When someone suffers a job-related injury, it is sometimes the last straw. They may finally decide that they need to find a job that is less dangerous or perhaps an employer that takes the safety of its workforce more seriously.
However, if you get workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical care and help make up for lost wages while you’re out, are you tied to that job? What happens if you get another job with a different employer? Do your benefits stop?
As long as you file your workers’ comp claim while you’re still employed at the job in which you were injured, you should have no problem continuing to get benefits to cover your medical care. These benefits are based on your injury – not whether you choose to remain employed with your company or not.
What about lost wages?
Whether you can continue to receive benefits for lost wages is more complicated. If you quit while you’re still off work because of your injuries, the insurer can argue that there’s no reason to pay part of the wages you chose to give up.
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, benefits for wage loss can end if there’s “evidence that you have returned to work at wages equal to or more than your earnings level prior to the injury….”
Can you file a workers’ comp claim after you’ve quit?
If you leave your job, whether you go to work somewhere else immediately or not, filing a workers’ comp claim for an injury suffered at your previous job will bring some increased scrutiny.
If you don’t move on to another job, it may look like you’re trying to get workers’ comp because you don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. If you are working elsewhere, you might have a harder time proving that your injury was suffered in your old job – especially if you didn’t report it while you were still working there.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there around workers’ comp. Don’t assume everything you’re told is accurate or truthful. If you’re having difficulty obtaining or continuing your benefits because you left your job, it’s wise to have legal guidance to help protect your rights.