Every seven seconds, someone gets hurt at in a workplace injury. That’s over 4.7 million work-related injuries every year. If you’ve been involved in one of these injuries, you’ve probably looked into filing a workers comp claim.
But what if you decide to quit your job?
Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t get workers comp. However, it does mean the process might look a little different for you. We’ve put together this guide to answer some of your questions about getting workers’ compensation benefits if you’ve quit—or plan to quit—your job.
So let’s get started.
What Happens to Your Workers’ Compensation If You Quit Your Job
So can you get workers’ compensation even if you quit your job?
Well, the short answer is yes.
However, there are a few things you should understand about your workers’ compensation benefits before you give up your job. Otherwise, you may be caught off guard.
But before we get into what can happen to your workers’ compensation if you quit your job, you need to know what exactly workers’ compensation covers.
Here’s a quick rundown.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance, it the most basic description, provides both medical and wage benefits for people who get injured on the job. The exact laws and regulations of workers’ comp vary from state to state.
But most employers are required to have it.
Now let’s take a closer look at those two types of benefits: medical and wages.
If you hurt yourself on the job, workers’ compensation will cover all your medical expenses. It’ll pay for your first trip to the hospital, for any necessary medication, and ongoing medical costs, such as therapy or rehabilitation programs.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you might have to take some time off work. In this case, workers’ compensation will also compensate you for any wages you would have made if you hadn’t been injured. This will allow you to keep paying your bills, grocery shopping, and providing for your family while you’re recovering.
And this doesn’t just cover long breaks from work. Even if you spend only one day at the hospital, workers’ compensation will award you all the money you lost by going to the doctor for that day.
But not every injury is covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This is where it gets a little sticky. Here’s a closer look at injuries that do and don’t qualify for workers’ comp.
When You’re Covered
You must be able to prove your injury resulted from something you did at work to qualify for workers’ compensation.
For example, hurting your back after lifting a heavy box is a direct result of your work responsibilities. Tripping on the front stairs and spraining your ankle before you clock in to work in the morning isn’t a work injury. While you might have hurt yourself at work, you didn’t hurt yourself because of work.
If you can’t prove your injury was caused by your work, you may not receive any workers’ compensation benefits. This is why you should always report your injury to your employer right away. Otherwise, it can be hard to look back at an injury later and decide who was at fault.
When You’re Not
Workers’ compensation won’t cover any injuries you get driving to and from work. It also won’t cover any injuries you get sightseeing/having fun on your free time during a business trip.
Again, while work might be involved with those injuries, you didn’t get injured while at work.
You also won’t receive any workers’ compensation benefits if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when you got injured. Since these substances can alter your mental state, any injuries that happen while using them are technically your fault.
Quitting and Workers’ Comp: How It Works
If you get injured on the job, you are always entitled to workers’ compensation.
This is true regardless of if you’re still working at the same job where the injury happened. The injury will still affect you at any other job you take, so you still deserve the compensation for it.
So as a general rule, you can quit your job and still get workers’ compensation benefits.
But these benefits might change somewhat.
Here’s what you need to know about workers’ compensation if you quit your job.
Quitting After You File a Workers’ Comp Claim
Let’s say you hurt yourself at work, filed a workers’ compensation claim, and then decided you don’t want to work at that job anymore.
This isn’t as uncommon as you might think. After all, why would you want to keep working at the place where you got injured?
You should keep receiving the medical benefits from your workers’ compensation like normal. However, you might lose your lost wages benefits.
These benefits cover the work you miss while you’re recovering. But if you choose to give up that work willingly, you’re technically also giving up your lost wages.
Now, this isn’t always true. It depends on your circumstances.
But you should talk to a lawyer about your workers’ compensation if you’re planning to quit your job. You may also want to wait to quit until receiving the full amount of your workers’ compensation insurance.
Quitting Before You File a Workers Comp Claim
There are a few things you have to think about if you quit your job before you file a workers’ compensation claim.
First of all, your previous employer—and the insurance company—will look a lot closer at your claim. Their first assumption will most likely be that you’re filing the claim just to get a last chunk of money out of your employer.
This means they’ll study it with much more scrutiny. You’ll have to have solid proof that your injury was caused by your work. Otherwise, they might not award you any benefits at all.
You also have to consider the time frame.
You have to meet certain time limits when you file your workers’ compensation claim. If you miss those time limits, you won’t be able to seek compensation for your injury.
If you’ve already quit your job, you might have already missed that time limit.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to let your employer know about every injury you get on the job—even if you don’t think it’s bad. Small injuries can easily turn into major injuries. So if you decide to file a claim after all, your employer will already have a record of the injury.
So Should You Quit Your Job?
While you can quit your job and still receive workers’ compensation benefits, it’s better that you don’t.
Most of the time, you won’t get as much compensation as you deserve if you quit your job. In some cases, you might not be awarded any compensation at all.
Of course, depending on your circumstances, you might have to quit your job. However, if you can avoid it, try sticking with your job for as long as possible. This will make the workers’ compensation process easier for you.
If You Have to Quit, Hire a Lawyer
If you do end up quitting your job before or after you file a workers’ comp claim, your next step should be to hire a lawyer.
They can help you get the most compensation possible.
Many insurance companies might try to give you the lowest amount of benefits possible, especially if you quit your job. While the amount might seem acceptable to you, representing yourself in a workers’ compensation case is never a good idea.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you meet deadlines, fill out paperwork, and take all the necessary steps. They are also familiar with these types of cases, so they’ll be able to secure the best benefits for your needs.
You should always talk to a lawyer about your workers’ comp claim, even if it seems straightforward.
Get in Touch with a Lawyer Today
You can quit your job and get workers comp benefits at the same time. But it might be a bit harder than usual. That’s why you shouldn’t do it by yourself.
Not sure where to find a lawyer to take care of your case?
We can help! Make sure you click here to take a look at what we can do for you.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today! You can speak with us for free. Call 904 LAW-1212 anytime, day or night.