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Workers’ Compensation Claims Process

Workers’ Compensation Claims Process for Postal Service Employees

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Workers’ Compensation Claims Process for Postal Service Employees

Being injured on the job can be a scary and traumatic experience. Those who are out of work due to an injury share the burden of figuring out how they’ll continue to make enough money to support themselves and their families. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the postal service workers’ compensation claims process so you know what to expect if you’re ever injured on the job. If you’re a postal worker, your worker’s compensation claims are governed by the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA), and your claims are handled by the FECA Claims Administration.

If you need help filing a FECA claim, Morgan & Morgan is here for you. We’ve been handling workers’ compensation claims for decades, and we will do everything we can to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve in a timely manner. There’s nothing worse than being owed something but being unsure about when you’ll receive it. Contact Morgan & Morgan for help. Set up a free case evaluation today and we can match you with an attorney who will guide you through this process.
 

Claims Process if You’re Injured on the Job

If you’re injured while employed as a postal worker, it’s important to know what the process for filing a claim entails, and what to expect. All FECA claims are processed and adjudicated by the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP). When you submit your claim, the initial decision will be made by the OWCP based on the evidence you submit, including the supporting documents that your treating physician completes.
 

How to File a Claim

In order to file postal service workers’ compensation claims, you need to complete one of the following two forms: CA-1, "Federal Employee's Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation" or form CA-2 "Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation." The form you fill out depends on whether you’ve suffered a traumatic injury or an occupational disease. A traumatic injury is defined as one that can be specifically shown to have occurred during work—for example, falling down the steps. An occupational disease is defined as a medical condition that you developed as a result of work activities performed over more than one shift—for example, a torn rotator cuff from repetitive motions.
 

Continuation of Pay

For the first 45 days that you are disabled, you will receive Continuation Of Pay (COP) directly from your employer, not the OWCP. COP is subject to taxes and is viewed as wages, not workers’ compensation benefits.
 

File Form CA-7 For Compensation

If you receive continuation of pay but need to claim further compensation because you still aren’t ready to return to work, you’ll need to file form CA-7 for your period of disability that is not covered by continuation of pay. Form CA-7 alerts the Department of Labor that you are not receiving any income and it will initiate wage loss payments when it is submitted properly.
 

If You’re Not Satisfied With the Decision

Postal service workers’ compensation claims can be appealed. If the OWCP makes a decision that you are unhappy with, you are permitted to appeal their decision in several ways. When you receive the denial, they will include a description of the ways in which you can file an appeal. Appeals can often take a very long time, even up to a year. If you decide to appeal your decision, it’s definitely a good idea to hire a lawyer who can help you with this process. The following are the four ways in which you can appeal the decision:

1.     Oral Hearing. If you disagree with the decision made, you can request an appeal and have the decision reviewed by the Branch of Hearings and Review in Washington, D.C. You have 30 days from the date that the decision was mailed to make this request. You can also request that the hearing be conducted via telephone so you don’t have to worry about traveling to the hearing. This is especially helpful if you’ve suffered a severe injury and are having difficulty getting around. 

If you end up doing a hearing via telephone, a hearing officer will call you and conduct the oral hearing over the phone. A stenographer will transcribe the hearing. If necessary, the hearing officer should permit you to submit additional evidence once the hearing is over. Hearings can take anywhere from eight to ten months to be scheduled. After the hearing concludes, it can take another three months for you to get a decision.

2.     Review of the Written Record. You have thirty days from the date that the decision was mailed to request a review of the written record. In this situation, a hearing representative will review your case without any further testimony or evidence being presented. Additionally, you do not have to attend any type of hearing in this case.
 
3.     Reconsideration. You have one year from the date that the decision was mailed to request a reconsideration of your postal service workers’ compensation claims. In order for your claim to be reconsidered, you must submit new evidence or a new legal theory detailing why you should receive reconsideration.

4.     Appeal to the Employees Compensation Appeals Board. You have 6 months from the date of the decision to request an appeal to the Employees Compensation Appeals Board. You can choose an in-person oral argument, or you can file a written argument. You do not need to include any new evidence for this type of appeal.
 
The type of appeal you choose will depend on your case. Why was it denied? Do you need more evidence? Do you have more evidence? An experienced lawyer can help you determine which appeal is best for your particular case.
 

Time Limit for Claims

Postal service workers’ compensation claims submitted under FECA for death or disability benefits must be made within three years from the date of the injury or death. If you are injured but the injury doesn’t present itself until much later, the three year time limit doesn’t begin until you become aware, or reasonably should be aware, that the disability you suffered was caused by your employment.
 
If you are injured at any time while employed as a postal worker, you should make sure that you notify your employer of your injury immediately. If you fail to file your claim within 3 years of the date of your injury, it isn’t necessarily too late in some circumstances. If your notified your employer of your injury within 30 days of the date that you were injured, or if your employer had actual knowledge of your injury within 30 days of its occurrence, you can still file your claim and possibly recover compensation.
 
If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not you can file a claim, you should go ahead and file it. You should also contact a lawyer who can help you handle this claim, especially if you think you’re past the deadline.

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FAQ

Morgan & Morgan

  • As a Postal Worker, What Can I Expect FECA to Help Me With?

    1.     Prompt Adjudication. If you’ve been injured while on the job, you deserve to have your issues handled quickly and properly. FECA claims to do both. If you’ve suffered a traumatic injury, you can expect a decision on your postal service workers’ compensation claims within 45 days after FECA receives your claim, unless the case is particularly complex.
     
    For simple cases involving occupational illness, you should receive a decision within 90 days once they receive your claim. If you have a more complex occupational illness case, you should expect a response within 6 months. Finally, for the most complex cases, a decision should be rendered no later than 10 months after they receive your claim.
     
    2.     Quick Payment of Medical Bills. You should receive payment for medical bills within 28 days. Sometimes this is submitted directly by the provider or is processed as a reimbursement. If for some reason the bill is not payable, you will receive an explanation of benefits detailing the reason for non-payment.
     
    3.     Prompt Compensation. If you were injured on the job and lost wages as a result, you should expect prompt payment of compensation from the FECA Claims Administration.  As long as you provide medical evidence that supports your claim, and your claim is accepted, compensation payments are generally paid out within 14 days of when you submit your claim to the district office.
     
    4.     Help Returning to Work. When you’re injured on the job, FECA has made special arrangements so postal workers have the right to reclaim their jobs within one year of when you first began losing wages due to your injury. The FECA Claims Administration states that they will assist you in getting back to work. They will help you in the following ways:

    •        Assign a registered nurse if you are unable to return to work shortly after the injury. The nurse will make sure you are receiving appropriate medical care and will assist you in returning to work.
    •        Help you get a second opinion set up for your injuries if necessary
    •        Refer you to vocational rehabilitation if you’re unable to return to the same agency or the same position

    While we at Morgan & Morgan always want our clients to receive their benefits as quickly as possible, we realize that this isn’t always possible. It’s always important to speak with an attorney regarding your postal service workers’ compensation claims so the process is handled properly. We are always available to help.

  • Can I Use My Own Doctor for Injuries I’ve Suffered on the Job?

    It depends. You can try. However, the OWCP is permitted to order you to submit a medical examination from a doctor that has contracted with the federal government. If they tell you this, you should do it or you risk not getting the compensation you’re legally entitled to. In any case where you have to file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits, it’s wise to contact an attorney first so they can make sure you’re handling the process correctly. Hiring an experienced attorney could be the difference between receiving compensation or receiving nothing. This is not always a simple situation that you want to try and handle on your own.

  • What if by the Time I Realize I’m Injured, the Place  I  Work for Is No Longer in Business?

    If you didn’t realize you were injured until much later than the injury took place, and the company or business you worked for is no longer operating, you should contact the OWCP district office. In this case, it’s imperative to contact an experienced law firm who can represent your interests and help you to receive the compensation you deserve. Just because the place that you worked for is no longer operating doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to benefits for an injury you sustained while on the job.

  • Morgan & Morgan Will Help You Get What You Deserve

    When you’re injured at work, you’re often entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The process for federal employees, like postal workers, can be complicated. Morgan & Morgan can help you recover the damages you are entitled to. We have lawyers all across the United States who have recovered more than ten billion dollars in compensation for our clients. When you hire Morgan & Morgan, you never pay any legal fees until we successfully handle your case and you are awarded compensation. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us so we can assist you with your postal service workers’ compensation claims. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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