What Happens if I Resign While on Workers' Compensation?
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, you may be unable to return to work – now, or possibly ever. Perhaps you’re receiving workers’ compensation benefits, but you worry that you will never again be physically capable of performing your particular job. Perhaps you feel that your employer resents your claim for benefits, and it makes you uncomfortable. Maybe you’ve simply found a better employment opportunity. For any number of reasons, you might consider resigning from your job after an injury – and that’s understandable. Often, however, employees wonder – what will happen to my workers’ compensation benefits if I resign? It’s an understandable question to ask.
The short answer to that question is that if you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits for an injury that occurred on the job, leaving that job doesn’t automatically mean that you lose the compensation and benefits you deserve. While this is generally the case, it’s important to realize that the law is complex, and certain exceptions might apply, given your particular circumstances. Sometimes, employers do raise issues about former employees who are receiving benefits but no longer employed with the company – and when that happens, matters can quickly become complicated. Generally, there are two categories of benefits to consider:
- Medical benefits: In most cases, your employment status should not impact the medical care you need for your injury. If you have successfully made a claim and proven that you sustained a workplace injury that requires ongoing medical treatment, for the most part, that treatment should continue until the injury has resolved, or until you have reached maximum medical improvement. This is true regardless of whether or not you continue to work for a particular employer. It is important to be aware, however, that if you take a new job, and your injury worsens, your former employer may attempt to make the argument that the new job has caused the worsening of your condition and that for this reason, responsibility for medical bills should shift. If that's the case, you'll need an attorney on your side who can help you continue to assert and protect your entitlement to benefits under your claim.
- Other benefits: Many workers' compensation claims include not only medical benefits but also benefits to cover lost wages, anticipated future wages – and generally, benefits based on the severity of the disability caused by the injury. In some cases, the continued receipt of those benefits is based upon the presumption that the employee will return to work when able, and may be dependent upon whether the employer can offer the employee a “light duty” job that the employee can perform even with the injury. Leaving your job to take another may give the employer a basis to argue that they are no longer required to pay these particular benefits.
In many cases, if you are able, it may be best to remain with your current employer until your claim is fully and finally settled and resolved. If you decide not to do so, then prior to taking action and resigning from the job, you should consult with a knowledgeable and experienced workers' compensation attorney. It is important to realize that the legal system can be complicated and often confusing. An attorney who knows and understands the law can ensure that your rights are protected, and help you avoid potential legal pitfalls. At Roden Law, we’re here to help you do exactly that.
RODEN LAW – YOUR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEYS
If you have been injured on the job, you deserve the time you need to focus on moving forward. The last thing you need is to worry about how you will pay your bills and continue to provide for yourself and your family while you are also trying to heal from an injury. That’s why you can leave the legal matters to us, knowing that when you choose the talented team of workers’ compensation attorneys at Roden Law, you are putting your claim in good hands. Wherever you are in the workers’ compensation process, we can help, and we would be honored to have the opportunity. Call us today to discuss your case. We look forward to speaking with you soon.