If you get injured in a job-related incident in Michigan, you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you took a new job while receiving benefits, what would happen?
The answer to this complex question is likely determined on a case-by-case basis. Below, learn more about this issue and why you should consider speaking with a licensed attorney for assistance after a work injury.
At Jay Trucks and Associates, there is no cost or obligation for an initial consultation to find out how we may be able to help you.
What Are the Rules About Returning to Work?
It is important to understand your rights as an injured employee in Michigan. The general rule is that when you can do your job and receive the same pay as before your injury, your workers’ compensation benefits cease.
However, if you are unable to work at all – or can return, but with restrictions – you may still be eligible for partial disability benefits.
Sometimes an employer may offer you light-duty work, either in lieu of paying you disability benefits or as a means to ease you back into work sooner. Regardless of the reason, this offer must meet certain requirements under the law, including:
- The work offered must be within a reasonable distance from your home
- The position must meet your doctor’s restrictions for your current work capabilities
If your employer offers light-duty work, you must accept it if the position meets Michigan’s requirements for injured workers and also if it does not violate your doctor’s outlined restrictions. If you either ignore or refuse the offer, you are giving up your right to receive further benefits.
However, if an offer violates your physician’s restrictions or other state requirements, then your employer may simply be trying to pressure you to quit. Before making any decision, you should consider contacting a lawyer to help you to understand your rights under the law.
Why Take a New Job
Sometimes a work-related injury may make an employee consider taking another type of work. There are many good reasons an individual may consider this option.
Meets Physical Restrictions, Pays Same Salary
If you find a job that offers you the same salary you were making before your injury but also meets your current physical restrictions, it may benefit you, financially and physically, to consider it.
However, under Michigan’s workers’ compensation law, if you take a new job in this situation, which means quitting your current one, your wage loss benefits will stop.
Meets Physical Restrictions, Pays Less
If you take a job with restrictions that pays less than you made before your injury, you may still be eligible for some disability benefits. Partial disability benefits are likely to continue until you can work without restrictions.
Workers’ Comp Medical Benefits
It is important to note that your medical benefits continue, regardless of whether you switch jobs. Michigan’s workers’ compensation system covers all reasonable medical treatment you need because of your work-related injury. If your employer or workers’ comp insurance carrier refuses to pay your medical bills because you started a new job elsewhere, it is important that you seek legal help immediately. Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Grand Rapids are prepared to discuss further details about your rights and legal options in a free consultation.
Before Accepting a New Job
It may be financially appealing to take a new job that pays your previous salary while also allowing you to work without restrictions. However, it is good to be cautious about going back to work before you are ready. You do not want to start a job too soon and risk reinjuring yourself or possibly hurt your chances of making a full recovery.
On the other hand, if you can return to work, make the same salary as before and avoid increasing your risk of further physical harm, it may make financial sense to switch jobs. Remember, disability benefits do not reimburse you for your full salary when you are unable to work.
Additionally, employers are not legally required to either hold your job or offer you alternative work until you can return. By the time you are ready to go back, your job may no longer be available. Continuing to receive only the reduced wage benefit provided under workers’ compensation often leads to a difficult financial situation for many.
Call Today for Help With Your Workers’ Comp Claim
After meeting with one of our licensed attorneys for your free case review, there is no risk or obligation to hire our firm. However, if we validate your claim and you decide to hire us, there are also no fees while we work on your case. We do not get paid unless you receive compensation.
At Jay Trucks & Associates, our team of legal professionals has extensive knowledge of Michigan’s process for appealing denied claims, helping injured workers retain their current benefits or pursuing a new claim.
Contact our firm today. We are ready to work for you. (800) 762-8623