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Overpayments to Injured Auto Workers

Chicago Lawyers for Individuals Hurt On the Job

If you are an auto worker who has been injured on the job, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Benefits can include medical coverage, temporary or permanent disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation. These benefits are calculated in different ways. Sometimes errors occur and overpayments are made. The Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca can potentially help you if you have questions about overpayments to injured auto workers.

Overpayments to Injured Auto Workers

As an injured auto worker, you must provide notice to your employer within 45 days of being hurt on the job. Failure to do so can result in denial of a claim. You’ll need to be able to show that your medical condition was caused by your work. Benefits to which you may be entitled under the workers’ compensation system include medical treatment, disability, and vocational rehabilitation.

An employer may challenge whether medical treatment you seek as an injured auto worker is necessary, reasonable, or even related to your work injury. Your workers’ compensation claim may be accepted right away, and the employer’s insurer may start paying medical bills, even though it is still investigating. For example, an employer may make temporary or permanent disability benefit payments while still determining whether it has liability to do so. It may make payments based on an estimated average weekly wage prior to completing an analysis of your actual average weekly wage, or the rate at which temporary total disability or permanent partial disability should be paid. In some cases, payments are made, only for the insurer to later decide the loss wasn’t compensable; it could, for example, conduct surveillance and conclude that your injury was not a work injury, but was the result of a recreational activity. Or, an injured auto worker may get back to the workplace, but continue to receive benefits to which he is not entitled, because the insurer hasn’t been informed of the auto worker’s return to work.

An employer or the insurance company may allege overpayments in any situation where it has paid benefits beyond what it was legally obligated to pay. The employer or insurer is entitled to get credits for any overpayments. This means the auto manufacturer or other auto industry employer may not have to keep making payments until the overpayment has been recouped.

Contesting a Claim of Overpayment

If there is an overpayment, the insurance company may take their case to court in order to get repayment of the extra money, or to have a credit issued against any future benefits to which you may be entitled. If you wish to challenge an insurer’s claim of overpayment, an audit will need to be conducted. If there was in fact an overpayment, the future payments will be reduced or eliminated and credited towards the overpayment. Often, an administrative law judge will determine an amount you need to have deducted from payment checks until the future payments have been fully credited towards the overpayment.

There are also situations in which an auto worker may be asked to reimburse the money that was overpaid through personal funds. This can be risky, and it is wise to retain an attorney to try to get the overpayments addressed through credits rather than a direct payment of the amount that was overpaid.

Consult a Knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago

Overpayments are rare, but they do occur. If you have concerns about overpayments to injured auto workers in Chicago, we may be able to help. The seasoned lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca represent disabled people in Quincy, Rockford, Aurora, and Champaign, along with as Winnebago, Cook, Adams, Kane, and Sangamon Counties. We evaluate our work injury clients’ disabilities to figure out whether there are other forms of relief available in addition to workers’ compensation benefits, such as damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Contact us at 312-724-5846 or via our online form.