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DON’T QUIT YOUR JOB!
If you get hurt at work, don’t quit your job.
to work but your doctor says you cannot physically return to the work you were doing before the accident, you would still be entitled to ongoing benefits. But if you quit your job, the reason you can’t work isn’t because you were injured and you have to adhere to your doctor’s physical restrictions; it’s because you took yourself out of the labor market by quitting. A Commissioner will take one look at a case where the employee quit, shrug, and say “Tough luck.” If you come under an Award, and your doctor puts you on light-duty, your employer has to either find a reasonable way to accommodate your restrictions, find you another job within your restrictions, or keep paying you benefits. In most cases, they will simply keep paying you your weekly benefits. If your employer does accommodate you and you come back to work after an injury still in pain, then you should go back to your doctor, tell the doctor exactly what you have to do at work that hurts you, and have your doctor write an order demanding your employer follow your restrictions. Sometimes the doctor may decide that it’s a dangerous environment for you and he or she does not want you working at all. Your doctor may take you back out of work again, in which case your comp benefits would restart. If your doctor won’t listen to you, call a workers’ comp attorney who may be able to get you a different doctor — one who will listen.
I’ll say it again: If you get hurt at work, don’t quit your job.
And again: Do not quit your job!
I know I sound like a broken record, but if I could shout it from the rooftops, I would. We regularly get calls from people who were badly hurt on the job, who desperately need help paying the mounting medical bills and actually have a pretty good case on their hands. And it breaks my heart every time I hear that that person quit his or her job before calling us. I understand why injured workers feel like their only option is to quit their job after an accident. They’re hurting, and their employer won’t listen or refuses to change their duties to match the doctor’s restrictions. Or maybe the doctor they went to won’t listen, and their pain only gets worse every day. It’s frustrating and stressful, and eventually everyone has a breaking point. But if you get hurt at work and decide to quit your job, you instantly destroy any hope you had of taking your workers’ comp case to a hearing and recovering your benefits. The workers’ comp insurance companies would love for you to quit, because by quitting, you basically make their case for them. Injured employees can be awarded workers’ comp benefits when a workplace injury leaves them unable to work. In Virginia, if you come under an Award for benefits even if you are able
But again, if you quit, without the doctor holding you out of work, you have removed any possibility that any of those things can occur because you have removed yourself from work by quitting. I cannot tell you how many great cases we have been forced to turn away because the worker quit their job before calling us. If you have been injured at work or you know someone who was hurt on the job and are wondering if you should quit, think about all the medical bills you have to pay on your road to recovery. Workers’ comp exists to help you cover your expenses so you can heal and maybe one day rejoin the workforce. Don’t make an impulsive decision that ruins your chances of getting the help you need.
I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice: If you get hurt at work, don’t quit your job!
If you belong to a union or other labor-related group and want to schedule my presentation at your group’s speaking arrangement, you can do so by calling 888-694-7994 . The presentation is free of charge, offers important information for taking appropriate action in Virginia workers’ compensation cases, and everyone in attendance gets a free copy of my book, “10 Traps and Lies That Can Ruin Your Virginia Workers’ Compensation Case.” Education is the best way to protect yourself from making a mistake. So call now, before it’s too late. –Joseph Miller
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