You might be able to change jobs while collecting workers’ compensation benefits, but you should discuss a new job with your doctor and avoid taking a position that could interfere with your workers’ compensation claim.
If you are recovering from an injury you got at work, you might not be able to perform the same job. If you are collecting workers’ compensation benefits, you and your family might be having trouble making ends meet because your benefits are significantly less than your previous income.
You may be bored staying at home all day and want to find a new job to keep you occupied. You may want a position that is safer than your old one so that you will not have to worry about being injured again, or you may want to pursue your interest in a different field or turn a hobby into a new career.
Discuss Restrictions and Accommodations Before Changing Jobs
You might be able to continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits even if you make a career change and take a new job. Before accepting a different position, ask the new company for a detailed job description, and discuss the requirements with your doctor. Ask if you would have to adhere to any restrictions or request any accommodations to perform the job.
If you have not yet fully recovered from your injury, you do not want to take a position that you cannot perform and get hurt again. Going back to work before you are ready and taking a job that you cannot do could also complicate your workers’ compensation benefits.
If you accept a new position that an employee would have to be healthy and able-bodied to perform, the workers’ compensation insurance company may declare that you are no longer disabled and cut off your payments.
If your doctor gives you the green light to take the job, discuss any medical restrictions you have and accommodations you will need with the new employer before you begin working. Notify the workers’ compensation insurance company about the new job and provide information on what you will be doing, when you will start, and how much pay you will receive. Complete and return any paperwork that the insurance company requires promptly.
How a New Job Could Affect Your Benefits
The new position might pay significantly less than what you were earning at the job where you were injured. Depending on the state where you live, you could be eligible for a partial wage loss benefit.
If you change jobs while on workers’ compensation, you could still receive medical benefits for care related to your workplace injury, according to an article by the Houston Chronicle. The insurance company might require you to see an approved doctor a minimum number of times per year to continue receiving benefits.
If you find a new job in a different state, you may continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The laws in the state where you were injured will still apply, regardless of where you live and work.
If you are seeking a financial settlement from your employer, it may be to your advantage to remain an employee of that company until your case has been resolved. An attorney, should you choose to hire one, can discuss that with you and answer any questions you may have.
You May Be Able to Get a New Job with the Same Employer
The company where you got injured may offer you a different position on light duty. You may perform some of the same tasks that you used to do, as long as your doctor says you can do them safely, or you may be transferred to a different department and given a job performing tasks that are completely unrelated to the work you used to do. The company might offer you light duty work if available and if it wants to do so. However, an employer is not required to offer light duty to an employee who is collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
You Can Consult with an Attorney
The laws related to workers’ compensation are complicated, which vary significantly across states. These differences can make things confusing for people who are trying to navigate the system.
Discussing your case with a friend or family member who had a workplace injury in another state may leave you feeling even more confused. Someone who suffered an on-the-job injury similar to yours might have had different options and a different outcome because of differences in state laws. A misunderstanding about how things work where you live could have significant unintended consequences.
A workers’ compensation lawyer who has experience practicing in your state can explain its laws and provide you with information relevant to your circumstances. Make sure you don’t skip the step of seeking assistance and advice from expert workers’ compensation attorneys – in some circumstances, changing the job or getting a second job, or making money under the table might constitute workers’ compensation fraud. Avoid all legal issues by getting your case evaluated.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, has helped injured employees navigate their state’s workers’ compensation system and receive the benefits they deserve. We can provide information from the U.S. Department of Labor and help you work with your state’s workers’ compensation officials.
If you are interested in learning more about the legal recourse you may have in your case, call us today at (800) 603-4224 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. You can discuss the details of your situation with us and learn more about job changes that occur while collecting workers’ compensation benefits.