Tips on Keeping Your Employment after an Accident on the Job
When recovering from an injury caused by a work-related accident, your employer may offer you temporary restricted job duties. However, the employer is under no obligation to hold your regular job position for an extended period of time, making it important to try to return to full duty work as soon as you are able. If your position is no longer available once you are able to return to full duty, you have other options. If your injuries lead to the development of a permanent disability, the employer may or may not offer you a permanent light duty job position, but you may utilize the vocational rehabilitation offered by Nevada workers compensation.
When Your Work Injury Prevents Your Ability to Perform the Old Job Duties
Temporary job restrictions are used during the period of recovery after an injury until you can perform your old job duties. However, there are times when a work injury prevents you from being able to return to your original work. If the temporary restricted job duties are not a feasible solution for continued employment through your employer, there are three solutions.
Employer can offer a permanent light duty job
Your employer may offer you a position with duties that you are capable of performing after your accident so that you may continue to work for the employer. However, if the employer has no need for such services, he or she is under no legal obligation to offer such employment.
Vocational rehabilitation benefits can be used
If your employer does not offer you an alternate position within the company, then you may use your vocational rehabilitation benefits through Nevada workers compensation in order to qualify for another type of job that you are physically able to perform. Vocational rehabilitation is used following a work-related accident to help you learn new job skills to obtain work in a different area.
Contact doctor to get permanent restrictions lifted to keep job
If you wish to return to your old position and it is still available, you may wish to speak with your physician about having any work restrictions removed. You need to be sure you are able to perform your old job duties if you are having the restrictions lifted, or you may risk losing your job.
Permanent Light Duty Jobs and Nevada Law
While not required, your employer may offer you an alternate position with light duty responsibilities so that you may remain employed with the company. Workers compensation laws do not require your employer to offer you an alternate position or even to hold your original job position for very long while you are recovering. If applicable to your employer, the Americans with Disabilities Act may provide you with some accommodation after a work accident and may preserve your position for a time while you are recovering from your injuries.
Being Released from Light Duty Back to Full Duty
The best way to return to the job position you had prior to the accident is to be released from temporary light duty back to full duty work with no restrictions. However, under Nevada workers compensation, the employer is not required to hold your position while you are recovering from the accident. If it applies to your employer, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may require the employer to hold your job position for a period of 12 weeks. Once you are released from temporary restrictions and are able to return to full duty, you lose your benefits, even if your job position is no longer available. Your only course of action is to file for unemployment benefits until you can find another job. The only time you have legal recourse against the employer is if the employer retaliates against you for filing a Nevada workers compensation claim.
Maintaining Employment after an Injury
As noted above, you are most likely to maintain your original job position and employment within the company if you can be released from any work restrictions and return to full work duties as soon as possible. Even if you return to your original work duties, you may be eligible for an impairment and Permanent Partial Disability award. It is important that you are truly able to perform your original work duties before being released from work restrictions so that you do not risk further injury or losing your job for being unable to do your required duties. If you think you are able to perform your job duties and your physician is reluctant to release you from work restrictions, ask for a trial period of one month with a follow-up appointment for the doctor to check your progress. If you are not so sure, you may choose to request a shorter trial period, such as for two weeks. If you are unable to perform your original job duties after this time period, you may receive permanent work restrictions and be eligible for vocational rehabilitation.
Maintaining Employment with Permanent Restrictions
If you are permanently restricted in your work duties and your employer does not automatically offer you an alternate position, you may choose to seek other positions within the company that you are able to perform or that you could do with just a little training. Show your employer how you can remain a valuable and productive employee. Discuss your interests for staying with your employer and your willingness to contribute. Talk with supervisors and HR associates about potential upcoming job openings and express your interest in these potential positions. Be creative in seeking ways to remain with the company, but never portray yourself as the victim. Rather, show and discuss how your strengths can still benefit the company.
The attorneys with the Morris/Anderson Law Firm can help you with your transition to full duty employment to help you maintain employment. The experienced attorneys are also available to assist in your case if you are wrongfully fired after a work-related accident so that you can receive the compensation and justice you deserve.Go to the Next Article