Dealing with a workplace injury can be a daily struggle, depending on the severity or permanence of the injury. Hopefully, after a few weeks or months of rest, an injured employee can return to work as if nothing ever happened. But for some people, the circumstances of an injury means that completing the same job functions as before is now impossible.
For example, consider a typist who suffers a broken hand while helping move office equipment. Or, a firefighter who develops PTSD due to an intense inferno and can no longer stay calm when near a blaze. What needs to be done to accommodate people in such situations?
Reasonable Accommodations & Life Transitions
When someone is eligible for workers’ compensation, they are also usually eligible to help out around the workplace in other ways, if safe and requested. To this end, an employer must be ready to find reasonable accommodations to help an injured worker stay employed at that location. As another example, a retail worker that hurts his back lifting product and can no longer complete load crew duties should be offered the chance to become a cashier or customer service representative. It would be unreasonable to simply say that the person is laid off due to the injury.
If another job position absolutely is unavailable, workers’ compensation benefits provided by the insurer should help smooth the employee’s life transition, or pursuit of a career elsewhere. Some benefits programs will include payments for educational courses geared towards starting in a new profession. Others may actually require an employer to make a real effort to help the employee find a new job, such as asking around company partners if there is a viable opening.
No matter the steps taken, completing a necessary life transition after a workplace injury should be possible with the help of workers’ compensation benefits. Of course, this relies on you actually receiving workers’ compensation. Being denied your benefits could make the future of your professional careers uncertain.
If you need to know how to apply for workers’ comp, or if you already applied but were denied, Pacific Workers' Compensation Law Center is here to help. Our Oakland workers’ comp attorney have more than 65 years of combined legal experience focused on helping clients just like you get the workers’ compensation they need and deserve. Schedule a free consultation with our office today and be sure to also ask about our contingency fees.