Can I Work While on Workers' Compensation in North Carolina?
Being injured at work isn’t just a frustrating experience that can leave you with serious injuries, but it can also be quite confusing. You may not know what your rights are, how to recover benefits, or what to do if your claim is denied.
If you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may be interested in whether you can work while on workers’ compensation, what working while on workers’ comp could mean for your case, and related issues.
The North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at the Stewart Law Offices are ready to help you navigate the process. If you’ve been injured at work and need to learn more about taking a job while on workers’ comp or have other questions about workers’ compensation benefits, please call us today.
Can I Work and Still Get Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina?
The purpose of workers’ compensation insurance is to provide benefits to workers who are injured on the job to cover medical expenses and lost wages while they are unable to work. The system’s goal is to improve the injured person’s chances of being able to make a full recovery and return to work as soon as possible.
While many people who receive workers’ compensation benefits are not able to work, there are some cases where a worker is able to return to work, even if it is not the type of work they did before.
If you are able to return to work in full capacity – which means that you are able to perform the same type of work that you were doing prior to the accident and earn the same income – then your workers’ compensation benefits will cease.
If you are unable to return to the same work or earning level and are instead assigned to light duty, then you may still be able to collect partial workers’ compensation benefits. While you are on light duty, you may earn less than you were prior to the accident, and, your new wages may be supplemented with workers’ compensation benefits.
What Happens If I Find a New Job While on Workers’ Comp?
Whether your workers’ compensation benefits will be affected by your decision to start a new job will depend on many different factors. It is very important to have your case reviewed by an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before making any decision that could jeopardize your benefits.
The following are some general observations:
It’s important to note that there are two separate components of workers’ compensation benefits – medical benefits and disability benefits – each of which may be affected in a different way by your decision to find a new job while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
- Medical benefits are portable. Whether you are working at a new job or your old job should have no effect on your right to receive medical benefits. Medical benefits are designed to cover all necessary and reasonable medical expenses related to your injury. This includes hospital stays, prescription medications, surgeries, rehabilitation costs, and more.
No matter what happens with your work status, if you have related medical bills and expenses that need to be paid, your workers’ compensation benefits should not be affected.
- Disability benefits, on the other hand, may be affected by your decision to start a new job. If you quit your job and start a new job making the same wage or a greater wage at a new position, then the purpose of disability benefits is moot.
If you are making less at your new job than you were at your old job prior to your injury, then it may be possible for you to continue to receive partial disability payments if the reason for taking the new job is that your injury prevents you from returning to your old job. This can be a very complicated situation, and the workers’ compensation carrier may attempt to cut off your disability benefits.
It is very important to have representation from a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer who can guide you through the process and make sure your rights are protected. Remember that they may not be applicable to you depending on the details of your case.
Is It Illegal to Work a Second Job While Getting Benefits?
One of the most important things that you should know about working a second job while receiving workers’ compensation benefits is that doing so could jeopardize your right to disability benefits if you are receiving them.
You are required to report any income that you are earning from work. Your wage-replacement benefits may be adjusted to reflect the new income. Remember, the purpose of disability benefits is to provide compensation for lost wages that you are unable to earn because of the injury.
What If I Had a Second Job Already?
If you were already working a second job prior to the workplace accident that triggered workers’ comp benefits, and you are able to continue working that job, then your benefits should not be affected.
You are generally allowed to maintain the same level of income from a second job that you were doing prior to being hurt at the other job.
Does NC Workers’ Comp Pay for Both Jobs After an Injury?
It is uncommon for workers’ compensation coverage to pay for lost wages suffered by an employee because they are unable to return to a second job. Instead, lost wages usually will only be paid based on the income and earnings from the job where the employee was injured.
If you have questions about this, consult with an attorney who can review your case and provide you with advice that’s personalized to you.
How Can Stewart Law Offices Help Me?
At Stewart Law Offices, we understand how confusing and frustrating the workers’ compensation system can be, especially if you are in a situation where your injuries are serious, your disabilities are severe or permanent, or you are working a second job or offered a new job with a different company. If you have questions about the process, we can help.
Services our workers compensation lawyers offer include:
- Answering any questions that you have about the workers’ compensation claims process
- Reviewing your case and providing you with advice and recommendations for how to proceed
- Appealing a denied workers’ compensation claim on your behalf
- Assisting you with requests from the insurance company, such as the request that you attend an IME (independent medical examination)
- Representing you if the doctor on your case says that you are ready to go back to work before you feel ready to do so
- Obtaining a second medical opinion
- Explaining your rights and responsibilities related to reporting income, working a second job, or looking for or starting a new job
- Representing you in a workers’ compensation hearing
- Negotiating for a workers’ compensation settlement
We are prepared to advocate for you and represent your best interests throughout the process.
Schedule Your Free Worker’s Comp Case Consultation Today
Navigating the workers’ compensation process and making sense of workers’ compensation benefits on your own can be overwhelming, especially if you have special circumstances, such as questions about working while on workers’ comp. At Stewart Law Offices, our NC workers’ compensation attorneys are here to assist you and make sure that you understand your rights and your options.
Our lawyers have years of experience and a track record of success. We aggressively represent our clients, get results, and are transparent and honest throughout the process. We work on a contingency fee basis, and we always offer free case consultations.