Regardless of the reason you want to leave your job, you may wonder if quitting will affect the workers’ compensation benefits you are currently receiving, or those you will receive in the future. You may also think that you simply have to stay put until your workers’ compensation case is closed. Fortunately, that is not usually the case. Below, one of our workers’ compensation lawyers in Missouri and Illinois explains the answer to can you quit your job while on workers’ comp?
Can You Quit Your Job While on Workers’ Comp?
Ideally, if you left your job while receiving workers’ compensation benefits, nothing would happen. This is because the accident that caused your injuries happened in the past and therefore has no bearing on your current employment or workers’ compensation benefits. Sadly, things can get tricky since there are instances in which leaving your current job may hinder your ability to get specific workers’ compensation payments.
If you receive weekly disability benefits for a work injury, quitting your job may impact your benefits. In some cases, a doctor would advise an injured worker to return to work with some restrictions to the amount of physical labor they perform. Is such cases, the there is a legal justification for ending weekly disability benefits if there is light duty labor available by employers.
However, not all employers can offer light duty work, particularly smaller businesses, and you may quit as a result. Bear in mind that an employer may argue there was light duty work available in order to restrict your benefits. Since you are receiving workers’ compensation, it is advisable to contact JSK before quitting your job.
Another instance when it is inadvisable to quit your job is when your injuries are so serious that you do not think you will be able to work again in the future. If you do not believe you can work again, you could file a claim for a total and permanent disability, the most valuable type of claim you can file in Illinois and Missouri. In this situation, your employer may argue they could have found work to accommodate your position. If you quit, the employer may use that argument to terminate your benefits.
How and When to Quit Your Job While Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you leave your employment, there are several benefits provided by workers’ compensation that shouldn’t be affected in any way. (This is especially true if you left your work in order to take advantage of a better job opportunity.) For instance, if you leave your work, it shouldn’t affect your medical treatment and the insurance company’s responsibility to cover medical costs. Additionally, leaving your employment shouldn’t have an impact on your workers’ compensation benefits if your injury is included in the schedule of injuries.
If you are currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits and are considering quitting your job, you should speak to an experienced attorney at JSK first. Whether quitting your current place of employment will affect the benefits you are currently receiving is a complicated issue. A lawyer at JSK will advise on how your benefits may be affected, and ensure your rights are protected so you receive the full workers’ comp you need and deserve.
How Your Employment Status May Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
You do have a legal right to quit your job any time you wish, but there are some common mistakes that could negatively impact your workers’ compensation case. Below are some tips to follow before you quit your current place of employment to help ensure you still receive the benefits you need.
- Wait: You should not quit your job until someone has already hired you. If you do not have another job lined up and your current employer does terminate your benefits, you will not have any way to pay your daily expenses.
- Reach MMI: MMI means ‘maximum medical improvement.’ Essentially, it means that while your injuries or condition will not get any worse, it also will not get any better. You should not quit your job before your doctor has confirmed that you have reached MMI. The only exception to this is if you have been offered a job that is better than your current employment.
- Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Illinois and Missouri: Regardless of your current situation, there is a very high probability that a lawyer has seen it before. An attorney can help you navigate the process and provide the advice that will protect your claim.
Medical Benefits Under Workers’ Compensation Go With You
One of the biggest benefits of workers’ compensation for injured workers is the coverage of all medical costs related to workplace injury. Workers’ compensation should cover any medical expense including surgery, hospitalization, emergency medical care, medication, occupational and vocational rehab, and assistive devices. Workers’ compensation can also provide coverage for lifetime treatment if you have become permanently disabled.
No matter where you work after being injured on the job, your employment status has no effect on your healthcare needs. Even if you quit your current place of employment, you still have the right to receive the workers’ compensation medical benefits that are so vital to your recovery. You sustained your injury or developed an occupational disease while with your former employer and so, they are still responsible for paying for any medical treatment you receive. Even when workers are forced to leave their job, it does not mean the employer or the insurance company is no longer liable for paying coverage.
Still, it is important to remember that just because you will not lose your medical benefits, you could place your case in jeopardy if you leave your current job. For this reason, it is often recommended that workers settle their workers’ compensation case before they quit their job, unless they have been offered a great opportunity that is unwise to pass up. Unfortunately, life does not always work this way. If you have found your current employment situation has become untenable, speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer in Illinois and Missouri at JSK who can advise on how to protect the benefits you need.
You should also never rush to settle your workers’ compensation case just because you want to quit your job. After you settle your case, you cannot apply again in the future to receive additional benefits. If you settle too soon, you may not receive the full benefits you are entitled to.
Your Employment Status and Workers’ Comp Wage Benefits
Medical expenses are just one main type of benefit available under the workers’ compensation laws in Missouri and Illinois. Disability benefits are another type paid to injured employees, which replace a portion of the employee’s lost wages while they are hurt and unable to work. In both Illinois and Missouri, you can receive a percent of your average weekly wage, although there is a maximum benefit cap. The weekly wage amount is determined by calculating the income earned, on average, for the four quarters prior to the time of injury.
The wage replacement benefits you may be eligible for are dependent on the type of workplace injury you sustained. The four types of benefits are as follows:
- Temporary total benefits (TTD)
- Temporary partial disability (TPD)
- Permanent partial disability (PPD)
- Permanent total disability (PTD)
As the above names imply, the benefits an employee is entitled to depend on the nature of the workplace injury sustained and the employee’s ability to go back to work.
TTD benefits provide coverage to employees until they are well enough to return to work in some capacity, even if on light duty. When an employee is placed on light duty and earns less than the weekly wage, they earned prior to the injury, they can typically continue to receive TTD benefits.
Injured employees can receive PTD and PPD benefits at the end of their case. PTD benefits are reserved for individuals who have sustained such serious work injuries that they do not believe that they will find any level of gainful employment. PPD benefits are based on the level of disability a worker suffers from.
It is presumed that temporary disability benefits will end once the employee goes back to work. In these situations, quitting your current job could make your situation very complex. Your employer may argue that they could accommodate your physical limitations and so, they have reason to terminate your benefits.
Consult with Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Illinois and Missouri Before Quitting Your Job
If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits and are considering quitting your job, do not take any action until you have spoken to an Illinois and Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer. At the Law Office of Jerome Salmi Kopis, LLC, our seasoned attorneys can advise on the details of your case and ensure that your rights are protected. Call us now at (618) 726-2222 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.