What Happens If You Can't Return to Work After An Injury?

workers' comp rehab to return to work

A workplace injury can change your life in the blink of an eye. The physical, emotional, and financial struggles can seem overwhelming and have a lasting impact on your ability to perform your job and earn a living.

This is a critical moment to understand what happens if you can't return to work after injury and your legal options to protect your future.

Workers' compensation exists to protect employees who get hurt on the job by covering medical bills and lost wages while they recover. However, navigating the workers' comp system and understanding your rights can be complex.

In this article, we'll explore what happens if you can't return to work after an injury, your rights as an injured worker, and how the New York workers' comp lawyers at Terry Katz & Associates can help.

Key Takeaways:

  • In New York, workers' compensation is a government-mandated program that provides healthcare and cash benefits to workers who are injured or become ill at or as a result of their job.
  • Injured workers have legal protections to ensure they are treated fairly by their employers.
  • Taking immediate steps following a workplace injury is essential to protect your rights and maximize your benefit amount.

Understanding Your Rights After a Work-Related Injury

Workers' compensation is like a safety net. If you get hurt while doing your job, it helps pay for your medical treatments and part of your usual paychecks until you can return to work.

But often, figuring out how to get these benefits can be tricky — studies have found 1 in 10 workers' comp claims are initially denied.

Having the support of an experienced workers' comp attorney can make things easier by explaining your rights and helping you through the process.

Workers' Compensation Basics

In New York, workers' compensation is a crucial protection for individuals hurt at work.

It's insurance, paid for by employers, that provides medical treatment and weekly money instead of your salary for employees who get hurt at work or have a work-related illness.

Every employer in New York must have this insurance, which pays for the costs related to a work-related injury or illness, no matter whose fault it is.

To qualify for workers' compensation benefits in New York, you must have sustained the injury while performing job-related work duties.

This includes injuries on the employer's premises or off-site during employment. Workers' compensation benefits in New York typically cover medical treatment expenses, including doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, and rehabilitation services.

Additionally, injured workers may be eligible for cash benefits, which provide a portion of their average weekly wages while recovering from their injury.

Legal Protections for Injured Workers

Injured workers have legal rights to make sure they are treated right by their employers and get the benefits they deserve.

The NYS Workers' Compensation Board oversees these types of claims.

In New York, workers’ compensation law makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim or seeking benefits.

This means an employer can’t fire, demote, or otherwise discriminate against an employee because they filed a claim or sought workers' compensation benefits.

If an employer engages in such behavior, the injured worker may have grounds for additional legal action.

Injured workers also have the right to choose their healthcare providers for their work-related injuries. This means that an employer can't require an injured worker only to see specific doctors or get treatment from specific healthcare facilities.

Injured workers need to exercise this right and seek medical care from providers they trust.

Injuries That Qualify for Workers' Compensation

Workers' compensation covers a wide range of work-related injuries and illnesses.

To qualify for workers' compensation, the injury or illness must have happened while the employee was doing job-related tasks.

Some common examples of injuries that may qualify include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls in the workplace
  • Overexertion injuries from lifting heavy objects
  • Car accidents that occur while driving for work
  • Illnesses caused by exposure to hazardous substances or chemicals
  • Burns from workplace accidents or exposure to heat sources
  • Injuries caused by being caught in work equipment
  • Injuries resulting from repetitive motion or stress on the job

It's also important to note that workers' compensation benefits cover the worsening of pre-existing conditions.

If work-related activities make a pre-existing condition worse, the injured worker may get workers' compensation benefits to cover the medical care and lost wages linked to the worsened condition.

6 Steps to Take After a Work Injury in New York

Have you or someone you know ever been injured at work? Taking immediate action is crucial to protect your rights.

Here are six important steps to take after a workplace injury:

  • Report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. To be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, you must provide your employer with written notification within 30 days of the incident.
  • Seek medical attention promptly. Getting the necessary medical treatment will not only aid in your recovery but also provide documentation of your injury.
  • File a workers' compensation claim with your employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier. This will initiate the process of receiving benefits.
  • Understand how to access your workers' compensation benefits, including the amount and duration of benefits you may be entitled to.
  • Follow your doctor's orders and attend all required medical appointments. This will help document the progress of your recovery and ensure you receive appropriate medical care.
  • Keep detailed records of all medical treatments, expenses, and any communication with your employer or their insurance company.

The goal of workers' compensation is to provide you with the necessary support and benefits to recover from your work-related injury and return to work when possible. In some cases, you may be able to return to your previous job once you have fully recovered.

If you have specific medical restrictions or limitations due to your injury, your employer is required to make reasonable accommodations to ensure your safe return to work.

Reasonable accommodations may include modified work duties, adjusted work schedules, or providing assistive devices or equipment.

If going back to your old job isn’t possible because of your injuries or medical restrictions, you might need to learn new skills for a different job. This is where vocational rehabilitation comes in, offering training and support to help you move into new work.

If you encounter any difficulties or your employer fails to provide reasonable accommodations, request a free consultation with a workers' compensation attorney at our law firm.

Understanding Your Legal Options When You Can't Return to Work

While workers' compensation aims to help injured workers return to work, there are situations where returning to your previous job may not be possible.

In these cases, it's essential to understand your options and explore alternative avenues for financial support and vocational rehabilitation.

Temporary vs. Permanent Disability Benefits

Workers' compensation provides both temporary and permanent disability benefits to injured workers.

Temporary disability benefits are available for workers who are temporarily unable to work due to their work-related injury or illness. These benefits provide partial wage replacement for the duration of the disability.

On the other hand, permanent disability benefits are available for workers who have sustained permanent impairments or disabilities that prevent them from returning to their previous job or earning the same wages. The amount and duration of permanent disability benefits vary based on the severity and impact of the disability.

If you've healed from your injury to the fullest extent possible, known as "maximum medical improvement," and are still unable to go back to work, you might qualify for long-term permanent partial disability (PPD) or permanent total disability (PTD) workers' compensation benefits.

The experienced workers' compensation lawyers at Terry Katz & Associates will assess your eligibility for permanent disability benefits and ensure you receive the maximum benefits you are entitled to.

Vocational Rehabilitation & Retraining Programs

If you can't go back to your old job because of a permanent disability, vocational rehabilitation and job retraining programs might be available to help you switch to a new line of work. These programs offer training, education, and job placement services to help injured workers learn new skills and find different jobs.

Vocational rehabilitation services are designed to help people with permanent disabilities learn new skills and knowledge to perform a different job. These services might include evaluating your job skills, training for a new job, education programs, and help finding a job.

It's important to look into your job retraining options and work with a job counselor to make a plan that fits your needs and goals. A workers' compensation lawyer can give you advice and support throughout the job retraining process.

Workers' Comp vs. Disability Benefits (SSD)

Workers' compensation and disability benefits are two different programs that provide financial help to people who can't work because of a disability. While both programs aim to help people in these situations, they have different rules and benefits.

Workers' compensation benefits are specifically designed for individuals who have suffered a work-related injury or illness. These benefits cover medical care and replace some of your lost income because of your work-related disability.

On the other hand, disability benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), are for people who have a long-term disability that stops them from working much at all (known as "substantial gainful activity"). These benefits aren't just for work-related disabilities and can cover a wide range of medical conditions.

Talking to a workers' compensation lawyer and a disability insurance lawyer will help you understand which benefits you might qualify for and how to get the most financial support while you're disabled.

What If Your Employer Can't Accommodate Your Work Restrictions?

Sometimes, an employer may be unable to accommodate an injured worker's work restrictions or may claim that providing reasonable accommodations would cause undue hardship for the business.

If your employer cannot provide reasonable accommodations, you may be eligible for additional workers' compensation benefits, vocational rehabilitation services, or alternative employment opportunities. We can help you understand these options and protect your rights.

Remember, your employer is legally obligated to make reasonable accommodations unless doing so would cause undue hardship.

If you believe your employer is not meeting their legal obligations, contact us to discuss your rights and potential legal options.

When to Consider Hiring a Lawyer For Your Workplace Injury Claim

Hiring the right New York workers' compensation lawyer can provide you with the necessary legal advice and guidance to navigate the complex workers' comp system effectively and effectively.

You may want to consider hiring a workers' comp lawyer if:

  • Your claim has been denied or delayed
  • Your employer or their insurance company is disputing your claim
  • You have concerns about the amount or duration of your benefits
  • You believe you are not receiving proper medical treatment or accommodations
  • You are facing retaliation or discrimination from your employer due to your workers' compensation claim
  • You need assistance negotiating a settlement or representing your case in court

Talking to a workers' comp lawyer will make sure you have the necessary legal expertise and support throughout the claims process.

How A Workers' Comp Lawyer Can Help

Dealing with the workers' compensation system can be complex and overwhelming, especially if you're injury prevents you from returning to work.

This is when a skilled workers' comp lawyer at Terry Katz & Associates can really help.

Employers and insurance companies may intentionally create confusion around the process of obtaining benefits, and they may not be willing to pay out the injury wages or total disability benefits that you are entitled to.

Having a workers’ compensation lawyer by your side can help ensure that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to and maximize the payout you receive.

At Terry Katz & Associates, we'll give you legal advice, guide you through workers’ compensation case, make sure you understand your rights, and fight for your best interests.

Some specific ways a workers' comp lawyer can help include:

  • Evaluating the merits of your claim and ensuring you have the necessary documentation to support your case
  • Assisting with the filing of your workers' comp claim and navigating any administrative processes
  • Negotiating with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation
  • Representing you in court if your claim is disputed or denied
  • Assisting with appeals if your claim is denied
  • Providing guidance and support during vocational rehabilitation or retraining programs

By hiring the right workers' comp law firm, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the full benefits you are entitled to.

With over thirty years of dedicated service, Terry Katz & Associates has become a trusted advocate for New York's working class, recognized for our compassion and relentless pursuit of justice.

From filing a workers' comp claim to negotiating with insurance companies and representing you in court if necessary, our workers' comp lawyers will provide the legal expertise and support you need to maximize your benefits and protect your rights.

Take the first step towards recovering your full benefits, call 888-488-7459 today for a free lawyer consultation.

Long-Term Considerations & Planning

If you can't return to work after an injury, it's important to think about the long-term effects and plan accordingly.

This may include adjusting to life with a disability and engaging in financial planning to ensure your financial stability.

Understanding the resources available, like permanent disability benefits and social security disability benefits, can help you make informed decisions and secure your future.

Adjusting to Life with a Disability

Adjusting to life with a disability can be tough, both emotionally and practically. It's important to get support from healthcare professionals, support groups, and disability advocacy groups to help you through this change.

Exploring available resources and benefits, such as permanent disability benefits and social security disability benefits, can also provide financial support and access to necessary services.

Take the time to learn about your rights and the help available to you. Taking care of yourself, finding new hobbies or activities, and connecting with others who have gone through similar experiences can also be helpful in adjusting to life with a disability.

Financial Planning for Long-Term Disability

Financial planning is very important when you're dealing with a long-term disability. Evaluate your current financial situation and develop a budget that considers your reduced income and increased medical expenses. Explore the disability benefits available to you, such as social security disability benefits, to ensure you have a stable source of income.

Consider talking with a financial planner who specializes in working with individuals with disabilities. They can help you understand the different benefit programs, create a long-term financial plan, and give you advice on managing your money well.

Remember to regularly check and update your financial plan as things may change over time.

Speak With A Workers' Comp Lawyer About Your Rights

After a work-related injury, it can feel intimidating to deal an insurance company representing your employer.

Don't let a workplace injury define your future.

Join the many who have trusted the skilled workers' compensation lawyers at Terry Katz & Associates to reclaim their lives and secure their rights.

Call 888-488-7459 today or complete our online contact form for a free lawyer consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if My Workers' Comp Claim Is Denied?

If your workers' comp claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. A workers' compensation attorney at our firm can review your claim and provide you with the necessary legal advice to guide you through the appeal process successfully.

Learn more: Common What Happens if You Can't Return to Work After Injury?

How Long Do I Have to File a Workers' Comp Claim in New York?

In New York, the filing deadline for a workers' compensation claim is generally within two years from the date of the injury or the date the worker knew (or should have known) that the injury was work-related. It's important to consult with a workers' compensation attorney to understand the specific filing deadlines and waiting periods that apply to your case.

Learn more: What is the Workers' Comp Statute of Limitations in New York?

What Should I Do If I'm Unable to Return to My Previous Job?

If you can't return to your previous job due to a work-related injury, filing a workers' comp can help cover your financial costs. Vocational rehabilitation services and retraining programs can also help you explore alternative employment options. Contact our workers' compensation attorneys today to discuss the available resources and legal options and develop a plan tailored to your situation.

Are There Any Alternatives to Workers' Comp If I'm Not Eligible?

If you're not eligible for workers' compensation benefits, other alternatives may be available to provide you with financial support. Explore disability insurance options, such as private disability insurance or social security disability insurance, and consider applying for supplemental security income if you meet the eligibility criteria. Our firm's workers' compensation lawyers can help you understand your options and determine the best course of action.

Terry Katz, Esq.
Terry Katz, Esq., the founding Member of the firm, handles all aspects of Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability cases.
View Attorney Profile

Request A Free Lawyer Consultation Today

Complete the form to schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Terry Katz & Associates.
Our workers' comp lawyers serve clients throughout New York, including: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island, Nassau County, & Suffolk County.
Free Evaluation
(888) 488-7459