pitfalls to identify and avoid:
(1) Failure to submit adequate information/documentation;
(2) Failure to respond to or refute information/assertions/documentation put forth by the injured employee; and
(3) Filing Form 24 Applications on improper grounds.
In order for the Industrial Commission to terminate or suspend TTD benefits, it must be presented with documentary evidence to support the grounds identified in the Form 24 Application.
Do your homework!
(1) If you are moving the Industrial Commission to suspend or terminate TTD benefits due to either a full-duty work release or a contention the injured employee has failed to return to suitable employment, you MUST have medical documentation of the injured employee’s work status.
(2) If you are moving the Industrial Commission to suspend TTD benefits due to unjustified refusal to return to suitable employment, you MUST have a job description, and you need to have it approved by the authorized treating physician, particularly if the injured employee is at pre-MMI status.
(3) Then, you MUST actually offer the job to the injured employee.
(4) If you are filing a Form 24 Application due to noncompliance, make sure you have FIRST secured an Order compelling the injured employee’s compliance from the Industrial Commission.
Anticipate the opposing argument!
(1) Determine why it is that the injured employee has not returned to work; complied with medical treatment; cooperated with vocational rehabilitation, etc.
(2) Go on the offense and attack the injured employee’s justification in your Form 24 Application.
(3) If you do not get this information until you receive the injured employee’s response to the Form 24 Application, file a Supplement with the Industrial Commission. Make sure to attack the basis during the informal hearing.
Make sure you are filing the Form 24 Application for an appropriate reason.
(1) The injured employee has been given an unrestricted, or “full duty” release to return to work;
(2) The injured employee has unjustifiably refused to return to work;
(3) The injured employee has returned to work, but is subsequently terminated due to misconduct;
(4) The injured employee has unjustifiably refused to cooperate with vocational rehabilitation;
(5) The injured employee has unjustifiably refused to comply with medical treatment;
(6) The injured employee has failed to return an executed Form 90 (Report of Earnings);
(7) The injured employee has demonstrated earning capacity based on vocational rehabilitation reports or surveillance;
(8) The injured employee is incarcerated.
An employer’s chances of prevailing on a Form 24 Application depend on the specific facts of each case. If you have claim-specific questions, please contact me directly at (919) 863-8846 or firstname.lastname@example.org.