If you’ve suffered a serious injury at work, then you probably don’t want to go back there for a while or possibly ever. The space won’t exactly feel comfortable anymore. Are you allowed to look for and start a new job if you’re getting workers’ compensation from your original employer?
Because all states have at-will employment rules, you can always quit or start a job whenever you’d like, regardless of your workers’ compensation status. However, being free to start a job is not the same as starting a new job in a way that doesn’t impact your workers’ comp benefits. Your benefits could change or end, depending on your new employment.
New Pay Could End Old Benefits
First things first, the medical treatment coverage owed to you through workers’ compensation can never change or be undone once it has been approved. You could find a new job in a completely different industry, and you should still have that coverage. Something that could change, though, is where you are treated. The insurance company could require you to continue seeing their doctor in a specific clinic, even if your new job is in the next town over.
In most cases, though, the workers’ compensation benefit that is most affected by getting a new job is wage replacement. If you are able to start a new job at the same or better pay than you were earning pre-injury at your last employer, then your wage replacement benefits could end. You might even get a reduced amount of wage replacement benefits if your new job pays less than your previous one but well enough to keep you financially afloat.
Although, the workers’ compensation insurance company can’t cancel your benefits for the following reasons:
- You got a new job.
- You are completing “light-duty” work that pays less than you earned pre-injury.
Can You Get Benefits & A Second Job?
Many people are tempted to get a second job while on workers’ compensation without quitting their current job. This can be a big problem, though. If you get a second job, then you have to report it to the workers’ compensation insurer, who can then reduce your wage replacement benefits accordingly. If you don’t, then you could be charged with committing insurance fraud, which will begin a whole new host of problems.
Should You Ever Start Working Again?
Before you start applying to a new job, you should probably question whether or not you even should. It might not be medically safe for you to return to work if your injuries are serious or debilitating. If you hurt yourself while trying to work without a doctor’s approval, then your future benefits could be jeopardized entirely.
Overall, before you start looking for a new job after getting hurt at your last one, it doesn’t hurt to talk with a workers’ compensation attorney about your options. They can help determine if you’re getting the most benefits that you are owed and whether there could be problems if you go job hunting too early.
For workers in the greater Chicago area, Leonard Law Group is the go-to law firm for all things workers’ compensation-related. See if we can help you with your case by dialing (312) 487-2513 or contacting us online now.