It isn’t uncommon for workers to think about looking for a new job or an entirely new career if they are injured at work in Florida. In some situations, employers who have suffered an injury are ready to start doing something new in an industry with a lower amount of risk. However, in other cases, they may need to change careers if their injury keeps them from being able to continue doing the same work they did prior to the injury.
Sternberg Forsythe, P.A. is here to answer your questions about what may happen if you start a new job or do other work to earn an income while you are still receiving your workers’ compensation benefits from your existing employer.
Have you suffered an on-the-job injury? Do you have questions about your legal options while you receive benefits? Are you having trouble getting the benefits you deserve? Our Florida workers’ compensation lawyers at Sternberg Forsythe, P.A. are available to help you and answer any workers’ compensation questions you have.
What Will Happen to Your Workers’ Comp Benefits if You Change Jobs?
It is your legal right to seek a new job or employment at any point. This is true even if you still receive workers’ compensation benefits from the job where you were injured. With that in mind, there are laws that will apply to the situation, and if you accept another full- or part-time job, it may impact the weekly benefits you receive.
If you are thinking about seeking employment elsewhere, you need to understand the following:
- Your benefits cannot be discontinued just because you change your current job.
- Your benefits cannot be discontinued if you accept a position doing light-duty work that pays you a reduced salary.
- Your benefits cannot be discontinued just because you accept a lesser-paying position.
With that in mind, if you decide to take another job while you are still receiving benefits, you need to understand the way that this decision will impact the number of benefits that you receive. Even if you still get a partial benefit, there’s a chance the pay rate won’t be the same as when the benefits first started. Also, if you take a new job where you are making more than you did at your other position, then your benefits will be discontinued.
What Happens if You Accept a Part-Time Secondary Job?
Sometimes, after being injured, you may decide to take a second job to help fill in financially where your workers’ compensation benefits aren’t. In this situation, just like with any other type of income that you receive, it will cause the amount of your current weekly benefit to go down. If you happen to get paid and you don’t report the income that you earn, and you keep receiving workers’ compensation benefits, this is considered workers’ compensation fraud.
Why an Injured Florida Worker May Think About Changing Jobs?
There are a few reasons injured workers may look for a different job or change their careers while still receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Some of these reasons include:
- They found a job that was less demanding than meets the recommendations their doctor had given about physical restrictions or light duty work but still pays the same.
- They were offered a job that pays less but meets the doctor’s recommendation for reduced physical labor and lets them move forward.
If you choose the second option here, you may be able to receive partial benefits from your initial workers’ compensation claim.
Important Considerations before Accepting a New Job While Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits
Even though there are several reasons – personal and financial – that will make taking a new job seem like an enticing choice, you should keep the potential risks and downsides in mind, too. These include:
- Returning to work before you are completely recovered may put you at risk of being reinjured.
- If you go back to work too soon, it could hurt the progress you have made so far in recovery and may keep you from a complete recovery.
You should also remember that your employer doesn’t have to hold your job for you. They have the legal right to fill it. What this means is that after you are fully recovered, your position may no longer be available. Also, your employer is not legally required to offer you another position with the company.
What Happens if You Are Cleared to Engage in Light-Duty Work?
If your doctor clears you to return to work and believes there is no risk to your recovery to do this, then it may be a smart way to move forward. Getting partial wages for too long can cause serious financial trouble.
Do You Need Help with Your Florida Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If you need help with your Florida workers’ compensation claim, our Florida workers’ compensation lawyers at Sternberg Forsythe P.A. are ready to help. We have years of experience handling similar cases and will work to help you receive the benefits you deserve, even if you have accepted another job.
We are dedicated to our clients and want to work to ensure they get what they need to live and that they know their rights related to receiving these benefits. If you have questions about your benefits or your rights, reach out to our Florida workers’ compensation lawyers today. We will review your situation can create a plan to move forward while ensuring your rights are protected.