After you file for workers’ compensation, you may be thinking about returning to work. Depending on your situation, you might need to start job searching now even though your legal case has not been resolved. If you have lost your job or think you might, consider if it is time to begin your search.
- You Cannot Perform Your Old Job with Medical Restrictions
Start searching for a job if you cannot perform your old duties even with medical restrictions and changes to the job. Unfortunately, you may be let go by your employer because your ability to do the job has changed. Make sure you report your injury and give your employer doctor’s notes so that you can receive workers’ compensation benefits. You can receive wage loss benefits if you need time off to recover or if you get a new job with a lower wage because of your injury. But if you do not job search, the insurance company may try to cut off your benefits.
- You Are Working with a QRC
When you file for workers’ compensation, you have the right to request a rehabilitation consultation. If you request a rehabilitation consultation and are found eligible to get benefits, you will work with a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant to help you return to work. Your QRC will set up a rehabilitation plan that often takes several months to complete. The plan may including coaching, vocational testing, education, retraining, and more.
While you are completing the plan, you are expected to be job searching. Your QRC can help you identify job postings and prepare for completing applications. Ask for help with your job search and take the initiative to search for available jobs. Many rehabilitation plans end when injured workers get back to work.
- You Expect Retaliation for Reporting Your Injury
Unfortunately, not all employers want to help injured employees. Sometimes employers retaliate against employees for reporting an injury or asking for workers’ compensation. This can include obstructing from getting benefits, threatening to fire, or firing an employee. Retaliation is against the law, but it does still happen.
If you anticipate retaliation and cannot afford to lose your job, start looking for a new job now. Workers’ compensation wage loss benefits only pay you two-thirds of your weekly wage, fighting the retaliation may take a while, and there is no guarantee that your case will settle quickly. However, you should make sure that you are medically cleared to work before starting a new job. Don’t risk making the injury worse by going back too early.
Want help getting started with vocational rehabilitation? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.