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The Complexities of Changing Jobs While Under Workers’ Compensation in NC

If you have been injured on the job as the result of an accident or occupational disease and cannot work, you may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits including disability payments and medical bills. However, if you are considering taking a new job while you have an open workers’ comp claim, you should discuss the matter with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney. A job change could affect your receipt of workers’ comp wage replacement benefits.

The Raleigh workers’ compensation attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. can review your claim and advise you of your rights when taking a new job while receiving workers’ comp benefits.

North Carolina workers’ compensation law is complex. Making the wrong decision can result in having to present your case to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which oversees the workers’ compensation insurance system. Two of our attorneys, Chip Younce and David E. Vtipil, are Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law in North Carolina. We can help you pursue all of the benefits you are legally entitled to by law.

To learn more about how we can help you seek the benefits you deserve, contact us today for a free claim review and advice about your legal options.

Does Working Endanger My Workers’ Comp Benefits?

The objective of providing workers’ compensation insurance is to support workers if they are injured on the job until they recover and are ready to return to work. There are two primary benefits under workers’ comp:

  • Medical benefits, which cover all medical costs associated with the covered workplace injury
  • Wage replacement benefits, which pay two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage while they cannot work

Your workers’ compensation medical benefits should not be affected by your employment or work status as long as you follow doctors’ orders for treatment and care.

Should I Take a Second Job While On Workers’ Compensation?

Because wage replacement benefits do not cover the employee’s full salary, an injured worker might consider obtaining part-time work to make up the difference. In other cases, an injured worker might seek a new job with the intention of resigning from their previous job.

There are many issues to consider when taking a job while on workers’ compensation:

  • You should not resume work unless the physician overseeing the treatment of your work-related injury has cleared you to perform the duties of the job you intend to take.
  • If the new job pays more than your old job, then the insurance company will discontinue your disability benefit. You must inform them of your new job as a failure to do so while getting disability benefits and wages from your new job could be considered fraud. If your new job pays less than what you made on average at your old job, then workers’ comp may owe you 2/3rd of the difference between your new job’s wages and your old job’s average weekly wage. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not do this voluntarily.

If you were to learn that you cannot perform your new job duties because of your injury, you might be able to resume your full wage replacement benefit. A lawyer could help you get your disability payments reinstated.

You May Be Able to Get a New Job with the Same Employer

An employer may offer a temporary light-duty position to an injured employee who is still recovering but can do some work.

If a new or light-duty job with your current employer pays less than your previous position, you could continue to receive wage replacement payments to make up the difference.

However, your employer is not obligated to keep a job open for you as you recover from a workplace injury. You can be laid off at any time. But if your doctor releases you to return to light-duty work while you still in medical treatment and your employer offers you a light-duty job, you must take it or give up additional workers’ compensation benefits.

Should I Wait Until I’m Fully Healed Before Changing Jobs?

When receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you should wait until the physician declares that you have fully recovered or have reached your maximum possible recovery before you take new employment. You should also talk to your lawyer before accepting any new employment

Before starting a new job, advise your new employer of any medical restrictions you have. If you expect to continue to receive wage replacement benefits, you should notify your old employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier about the new job, its duties, and how much you will be paid.

Do not conceal a prior disabling workplace injury or its impact on your ability to perform the duties of your job from a new employer

Contact Our Raleigh Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Help

Let the workers’ comp lawyers at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., advise you if you are considering a change in your employment or have other concerns while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp law can be complicated, and employers and insurers may try to use your change of employment as an opportunity to stop providing benefits.

An experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. can review your claim for free and advise you about your legal options. If you are due workers’ compensation benefits that you’re not receiving, we’ll use our knowledge of North Carolina law to help you pursue them. Call us or contact us online today.

About the Author

Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A.
At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., our clients work closely with a legal team that is dedicated to providing outstanding client service and unflinching legal representation. The majority of our attorneys and support staff have worked with our firm for many years.

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