Have you just had an accident at work? Or, do you know someone who has? An accident can lead to debilitating injuries that prevent an employee from having a meaningful life — in and out of the workplace.
Workplace injuries can prevent a person from returning to work. As a result, the injured employee may have to live an existence with crutches or a wheelchair.
However, this does not need to happen to you or someone close to you. By seeking a qualified rehabilitation consultant (QRC), you can return to an optimum level of health and occupational functionality.
What is a QRC? And, do you really need one? To better answer these questions, let’s go over work restrictions and compensation.
What Is a WRC Work Comp?
Workers, following an accident in the workplace, are likely to sustain injuries in varying degrees of severity. For minor injuries, management and the employee can arrange compensation with little interruptions to work.
Major injuries can have a far more debilitating effect on employees. In this situation, the state of Minnesota has laws regarding resuming work and compensation.
Workers who have been severely injured are entitled to WRC work compensation. Work restriction compensation usually covers wages lost while on hiatus. Part of the coverage is medical coverage aimed at helping the injured employee return to work.
WRC work compensation is often part of an employer or business’s business liability insurance coverage. However, eligibility for worker’s compensation requires certain documents to be filled in by a physician.
In Minnesota, the physician must indicate in the report the extent of the injuries. From the information gathered, the physician can establish what an employee’s occupational limitations are. Following this, the physician will issue a letter. This letter is the work restrictions letter.
It states that the severely injured employee has received a comprehensive medical assessment. Invoking the findings of the assessment, the physician must also include a request for the employee’s restriction from coming to work temporarily.
Most workplaces in Minnesota require this document for the employee to receive work restrictions and worker’s compensation. On WRC work compensation, an employee is entitled to benefits and rehabilitative services.
These rehabilitative services are rendered by qualified rehabilitation consultants (QRCs) chosen by the employer’s business insurance company.
What Is a QRC? What Does a QRC Do?
A QRC is a professional approved and certified by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. QRCs work to help injured workers return to their employment — whether with their respective companies or other employers.
QRCs are professionals who work towards the restoration of occupational capability. For this reason, the services of a QRC are key for workers to resume work.
According to Minnesota labor laws, severely injured employees can use a QRC following a worker’s compensation claim. Often, the QRC is selected by the employer’s business liability insurance provider.
Nonetheless, the injured party also has the right to select his or her own QRC. If you are eligible for a QRC, you will be given 60 days to accept or reject the employer’s QRC.
A QRC restores an employees ability to perform his duties in the following ways:
Drafting a Vocational Rehabilitation Plan
A vocational rehabilitation plan outlines the steps to be taken for an injured employee to recover. A QRC tailors the plan to the employee’s specific needs. The vocational plan addresses recovery and occupational restoration.
During the planning stage, a QRC can work with the employee in determining occupational therapy needs. It is also during this stage when the QRC and employee can opt for ancillary medical services.
Monitoring The Progress of Rehabilitation
As the vocational rehab plan is being implemented, it is the QRC’s responsibility to determine its effectiveness. By monitoring progress, the QRC can augment the parts of the original vocational rehabilitation plan.
In some workplaces in Minnesota, QRCs also need to keep employers informed of an employee’s progress.
QRCs Can Help You Restore, Acquire, and Improve Job Skills
One of the responsibilities of a QRC is to help you restore your abilities to what they were before the accident. However, a QRC can also help you develop new skills.
He or she can do this by arranging additional occupational and vocational training. Learning new job skills can help you seek different positions with the same employer or elsewhere.
Act On Your Behalf To Negotiate Lighter Work
Your QRC can also help negotiate lighter work with your employer. Lighter workloads or schedules can allow you to continue working albeit at a reduced capacity.
Of course, negotiation will be difficult without giving the employer the extent of injuries. The QRC has documents that can prove your limitations and capabilities.
“Do I Need A QRC?”
Following injury and a worker’s compensation claim, the services of a QRC are instrumental to your return to the workforce. A QRC, as mentioned earlier, can help you take the first steps back to work.
Luckily, most worker’s compensation claims in Minnesota include access to QRCs. But, beware. Employers provide worker compensation as part of their business liability insurance. It is the insurance provider that provides everything included in the worker’s compensation benefit — including the QRC.
This is something you may want to consider. By working for an insurance company that serves your employer, your QRC may not be in your corner. He or she might protect the interests of the insurance company and:
- Downplay the nature of your injuries
- Work with cheap and ineffective rehabilitation services
- Ask the assessing physician to reduce your restrictions, forcing you to work despite your injuries
Hence, you should choose your own QRC. Doing this may not cost you anything additional in Minnesota. However, you will have to do this within 60 days of the approval of your compensation claim.
Not all QRCs that are privately selected act in the best interests of their clients, either. As soon as you sense a conflict between your interests and the QRC’s, call an occupational injury lawyer.
A QRC can be an indispensable ally in getting you or someone you know back to work. QRCs can plan your rehabilitation to restore your abilities to how they were. And, if this proves impossible, your QRC can help you learn other skills and seek other designations at work.
In short, if you have been injured, you need a QRC to get you back on your feet. However, not all QRCs will bat for you on your behalf.
If you or someone you know needs fair worker’s compensation and QRC access, call us at Osterbauer Law Firm!