Work-related injuries and illnesses are not uncommon and can prompt injured employees to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Though very helpful, these benefits do not cover your full wages, leaving you in a financial bind. You may try seeking injury-accommodating job opportunities to supplement your income.
If you have been injured on the job and are receiving workers’ compensation but are considering other employment, speak to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer from John Foy & Associates before making any employment decisions. Taking a second job could put you at risk of charges of insurance fraud or losing your benefits.
What Is Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation, commonly referred to as “Workers’ Comp” is income and medical care provided to employees who experience job-related injuries or illnesses. While intended to help victims, workers’ compensation systems were also designed to give employers incentives for maintaining safe working environments and reducing on-the-job injuries or illnesses.
Workers comp benefits are intended to give you the support you need to ultimately return to work. If you die from your work-related injury or illness, workers’ comp benefits can help support your dependents.
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Can You Get Another Job While on Workers’ Comp?
Since workers’ comp does not provide full pay, it is easy to understand why you might pursue a secondary or part-time job to cover the difference. However, there are potential dangers to taking a second job. You could risk losing benefits or facing charges of insurance fraud.
By taking a second job, you show you can work and have an income source outside workers’ compensation. The employer paying your workers’ comp may challenge your right to continue receiving benefits if you can work elsewhere. They may also require you to return to work at your primary job.
If you can show the duties of the second job differ from your primary job’s requirements and have medical clearance to complete the duties of that second job, you may be able to keep both your benefits and your second source of income. However, this is challenging to prove and you will need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to guide you.
Will a Second Job Affect the Amount of My Workers’ Comp Benefits?
If you can keep your second job, the income you earn will be factored against your benefits, reducing their amount. Should the second job pay as much as your primary employment, you likely will not qualify for benefits.
If you already had your second job pre-injury and can continue to fulfill the job’s requirements despite your injuries, your wages will most likely reduce the amount you receive from workers’ comp.
Are All Workers Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
In Georgia, all workers are eligible to apply for workers’ compensation from their first day of work with an employer. When business owners employ three or more workers, including the owners themselves, they must purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
How Do You Collect Workers’ Comp?
To receive workers’ comp benefits, you must meet other eligibility requirements. For example, you must report your work-related injury or illness to your employer within 30 days, complete a WC-14 claim form, and prove your injury is severe enough to prevent you from working or at least working at full capacity. You must file a claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation within one year of the date of your accident or onset of your illness.
Navigating eligibility requirements can be complicated. For the best outcome, you should have a workers’ compensation attorney help you complete all documentation needed to support your claim. Even though your employer buys workers’ compensation insurance to protect injured workers, you may still face resistance when you pursue those benefits, either from your employer or the insurance company. An experienced lawyer is equipped to oppose that resistance.
When Are You Entitled to Workers’ Comp?
You must be a company employee to be eligible for workers’ comp. If you have been hired as an independent contractor, you are not eligible. Some workers, such as drivers for Uber, Lyft, and Amazon, for example, claim companies miscategorize them as independent contractors.
If you are in a similar situation, you may still be entitled to workers’ comp benefits but will probably have to take your claim to court. Your illness or injury must have occurred or been caused by activities you performed as part of your job or to benefit your employers. Many times, the job-to-injury connection is clear-cut, such as hurting your back while loading cargo, sustaining a burn while working in a kitchen, or becoming ill from inhaling fumes present in the work environment.
Other times, the connection is less clear, and you will have to work harder to prove your case. Some states do not consider injuries sustained at company-sponsored events or parties to be work-related if attendance is not mandatory. If you hurt yourself while breaking a company rule or engaging in “horseplay,” you may also face pushback.
What Benefits Does Workers’ Comp Provide?
When a doctor orders you to take off your job for seven days or more, you are entitled to receive two-thirds of your weekly pay but not more than $725. This paycheck is tax-exempt. If you can handle a reduced workload that brings less income than your typical pay, you may collect at least part of the difference in pay.
You will also see coverage for medical care and related costs, including travel. Your employee must provide you with a selection of at least six doctors who can provide care. You choose which of the six doctors to see, though your choice may depend on the nature of your injury and the doctor’s specialty.
How Long Does Workers’ Comp Last?
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be entitled to benefits for up to 400 weeks. Sometimes, benefits undergo reduction as you are released to lighter-duty work situations or suspended once you can return to work at full capacity.
Catastrophic injuries incurring permanent damage may entitle you to lifetime support.
Seek Expert Legal Counsel Before Making Any Employment Decisions
If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits and considering additional employment, protect your benefits and protect yourself from accusations of insurance fraud by securing expert legal representation from a workers’ compensation attorney from John Foy & Associates before making any employment decisions.
Our experienced lawyers know how insurance works and how workers’ comp laws affect you. We will help you determine the safest, most beneficial course of action. Contact us for a free consultation to understand whether you can get another job while on worker’s comp.