Can I Get a New Job While on Workers’ Comp?

Can I Get a New Job While on Workers' Comp?

If you suffered an injury on the job recently, you may collect workers’ comp. Workers’ compensation benefits provide funds for injured workers’ medical expenses and partial income as they recover.

While workers’ compensation benefits are vital for many injured employees, what happens if you want to change jobs while on workers’ comp? This is an important question, and this article has the answers. Contact an experienced Anderson workers’ compensation attorney for case-specific answers if you still have questions.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is medical care, and employers provide partial income to employees with a job-related illness or injury. Workers’ comp provides certain benefits if they have a job-related injury.

These benefits pay for reasonable medical expenses and partial income as you recover. That way, you can still support your family during the recovery process. You also are ensured of receiving medically necessary treatments at no charge.

One of the benefits of workers’ compensation is that you are not required to prove fault to receive benefits. You can receive workers’ comp if the injury occurred at or during your employment. This phrase means the injury can still be covered under workers’ comp even if it didn’t occur on company property.

Workers' Compensation

For example, suppose you are in a car accident and break your arm when driving to a work-related conference. Workers’ comp will typically cover this injury.

But if you were in the same accident on the way home from work, it probably will not be covered unless you were engaged in work at the time. Another example can be attending a work-related conference at an out-of-town hotel. Workers’ compensation should cover injuries sustained in the escalator at a work-related event.

Workers’ compensation does have limits. For example, workers’ comp doesn’t cover pain and suffering related to your injury. It only pays for medical expenses and partial income. You cannot file a lawsuit against your employer if you take workers’ compensation. However, a third-party liability claim is possible if a third party, such as an equipment manufacturer, contributed to your injury.

Receiving worker’s comp benefits is possible if you are an employee of your company. But if you are a contractor, you generally do not qualify. You do not qualify for benefits as a volunteer, seasonal, or agricultural worker.

Some employers may deliberately misclassify workers as contractors when they are employees so they don’t have to pay for workers’ compensation. If you think that is happening to you, speak to a workers’ compensation attorney immediately.

Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

When an injury occurs at work and a worker files for worker’s comp, they should receive compensation for all medical expenses.

These include:

  • Physician visits
  • Medical tests
  • Hospital stays
  • Prescription medications
  • Wheelchairs, crutches, and other medical equipment
  • Physical therapy

Worker’s compensation should cover any costs you incur for medical treatments related to your injuries until you have recovered and can return to work.

Generally, you can choose your doctor for treatments, but this can vary by state. You may need an insurance company doctor to see you to qualify for benefits. If you see a doctor, ensure they are within your insurance plan network, or your insurance may not pay for the treatments.

If your injuries affect your ability to work, you can receive various disability benefits. Which you get depends on the type and severity of the injuries:

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

Many injured employees may qualify for TTD for a certain time as they recover. In many states, you cannot return to work for at least a week before getting TTD. If you are out of work for a few weeks, you may receive payment for the first days you are away. But this rule varies by state, so check your state laws or ask your attorney.

Generally, TTD is two-thirds of your average weekly earnings before your injury, up to a weekly cap. Many states don’t allow you to receive temporary total disability beyond 300 or 400 weeks unless it is a catastrophic injury.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)

Some injured employees can keep working but in a less strenuous role after the injury. Or, you may work part-time hours. If that is the case, you may get TPD benefits.

Generally, the insurance pays two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly earnings before the injury and the average weekly income you can earn now. This benefit cannot exceed a maximum amount that varies by state.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

If you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and still cannot work, the insurer may offer permanent total disability. If the doctor decides you are permanently disabled, you will probably get PTD.

PTD benefits are typically paid the same weekly amount as TTD but for the rest of your life. Sometimes, you can receive a lump sum settlement to cover future benefit payments. Only people with the worst injuries, such as loss of multiple limbs or blindness, usually receive permanent total disability.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

PPD benefits are paid to you at the same amount as TTD for a certain period. How long you get PPD depends on several factors, such as the body part affected, the percentage of disability affecting that body part, and the number of weeks your state allows benefits for that part of the body.

Also, your work injury may preclude you from returning to your previous position. If so, workers’ comp may provide vocational rehabilitation so you can get another job. Rehabilitation benefits are supposed to aid you stay employed through all the training you need to return to work.

Types of Injuries That May Qualify For Workers’ Compensation

Assuming that you are an employee and the injury occurred at or during employment, you should qualify for workers’ comp benefits.

Some of the most common injuries that trigger workers’ comp benefits are:

  • Spinal cord and spine injuries
  • Neck and back injuries, such as herniated discs
  • Joint and shoulder injuries, such as a torn rotator cuff
  • Traumatic brain injuries and concussions
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Burn injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Paralysis
  • Nerve damage
  • Amputation
  • Injuries that need surgery
  • Reflex sympathy disorder

You may be eligible for workers’ comp if you have any of these or related injuries. But what if you are receiving benefits and want to change jobs?

Changing Jobs While on Workers’ Comp

Suppose you have qualified for workers’ compensation benefits after being injured at work. But you see another job that appeals to you advertised online. It may be possible to switch jobs while you collect workers’ comp benefits.Workers' Compensation Benefits

Many reasons injured parties may want to get a new job while getting benefits. If you are currently recovering from a job-related injury, you cannot do the job you did before. If you receive benefits, meeting your financial obligations might be difficult because your benefits are less than your full salary.

You may also be bored not working and sitting at home, or you may want to look at jobs that are not as risky as before.

You may want to find another job as you collect benefits. But you should ensure that any new job does not involve tasks you cannot do with your injury. Before taking a new job, talk with your doctor.

A lawyer can explain if the new job will affect your ability to collect benefits.

Adding a Second Job While on Workers’ Compensation

Another common scenario when someone is on workers’ comp is taking a second job to compensate for the lowered salary or income. Note that the income earned will likely factor into your workers’ comp benefits if you have a second job.

If the second job pays as much as your main job, you may no longer qualify for workers’ comp.

Make sure you promptly report your second job earnings to your employer. If you don’t, it may be workers’ compensation fraud, which has serious civil and criminal consequences.

Whether you should take on a part-time job while on workers’ comp depends on the case specifics; it largely depends on the type of work.

If you hurt your shoulder lifting inventory in the warehouse, you cannot take a similar part-time job while getting worker’s comp. But lifting isn’t required for a part-time position as a Walmart cashier, so you can likely take that job.

Talk About the New Job With Your Doctor

You can continue receiving benefits when you change and get a new job. But before you take on a new role, you should ask the company for a full job description. You need to discuss the detailed job requirements with your physician. Ask if you must obey any restrictions or request accommodations in the new job.New Job With Your Doctor

If you haven’t fully recovered yet from your job-related injury, you should not take a new job that will aggravate your injury. Returning to work before fully recovering may complicate your workers’ comp benefits.

For instance, if you take a job that must be completely healthy to perform, the insurance company may say you aren’t disabled. Then, you may lose your benefits.

If your physician approves of taking the job, talk to the employer about your current medical restrictions and accommodations required.

Also, talk to the insurance company about your new position and inform them about your role. You should also tell the insurance company when you will start and your pay.

How Your New Job Could Affect Workers’ Comp Benefits

There are several ways that your new job might affect your benefits. For example, the new job may pay less than what you made at your last job. Depending on where you live, you might receive a partial income loss benefit when you take the new job.

If you switch jobs while receiving benefits, you may still get medical benefits related to your injury. However, the insurance provider may mandate that you see a company doctor a certain number of times per year as a condition for receiving future medical benefits.

If you get a new job in another state, you may still receive workers’ comp. The laws in the state where you suffered an injury apply, no matter where you work or live now. However, if you want a financial settlement from your current company, it may be best to stay there until the case concludes.

Getting A New Job With The Same Company

The company where the injury happened may offer you a position with lighter duties. You can do much of the same work you did in your old position if your doctor says you can perform them safely.

Alternatively, your employer might move you to a different department and assign work unrelated to what you did before. Your firm can offer light-duty work if it is available, but it is not required to do so.

Discuss your options with your employer and consider your doctor’s advice to make an informed decision about the most suitable course of action for your recovery and well-being.

Contact a Workers’ Comp Attorney Today

Anderson Workers Compensation Attorney
Nathan Maudlin, Anderson Workers Compensation Attorney

If you are collecting workers’ comp and thinking about changing jobs, you can always talk to a workers’ comp attorney at no cost. Laws related to workers’ compensation benefits are complicated and vary significantly by state.

The law differences can be challenging for injured parties attempting to navigate the complex system.

A workers’ compensation attorney experienced with claims like yours in the state can discuss the laws and explain how a job change may affect your benefits.

Remember, you do not generally have to pay legal fees out of pocket for a workers’ comp attorney. The attorney receives payment from whatever settlement they obtain for you. Contact a workers’ compensation attorney in your area today for more information.

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