One of the most common questions we receive from our clients pertains to their potential ability to quit their job during the pendency of a workers’ compensation claim. Although work injuries are extremely common, and getting hurt at work should not have any impact on one’s job security, a prolonged absence or a disputed claim can create strain on an employer-employee relationship. Or sometimes better opportunities arise during the pendency of a case. If you have a pending work comp claim, does that mean you are stuck working in the job through the conclusion of the claim even if you are ready to move on? The answer may surprise you. Keep reading to learn what one of Chicago’s best workers’ compensation lawyers, Brent Eames, has to say about these claims.
Generally, even if you quit your job, your workers’ compensation claim remains pending and legitimate. Quitting would have no real impact on your employer’s ongoing obligations to pay for all reasonable and related medical treatment. However, quitting could have significant consequences regarding the other main benefits of the Workers’ Compensation Act, which are payment of temporary disability benefits, as well as determining an appropriate amount for permanent impairment.
Regarding the impact on temporary disability benefits, resigning your position would almost certainly eliminate any claim to ongoing temporary disability benefits. This is because the Respondent would be free to claim that they have a position for you within your restrictions, but you voluntarily refused it. Thus, as a matter of law, you likely would not be found eligible for temporary disability benefits, because you were given the opportunity to work within your restrictions by the employer and are therefore not technically temporarily disabled.
Regarding the impact on permanent impairment, it is important to keep in mind that the core purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Act is to attempt to compensate an injured worker for a loss of an earning capacity. However, if you quit, similar to the issue with the temporary disability benefits, your employer would essentially have free reign to claim that they had a permanent position for you within your restrictions, and therefore there is no loss of future income. As a result, if you ultimately are left with a permanent work restriction which precludes you from returning to your former job, you could significantly damage your ability to make a claim which is based upon future loss of income by quitting your job. That does not mean you could not settle your case for a nice amount. It just means we would be limited to a claim based upon permanent partial disability, which generally is not as lucrative when there is evidence of
future wage loss.
While you are certainly free to quit your job while your case remains pending, for the reasons stated above, it is generally my advice that my clients do not quit their jobs at a minimum until they are released from medical care at maximum medical improvement. That way, the TTD issue becomes moot, and we can offer a better assessment regarding the potential impact on any claim for permanent impairment.
If an insurance company has denied your work comp claim or refused to pay work comp benefits, you owe it to yourself to contact one of the best work comp attorneys in Chicago, Brent Eames, to discuss your rights. If you have been injured, you should immediately contact Brent Eames for a free consultation to discuss your options.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Eames Law Group, Ltd.