If you are not under contract, you can generally quit your job when you like, and you can
quit while a workers’ comp claim is pending. There may be drawbacks or risks associated with quitting work or changing employers while a pending workers’ comp claim is in the offing. You can work with a workers’ compensation attorney to determine what your next approach would be.
Risks to Quitting Your Job With a Pending Workers’ Comp Claim
Your claim should not be affected if you quit while waiting for a decision, but what should happen and what does happen aren’t always in alignment when it’s a question of money. Be aware of the following if you intend to quit your job before your workers’ comp claim is accepted:
New Job Requirements
Your benefits may be affected if your new position requires you to perform tasks that your workers’ comp doctor has restricted due to your injury.
As an injured worker in California, if you can’t work or can only work at a lower-paying position, you receive two-thirds of your wages with a maximum cap determined by the state each year. If you quit your job while your workers’ comp claim is pending, you may lose those temporary disability benefits, according to the State of California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR).
If your injury is determined to have caused a permanent partial or permanent total disability, and you quit your job before your doctor confirms your medical status, you may risk the loss of some of your benefits.
If you are receiving temporary disability and your new job pays more than the old position, you may have your benefits cut.
Progression of Your Injury
Whether your injury heals quickly or complications cause it to worsen, you will need to keep all of your medical appointments and show up for rehab and physical therapy.
A couple of things could happen at your new place of employment because of an injury acquired at your previous job:
- Your new employer may object to your missing work, which could create a negative work environment and cast doubt on who is responsible for your lost wages.
- If your injury worsens and you require more medical care and compensation for lost wages, your old employer may say that your new job caused the downturn in your healing, and the new job must pay for your increased medical costs. Your new employer might object, and the disagreement could have an impact on your benefits.
Compensation Settlement Offer
Insurance companies negotiate with you or your attorneys, if you have representation, to find a compensation settlement amount that works for everyone. When the facts are muddied by a change of employment or by you quitting rather than taking leave, it may affect the negotiations.
Your Workers’ Comp Claim May Be Pending for 90 Days or More
Your claim may be pending for 90 days, as that is how long your employer’s insurance has to let you know its decision. Unfortunately, the decision may be that more information is needed. The insurance company can then send you a Notice of Delay to push out the decision past 90 days.
Medical Care While Your Claim is Pending
Always report your injury as soon as possible. There are no benefits if your employer and the workers’ comp insurance carrier don’t know you’ve suffered an injury. If you wait more than 30 days to report the injury, you may not be eligible for benefits.
Most of the time, your injury will be reported the day it happened or the day after. Workers’ comp is required to pay for your medical care if you sustained an injury while on the job. Alert all medical professionals that your injury is work-related so that they will bill the appropriate company instead of you.
You may receive treatment while your workers’ comp claim is pending. There are rules for which doctors may treat you and when you can switch to other doctors. If your claim is denied, you will have several options for seeking financial assistance with your medical costs and lost wages. Your attorney will provide counsel as these questions come up and assist you in the pursuit of appropriate compensation.
Get Help With Your Pending Workers’ Compensation Claim
Our workers’ compensation attorneys at KJT Law Group offer free no-obligation case evaluations at any point in the process. We invite you to schedule your visit at (818) 507-8525 and get your important questions answered by attorneys who have worked in this field for years.
You always work directly with our attorneys. We fight for your right to the benefits and compensation settlement or verdict that you deserve.