When a person receives workers' comp, it usually means that they are unable to work because of a work-related injury, and therefore, their current employer is paying their wages and medical bills. The amount that this person is getting depends on the original settlement that they reached with the insurance company. In previous years, it was really hard to see a situation where someone who was receiving workers comp benefits could even think about changing jobs.
With the rise of remote work, many injured workers are actually able to return to work much quicker after an incident. Realizing that they can, in fact, work from home may lead to try to search for new opportunities even as they are nursing an injury. Can someone who is receiving workers' compensation benefits switch jobs?
The short answer to the question is yes, but the process that an injured worker would have to go through is complicated. There is a way that they could still receive their workers comp in their new job. Negotiating medical benefits, however, is a whole other matter that could make the change more difficult.
Is it a Good Idea to Change Jobs When Receiving Workers' Compensation Benefits?
Making a job change voluntarily can always seem like a tough decision. People who make that jump or are thinking about it when they're getting workers' comp benefits have an even tougher choice to make. In most cases, these workers will want to make a change because they found a higher-paying option or perhaps a safer line of work.
The biggest thing that a person would need to negotiate and consider is the possibility of continuing to get their medical bills paid by their new employer. This is assuming that this person will be able to assume their new position right away in spite of their injury. Otherwise, they would need to have their new employer pay their workers' compensation benefits until they are well enough to return to work.
Truth be told, these situations can get very complicated because the insurance company that's paying for those lost wages is going to push to get off the hook. If the new job, though, represents a professional growth opportunity, it may be hard to pass up. Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys for other questions like Can you use pto while on workers comp in Indiana?
The Risk of Losing a Workers' Compensation Claim
People who are switching jobs while receiving workers' compensation benefits are very much at risk of losing that income. As mentioned, the insurance company that's covering those wages may argue that they are no longer liable to pay for them if the beneficiary is not a company employee.
In most cases, the only way that people who get a new job can continue to perceive their benefits is if the new company agrees to step in and pay them. These situations are a bit rare, but they do take place at times. There is, of course, a negotiation that needs to take place between all parties involved.
Why a Lawyer May Help People Continue Receiving Workers Comp Benefits
When someone who's receiving workers' compensation changes jobs, there's always a negotiation that needs to take place. That's especially the case when future medical care is needed. It's in the best interest of the person changing jobs to negotiate their health care situation.
Lawyers can be the worker's eyes and ears at the negotiating table. People who don't hire lawyers in this type of situation are essentially at the mercy of their new employer. Under the Indiana Worker's Compensation Act, it's established that companies pay for workers' compensation, not the state.
If a person accepts a new job and their employer does not take on the payment of their workers' compensation, they can be left with nothing. Since the workplace injury didn't happen at this new job, the employer wouldn't be liable to pay for reparations.
To avoid any kind of misunderstanding by any party in these types of situations, it's essential for the worker to have workers comp lawyers present in the process. Many times, workers think that it's in poor taste to send a lawyer to deal with this type of situation. Most companies won't take the gesture in that manner. They understand that this is pretty much the only tool that workers have to look out for their own rights.
There should be no issue with having a lawyer discuss a worker's compensation payment with the people in charge of that person's new job. Having the negotiation go well can be essential for people who still need to receive workers' compensation benefits after an injury. They can also help with questions such as Is carpal tunnel a work related injury in Indiana?
Would There Need to be a Negotiation if a Worker Accepts a Second Job?
Technically, in this situation, there would be no need to negotiate with anyone if the second job is only a part-time gig. This person would not be entitled to receive worker's compensation from this second job. Their best bet in this situation would be to take up this part-time job as an independent contractor.
Doing this would see their same job, remain their primary job and they can still receive benefits from that employer. Problems could arise, though, if the company finds out that its injured employee is working on the side while collecting workers comp from it. The employer could file to have the court recognize that maximum medical improvement has been reached to cut off the related medical expenses.
In a worst-case scenario, a forfeiture petition could be filed by the insurance company. This would leave the worker without any compensation insurance and potentially medical care.
Final Thoughts on Changing Jobs While on Workers Comp in Indiana
If a person wants to change jobs while on workers' compensation, their best bet is to have the new employer negotiate a deal with the worker's compensation insurance company that's currently paying their wages. Most of these insurance companies are going to be receptive to negotiating their way out of paying these benefits.
Even if the new company is willing to take on the existing conditions of the workers' comp claim, it's still in the worker's best interest to have a lawyer represent them in these negotiations. That way, they can guarantee that they'll receive the medical benefits that were previously agreed upon. The process can be tedious, but if the new employers are on board, it can work out well.