When individuals sustain a workplace injury in California, they are usually able to receive workers’ compensation benefits to pay for their medical bills as well as a portion of their lost wages if they are unable to continue working while they recover. However, can you keep working if you receive workers’ compensation benefits?
The answer is yes, it certainly is possible to keep working at the same time you receive benefits for an on-the-job injury. However, we want to discuss when this is typically acceptable as well as when working after an injury should not occur.
Working While Receiving Benefits
There are times when individuals sustain workplace injuries but are able to continue working. This does not mean they don’t need medical care. It just means that they will continue receiving treatment from a medical professional, and this medical treatment will be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if an individual sprains their ankle walking into their office building, they will likely still be able to perform some duties (depending on their job requirements), but they will continue to receive benefits until a medical professional determines they have reached maximum medical recovery (MMI).
If we are discussing temporary disability benefits and lost wage replacement, or more permanent disability benefits, then it is usually not possible for a person to continue working while they receive benefits through workers’ comp. If an individual does return to their job in these situations, then the insurance carrier will take that to mean that they are able to work and that they no longer need temporary disability benefits.
There are certainly exceptions. For example, it is not uncommon for a person to be able to return to work, but in a part-time or reduced capacity role, if their workers’ compensation doctor says they are able to. If a doctor says that a person can handle some duties and the employer can offer a position that does not create a conflict with these limitations, individuals can work these jobs and continue to receive benefits. They will not receive full wage replacement benefits, but they could receive wages to make up for any difference in income caused by a move to lighter duties.
Should You Speak to an Attorney
We encourage individuals to reach out to an attorney if they receive any kind of pushback from their employer or the insurance carrier when trying to receive their rightful workers’ compensation benefits. Even though most workers’ compensation claims go smoothly, there are times when claims get delayed or denied or when individuals do not receive the compensation they are entitled to.
If you receive any pushback from your employer or the insurance carrier when trying to receive your work injury benefits, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible. Work injury claims can be challenging, but an attorney can step in, examine the facts of your case, and help you move forward with your claim. If necessary, an attorney will be by your side when working to file an appeal of any claim denial.