Can I Change Jobs While on Workers Compensation? | Read This to Find Out
At any given time, an employee can fall sick, or get injured while at work. When this happens, it is an inconvenience to both the injured workers and the employer. It is for this very reason that many employers choose to have an insurance company provide workers' compensation benefits for its employees.
Receiving workers' compensation benefits is not an ideal solution for many people, because most of the time the benefits are much less than their previous salary. This will put an added financial burden on the worker, especially if they were the breadwinner of their family.
Sitting at home all day and living off workers' compensation benefits might also be quite boring for people who had been used to going to work every day. It is for these reasons that many people choose to look for a new job while on workers' compensation benefits.
Finding a job, however, will raise the question "Can I change jobs while on workers' compensation benefits?" A dispute can occur between the worker and their employer. In such cases, it is advisable to seek experienced workers' comp lawyers in Columbus Ohio.
At Larrimer and Larrimer, we have helped many workers in that exact situation in and around Columbus, Ohio. Visit our office for a free consultation to discuss how workers' compensation benefits are affected by getting a new job.
What Is Meant by Workers Compensation?
Workers' compensation, which is also known as "workers comp," is a program that provides benefits to workers who are injured or fall sick on the job, or as a result of the job. Employers often engage a workers' compensation insurance company to provide financial cover in the event of such scenarios. If you are wondering how long you have to see a doctor after a work injury, it depends on what type of injury you have.
In general, workers comp benefits provide cash payouts, medical benefits, or a combination of the two to workers who qualify. With the help of a workers' compensation attorney, clients can receive enough benefits to allow them to continue providing for their families even while sick or injured.
To qualify for workers' comp, an individual must be a registered employee, the employer must be covered by a workers’ compensation insurance company, and the injury must be work-related.
Four Types of Workers’ Compensation Claims
Depending on the nature of the illness and/or injury, workers can claim the following kinds of workers' comp benefits:
Medical Treatment Only
Injured workers are given medical benefits for treatment and financial support but can continue with work. This usually happens in cases where the injuries are minor.
Medical Treatment With Lost Wages
An injured employee receives medical treatment but cannot immediately return to work, and, therefore, they receive two-thirds of their weekly wages, called wage replacement benefits, until such a time they can return to work full time
Medical Treatment and Injuries That Prevent Workers From Returning to Their Former Job
In some cases, the nature of the injury might mean the worker is no longer able to do their former job, for example, a construction worker who injures their back and can no longer do any heavy lifting.
The worker will be eligible for medical treatment, and two-thirds of weekly wages for not more than 400 weeks, during which time, the worker can perform other light-duty work.
Medical Treatment & Injuries That Prevent the Employee From Doing Any Type of Work
If the injury worsens, to the point that the employee will no longer be able to do any kind of generally available work, they will receive medical benefits plus unspecified financial compensation for an indefinite period.
Usually, the injuries need to be quite severe, for example, paralysis, amputation, or blindness, such that the employee might need to be assisted financially for a very long period, or even the rest of their lives.
Requirements for a Workers' Comp Claim
Before approval of the workers' compensation claim, and receiving workers' comp benefits, the following documents are required:
Accurately filled claim form
Any and all Medical bills
A statement form signed by the injured worker
All former compensation records
A medical certificate, in case of permanent disability
Duly signed Memorandum of agreement according to the Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923
Some Common Workplace Injuries
Employees that suffer the following injuries are eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits:
Slips, trips, and falls
Overexertion and muscle strains
Struck by workers, equipment, or falling object
Crashes or collisions
Exposure to harmful substances or environments.
Fire and explosions
Violence from other persons or animals
What if I Get a New Job?
Changing jobs is a common thing among employees for many reasons. Usually, getting a new job does not complicate things that much in one's life, because it is just a simple matter of resigning from the former employer and then taking up the new position.
However, when an employer is receiving workers' compensation benefits, they need to be careful when changing jobs as this might put them in a difficult position. Generally, one cannot continue to receive workers' compensation benefits from their former employer after they have taken up a new job elsewhere.
There are exceptions to these workers' compensation laws though, and in certain circumstances, with the help of a good workers comp lawyer, injured employees can still claim benefits even after they switch jobs. Here are some of those circumstances:
Partial Wage Loss Benefits
At times it might be difficult to find a job that is as well paying as the one a person had before getting injured. This is usually the case for people who get injured after working for many years for the same employer, thus they would have reached a much higher salary bracket than the industry standard.
However, their work-related injury will prevent them from being able to work at that same level, and so their earning potential will be severely affected. In such cases, a worker can take up light-duty work at another company, and any difference in salary will be covered by the former employer's insurance company.
Long Term Medical Care
The nature of some workplace injuries may result in the need for the worker to receive long-term medical care. These types of injuries might mean the worker is unable to continue working at their former job due to medical restrictions being imposed on them due to these injuries.
In such a case, after finding a new job, their former employer will still be liable to take care of the worker's medical bills for an indefinite period, until such a time the worker is deemed fit enough to resume normal duties.
Serious accidents may result in workers being paralyzed, blinded, or suffering other types of permanent disability. In such cases, the worker may decide that they want to take up another less demanding job more suited to their current condition and less physically taxing.
In many cases, such a job pays a lot less than their former position, and workers might no longer be able to afford medical expenses and maintain their former lifestyle. These workers are entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits for an indefinite, usually life-long, period.
Reasons for Getting a New Job
A lot of people who get injured at work are perfectly happy to stay at home while reaping the benefits of the state's workers' compensation system.
However, due to some of the following reasons, other people might find themselves needing to find new jobs while on workers' compensation.
As helpful as workers' compensation is for many injured employees, at times the partial wage loss benefit on its own is not enough to meet the financial needs of the worker and they are forced to find a new job.
Even with the two-thirds wage benefit, they will find it better to risk losing these benefits entirely if it means changing jobs will get them more money.
Many workers, who get injured after spending their entire adult life as working individuals, usually find the sudden lack of employment to be difficult to handle. Try as they might, the boredom will soon catch up to them, and they will find themselves looking for a new job.
Need to Maintain Career and Status
A person's career and accompanying social status are very important to many people who spend their lives working towards these achievements. Finding their career suddenly cut short due to injury is usually unacceptable, and they will choose to find a new job rather than let go of their dreams.
How Larrimer & Larrimer Can Help
Switching jobs while on workers' comp is not an unusual thing to do at all, and many people prefer that very option. However, because no one really expects to find themselves injured and living on benefits, few people know how to go about it the right way, without putting themselves in difficult situations.
A dedicated law firm such as Larrimer and Larrimer can help by offering a free case evaluation at our law offices in Columbus, Ohio. No workers' compensation case is too small or too difficult for us to handle thanks to our years of experience and impeccable attorney-client relationship.
Whether one just wishes to change jobs for personal reasons, or there has been a dispute with their former employer and workers' comp insurer, come to our law offices where we will discuss the merits of the claim during a free case review. We also help address other concerns such as if you can collect workers' compensation and social security at the same time.