The objective of workers’ compensation insurance is to support an injured worker financially and provide needed medical treatment until he or she recovers and is ready to return to work. But some people who have been badly injured at a job might consider a new line of work and wonder whether they can change jobs while still receiving workers’ compensation benefits. An injured worker might wonder what effect a job change will have on the workers’ comp checks they have received and are receiving.
If you have suffered an on-the-job injury that puts you out of work, you should receive workers’ comp medical benefits and lost wage benefits, regardless of who employs you later.
However, a job change may have an impact on your lost wage benefits. You should not be surprised if your former employer argues that the company no longer has any obligation to pay you and attempts to discontinue your lost wage benefits.
To avoid doing anything that could jeopardize your benefits after a workplace injury, you should consult a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. At Joye Law Firm, our attorneys take a sincere interest in helping people move forward after workplace injuries. If you are considering resigning and taking a new job while on workers’ comp, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Joye Law Firm in Charleston, SC can help ensure all benefits to which you are entitled continue uninterrupted.
S.C. Workers’ Comp Rules for Benefits
Most people employed in South Carolina are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This no-fault coverage provides benefits if an employee is injured in an accident on the job or develops a work-related medical condition.
An injured employee should immediately inform their employer of their on-the-job accident, and in no case any later than 90 days from the date of the incident. Once the employer has notice of the accident and injury, a claim should be established to provide the injured worker with the following benefits:
- Medical benefits covering 100% of the treatment costs due to the work-related injury
- Lost wages (temporary disability benefits) paid weekly representing 2/3 of their pre-injury average weekly wage if unable to work entirely, or 2/3 of the difference between their pre- and post-injury wages if the injury has caused them to now earn less
There are additional payments available for permanent disability or work-related death.
Most injured workers receive medical benefits and temporary disability payments as outlined above and eventually recover and return to work. Once you reach “maximum medical improvement,” you may be released by the doctor to return to work, or you may be declared permanently disabled and not be expected to work again.
A worker who has completed all medical treatment and has fully recovered is generally no longer eligible for work comp benefits.
What Happens to My Workers’ Comp Benefits if I Change Jobs?
Where you work has no impact on your medical needs. Changing jobs should not affect the payment of South Carolina workers’ compensation medical benefits. All of your bills for medical treatment, medication, and rehabilitation connected to your workplace injury should be paid and continue to be paid as long as needed in order to recover.
But if you resign to take another job, your former employer may try to argue that you no longer should receive weekly lost wage checks. If you accept a job that pays the same or more than the position you are leaving, your lost wage benefits may be terminated. But things may be different if the new job pays less.
If you are moving to a less intensive job because your injury prevents you from returning to your old job and the new job pays less, you may continue to receive a disability payment. As your workers’ compensation lawyers, we would argue that you are continuing to lose income because of your workplace injury and that makes you eligible for workers’ comp partial disability payments.
If you found you were unable to perform your new job duties because of your injury, you might be able to resume receiving your full lost wage benefits. You would likely need a workers’ comp lawyer as well as medical evidence of your work limitations to get the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission to reinstate your benefits.
Factors to Consider Before Taking a New Job
If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits and want to accept a new job offer, you may wish to choose to settle your workers’ comp claim before resigning. If you take a new job that pays more while your claim is still open, your former employer’s insurer may try to seek reimbursement of lost wage benefits paid while you have been earning income at your new job.
A workers’ compensation attorney can help you settle your claim before or after you decide to take a new job. Settlements can be in the form of a full and final agreement (a “clincher”) or an agreement with continued coverage for future medical needs (a “16A”). An experienced work comp attorney can help you decide which is best for you and your particular case and claim.
If you are moving to a new job, your former employer’s workers’ comp insurance administrator may welcome the opportunity to settle your claim.
Contact a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers’ compensation is a complex system guided by regulations tailored for all types of injuries, illnesses, medical care, recoveries, and employment situations. If you are receiving workers’ comp, any change in your life – such as taking a new job – could have a negative impact on your claim if handled incorrectly.
At Joye Law Firm, our S.C. workers’ compensation attorneys have dedicated decades to helping injured workers across South Carolina seek the benefits they need to move forward with their lives. An initial discussion about your workers’ compensation claim is free. We do not charge for any legal work unless we make a recovery for you.
Joye Law Firm has offices in North Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Summerville, Columbia, and Clinton, SC. Contact us today at 888-324-3100 or online to discuss a workers’ comp claim or issues such as a job change that could affect your open claim.