A client recently asked if it would be allowed, legally, for him to quit his job once he is released to return to work following treatment from a workers’ compensation injury. The short answer is yes, he is allowed to quit his job and get another job somewhere else or retire if he is able to. There are a few issues that come into play after you are released from authorized treatment in a workers’ compensation case.
If the authorized treating doctor releases you back to full duty work, you can go back to your job or get a new one somewhere else. If you get a new job and have an aggravation of your injury while working, it will likely be the responsibility of the new employer to provide treatment for this aggravation rather than the old employer as related to the original accident.
If you are released with permanent restrictions you can go back to your job as long as your employer can accommodate your restrictions. If they can not accommodate your restrictions, your employer is not under any legal obligation to find another job for you. (There may be some exceptions to this depending on your union contract, if you have one). You will then be on your own to find a job that is within your restrictions.
You may be fired from your job if they don’t have a job available that is within your restrictions. In that case, you may be eligible to collect unemployment while you look for a new job within your restrictions. If, however, you take a job that is not within your restrictions and you aggravate your injury, the workers’ compensation insurance may not be responsible for any treatment you might need because you were not complying with the restrictions given to you by the authorized doctor.
All of these are things to take into consideration when you are released from authorized treatment following a workers’ compensation injury. At Stark & Stark, we have six experienced workers’ compensation attorneys who can help you in dealing with these issues. You may contact any of our attorneys for a free consultation.