Workers who have suffered an injury on the job rely on workers’ compensation payments to help keep them afloat until they can return to work. You must meet certain requirements for workers’ compensation on a continuous basis to maintain your eligibility for benefits.
Working while receiving workers’ compensation can put your benefits at risk. If you have any questions about your benefits, contact a lawyer at Horton Mendez.
There are two parts to your workers’ compensation benefits:
- Payments to replace a portion of your lost wages due to your injury
- Payments to cover your medical bills that are related to your work injury
Working Can Impact the Lost Wages Portion of Your Benefits
Paying your medical bills is independent of your ability to return to work. You may still need medical treatment, even if you can work again as you did before. Workers’ compensation has an obligation to continue to cover your bills until you no longer need treatment for your work-related injury.
For claimants, the main issue is the payment for lost wages. You have an obligation to return to work when you can do so. However, you should not return to your job until it is medically safe and a doctor has cleared you. If you rush back to work, you can jeopardize your recovery from the injury.
You Need to Return to Work When You Are Able
You must go back and perform the work that you can do once you have the capacity for it. Your new duties may mean that you earn less. In some cases, it may mean that you are assigned to light duty. In other cases, you may only return to work part-time, meaning that you earn less.
Once you fully return to work full-time, doing what you did before the injury, the lost wages component of your workers’ compensation payments will cease. These benefits are only intended to cover you when you are unable to work.
If you cannot earn the amount you did before your injury, you may still be eligible for some payment for lost wages from workers’ compensation. Your benefits will help you make up some of the difference since you cannot earn the same amount because of your injury.
You Can Be Paid If You Are Working and Earning Less
Workers’ compensation will only cover part of your lost wages, up to the amount of the statutory limit provided by North Carolina law. It goes without saying that you will still suffer a financial impact from your injury because you will not have the same amount of money coming in that you did before.
However, you cannot take on a second job while receiving workers’ compensation benefits to improve your finances. The whole point of workers’ compensation is that you are unable to work, so working in a second job will jeopardize your status as injured.
You will need to report all earned income so that the insurance company will know about your additional job. Otherwise, you can get in legal trouble.
Second Jobs and Side Hustles Can Present Issues for Your Benefits
In today’s day and age, there are many more complex issues to deal with when it comes to employment. Many people work a second job to make ends meet, and you may have had that position already at the time of your injury.
For example, a factory worker may have an online gig to earn extra money. A construction worker can work in landscaping for a second paycheck. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may or may not be able to keep working at your second job. Your additional job can make a benefits decision more complicated.
The insurance company may argue that your ability to do your second job may mean that you are healthy enough to keep performing in your primary job. However, the job duties of the two positions may be completely different. Even if your second job is a more physical job, working in that position may not have a bearing on whether you can perform your regular job.
There is a chance that you can continue working in your other job, although it may be risky for your benefit. If your workers’ compensation claim is complex, you should always consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate these issues.
You Can Appeal Benefit Denials and Terminations
If you are denied workers’ compensation benefits or the insurance company tries to terminate them, you can hire an attorney to fight back. You can appeal any decision against you and receive a hearing from an objective administrative law judge who does not have the same financial interests as the insurance company.
Contact a Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
The lawyers at Horton Mendez help clients with complex workers’ compensation issues with an eye toward obtaining benefits for you and preserving those you have.
Workers’ Compensation FAQs
What if I fail to disclose a second job on my claim for benefits?
You may be viewed as having filed a false claim, and there are fines and potential criminal charges.
How much does a workers’ compensation attorney charge?
You do not need to pay any money upfront. We are paid on a contingency basis if you win your case, easing your financial burden during a difficult time.
Can I sue my employer for a personal injury?
In almost every case, the answer to that question is “no” since workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for injured workers. You will need to sue a third party who may have been responsible for your injuries.