Another title to address the content of this article could be “Can I keep my work comp claim open while finding a new job?” This is a rather common question we face in the course of providing representation to our clients in workers compensation claims. More often than not, the answer is “Yes.” You can certainly find another job and maintain your eligibility for workers compensation benefits. We strongly encourage you to contact our office for a free consultation to discuss the best way to go about changing jobs BEFORE you make the decision to change jobs. A free consultation can take place through you calling (727) 853-6275 or visiting our website at www.dolmanlaw.com.
Can obtaining a new job compromise, or otherwise, hurt you claim for benefits? More often than not, the answer is “No.” Your entitlement to workers compensation benefits is more directly tied to whether you sustained a work related injury or condition. Not whether you currently work elsewhere else after the occupational accident. Again, we strongly encourage you to contact our office to discuss changing employers BEFORE you make take steps to do so.
Problems could arise if the doctor you’re currently authorized to treat with through workers comp placed you on a no work status. If you choose to work for another employer, despite the authorized physician’s opinion that you are not to be working in any capacity, you could be deemed medically non-compliant. Being deemed medically non–compliant is not likely to be sufficient grounds to justify a loss of all your work comp benefits. However, doing the opposite of what an authorized treating doctor has advised, workers comp or not, is generally not the best course of action. Your conduct that is in conflict with what your workers comp doctor told you to do arguably increases the cost of the claim for the workers compensation carrier. Because you are not following the medical advice provided for the purpose of ensuring a quick and efficient recovery, the carrier will argue that your conduct is causing a worsening of your condition. Taken to the extremes, the carrier may attempt to argue that they are not responsible for the worsening of your injury. If the major contributing cause of your injury is no longer your work accident because of the medically non–compliant conduct, you could lose eligibility for benefits. Such an outcome is not likely, but in an abundance of caution, we’re providing a worst case scenario. The easiest thing is to simply have a free consultation with our office. You can contact us through our website at www.dolmanlaw.com. Whether we undertake representation or not, we’re happy to answer your questions.
Most people don’t go out and seek jobs with physical demands that are in excess of those given by their physician. If you obtain new employment and are receiving income, the workers compensation benefit you would not be entitled to is lost wages. If earning money through another employer, you would not have “lost wage,” and would not have the grounds to make such a claim.
What if I’m earning more money at my new job, but have to be out of work for treatment related to the injury I sustained with a different employer? If you change jobs and are earning more at the new job, but must be out of work due to surgery, or some other type of treatment, related to your work injury, the rate at which you are paid lost wages reverts back to the amount you were making at the job wherein you sustained your work injury. Even if you are earning more money at your new job, you will not be paid an increased amount of lost wages as a result.
Simply put, employment elsewhere does not mean you lose your eligibility for workers compensation benefits. There are times when our clients not only change jobs, but change the state they were living when we first undertook representation. Regardless of whether you change jobs, or change your state of residence, the workers compensation carrier has a duty to provide you with workers compensation benefits.
We recognize that everyone’s workers compensation claim is different. Though most claims will involve application of the same Florida Workers Compensation laws, each claim is as unique as the individual we’re representing. The differences are found in the type and severity of the injury sustained, its impact on the individual, and how much the work injury limits their overall functional capacity. Contact our office at (727) 853-6275 to discuss your specific injury and what options are available to you, or please visit our website at www.dolmanlaw.com.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652