Workplace accidents are uniquely distressing events. Your injury may put you “out of commission” for a while, and you may be worried about feeling safe when you return to work. Fortunately, workers’ compensation is available to any workers injured on the job. These benefits can be a great help for any recovering workers. However, all the rules and regulations regarding workers’ compensation can also be rather tricky to navigate. For instance, can you return to work while receiving workers’ compensation benefits? Can you get a second job while you heal? The wrong move can nullify your benefits. You may even get charged for fraud. Read on to find out more.
Depending on the state, you may or may not be able to choose your workers’ compensation doctor. If you must see your employer’s chosen doctor, then you must undergo a physical examination to determine your eligibility for workers’ compensation coverage. Even if you can pick your doctor, you must still confirm that they are qualified to diagnose and treat your specific type of injury. Depending on your injury, you may want to consider seeing a specialist. It is crucial to pick the right doctor, as he/she will determine when you will return to work and what restrictions you will have. Your doctor will also determine whether or not you have a permanent disability. All of these factors influence the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you will receive.
If you disagree with your doctor’s initial diagnosis, then you may want to consider getting a second opinion. You may even be able to change doctors if you disagree with your initial physician’s recommendations. In the state of Colorado, you are allowed 90 days from the date of injury to change doctors once. However, this only applies if you are yet to reach maximum medical improvement. Furthermore, you will only be able to switch to another provider on your employer’s designated list. You will also need the insurance company’s approval. Stick with the initial doctor and continue your treatment path until you are approved. Otherwise, you may run the risk of sabotaging your claim.
Once your condition has improved enough, your physician may allow you to return to work in a limited capacity (or on “light duty”). Most companies will also offer injured employees this option. Working on light duty entails taking on a smaller or more limited role until you can work at your full capacity (if possible). Once you begin working on light duty, the insurance company will reduce your workers’ compensation benefits accordingly. Generally, you can expect to qualify for two-thirds of the difference between your former rate and your current rate. You will continue receiving benefits until you can return to your previous role. However, if you have a permanent disability, then you may receive benefits indefinitely. If your company does not offer you any light-duty opportunities, then you may begin looking for a second job.
Many injured workers find it beneficial to work a second job while on workers’ compensation. The extra income can help cover any bills and expenses while you are earning a fraction of your original wages. However, you should not seek out a position too similar to your primary job. If you take on equally physically demanding work, then the insurance company may ask you why you cannot return to your original role. Look for less taxing positions instead, such as desk jobs. You should also remember to report any additional income to the insurance company while you are still receiving workers’ compensation.
If you were working two jobs at the time of your accident, then you may be eligible for double workers’ compensation. In other words, any injury that affects your performance at both jobs could lead to benefits related to both roles. The insurance company of the workplace where your injury occurred may owe you recovery for two-thirds of your average weekly wages in both positions.
You must report all of your earned income, even if you are working a job that pays under the table. The workers’ compensation claims process requires you to report any additional income. Failure to do so may make you guilty of workers’ compensation fraud. Intentionally withholding information from the insurance company has serious consequences, including fines, restitution, and even jail time.
You can commit workers’ compensation fraud intentionally or unwittingly. As we have already established, failure to report additional income is one means of committing workers’ compensation fraud. Filing for unemployment benefits while receiving workers’ compensation benefits is another, even if you have not been able to return to work. Navigating a workers’ compensation case can be tricky, especially without a full and comprehensive understanding of the law. Getting in touch with a respected workers’ compensation attorney can help.
Taking care of a workplace injury can be overwhelming, especially if it happened as a result of someone else’s negligence. You have to figure out how to take care of your medical expenses, get back to work, and pull your life back together. The whole process can leave you feeling spent and confused.
There are many options available to you in the case of a workplace accident. Workers’ compensation is just one of them. You need someone you can trust in your corner to plan the best course of action for you. We at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Our capable workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers treat every case and every client with the personalized care and attention they deserve.
Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. We believe you should never have to pay for somebody else’s mistakes. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our trusted nationwide workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve.