Many times, a workers' compensation insurance company will deny an injured worker benefits. It may be weekly TTD payments, or denial of medical care or refusal to timely pay a settlement or award. Sometimes, the insurance company has a basis for this refusal and a good faith dispute over benefits. However, other times they deny benefits with no basis. The good news is that the Workers' Compensation Act provides for penalties against insurance companies who wrongfully withhold benefits. The Workers Compensation Act provides as follows:
19 (k) In case where there has been any unreasonable or vexatious delay of payment or intentional underpayment of compensation, or proceedings have been instituted or carried on by the one liable to pay the compensation, which do not present a real controversy, but are merely frivolous or for delay, then the Commission may award compensation additional to that otherwise payable under this Act equal to 50% of the amount payable at the time of such award. Failure to pay compensation in accordance with the provisions of Section 8, paragraph (b) of this Act, shall be considered unreasonable delay.
19(l) If the employee has made written demand for payment of benefits under Section 8(a) or Section 8(b), the employer shall have 14 days after receipt of the demand to set forth in writing the reason for the delay. In the case of demand for payment of medical benefits under Section 8(a), the time for the employer to respond shall not commence until the expiration of the allotted 60 days specified under Section 8.2(d). In case the employer or his or her insurance carrier shall without good and just cause fail, neglect, refuse, or unreasonably delay the payment of benefits under Section 8(a) or Section 8(b), the Arbitrator or the Commission shall allow to the employee additional compensation in the sum of $30 per day for each day that the benefits under Section 8(a) or Section 8(b) have been so withheld or refused, not to exceed $10,000. A delay in payment of 14 days or more shall create a rebuttable presumption of unreasonable delay.
If workers' compensation insurance has wrongfully denied you benefits, we may be able to obtain penalties as well as attorney fees. To speak to a lawyer at McCready, Garcia & Leet for a free consultation, feel free to call us at (773) 779-9885.