If you suffer a work-related injury or illness, you may be unable to return to work temporarily or for an extended period of time. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to not only assist you with your medical expenses but also help make up for lost wages while you are out of work. If you are caught working while on workers’ compensation, you could face serious repercussions; it all depends on the severity of your injury or medical condition, as well as your doctor’s recommendations and orders.
Continue reading to learn more about working while receiving workers’ compensation benefits, or contact Kentucky Injury Law Center today to discuss your specific case with one of our Bowling Green workers’ compensation attorneys. We have extensive experience and focus a significant portion of our practice on Kentucky workers’ compensation law and can help you understand your legal rights.
When Are You Allowed to Work While Receiving Workers’ Compensation?
In some situations, you may be allowed to work while you receive workers’ compensation in Kentucky. This could be the case if you have a second job or take on a new, different job than the one you had before (with the same employer or a different one). In either case, your work cannot aggravate your existing work-related injury or illness.
For example, if you were previously employed as a construction worker and were injured while carrying out physical labor on the job, you might be able to take a sedentary office job that does not require you to conduct the same type of demanding activities as your prior employment. This could include a new job at a different company or an office job at the same construction company, such as answering phone calls or filing invoices.
The key element in returning to “light-duty” work after a job-related injury or illness and still receiving workers’ compensation is being cleared to do so by your doctor. Generally speaking, if your treating physician does not grant permission for you to perform any type of work, including non-aggravating work, after an injury or illness, you should not try to go back to work or find a new or second job. Doing so could impact your eligibility for workers’ compensation and may even result in serious penalties.
If your doctor does clear you to return to light-duty work, whether at your past employer or a new job, you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits while you work. However, your benefits will most likely be reduced to accommodate for your income.
What If You Go Back to Work Before Your Doctor Says You Can?
If you go back to work while receiving workers’ compensation benefits before your treating physician clears you to do so, you may face serious penalties. The least of these will be losing your eligibility for workers’ compensation, meaning your benefits will end. Even more serious, you could be accused of committing fraud, which may result in criminal penalties, such as fines, restitution, and even jail or prison time.
If you have been injured on the job or suffered a work-related illness or medical condition, and you are receiving or have filed for workers’ compensation benefits, you should never try to go back to work before you are cleared to do so by your doctor. You should also not take a job that is more demanding (physically or otherwise) than the one that caused your injury or illness or one that aggravates your condition. This is true whether you work in the private or public sector.
When to Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If your boss or another party is pressuring you to come back to work, or if you are concerned about making enough money on workers’ compensation benefits alone to pay for your medical bills and ordinary costs of living, we encourage you to reach out to our Kentucky workers’ compensation attorneys right away. At Kentucky Injury Law Center, we represent the rights of injured workers throughout the state, advocating for maximum compensation and striving to recover all available benefits. We understand the challenges you are facing, and we have what it takes to aggressively advocate for you.
We can also assist you if you have been accused of workers’ compensation fraud, have had your claim denied, or are facing any other disputes from an employer, an insurance company, the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims, or any other state or federal agency. Our team has a comprehensive understanding of the state’s workers’ compensation laws, and we are ready to put this extensive knowledge and experience to work for you.