What Are The Vocational Rehabilitation Rights Of Injured Workers?
In a regular personal injury case, if your injuries impact your ability to work and your condition is such that you can no longer do your job and will not be able to do it in the future due to the limitations of your condition, compensation is adjusted accordingly so that this change in status can be accounted for. One of the benefits of workers’ compensation is that if an injury happens in the course of your work and it results in a condition that no longer allows you to do your previous job, vocational rehabilitation is provided.
If you think you may be in a situation where you will no longer be able to perform your previous job and think you may need vocational rehabilitation, reach out to one of our attorneys to discuss the process.
What Is Vocational Rehabilitation?
You don’t have to have a permanent change in your ability to work to benefit from vocational rehabilitation. Any work-related injury or illness that restricts you from doing your original job for a long period of time qualifies you for this skills change. The process involves learning new skills or building upon existing skills to move into another position. This retraining process takes into account your limitations and focuses on skills that you can still perform well.
Every situation is different, and the amount and type of vocational rehabilitation available to you may vary depending on a variety of factors, including:
- The length of your injury or illness
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- State regulations
Consulting an experienced lawyer about the process early on in your workers’ compensation case is crucial to ensuring that you get the support you need to move forward after your accident.
What Types Of Rehabilitation Are Available?
Depending on your condition and the positions available at your company, your vocational rehabilitation options may differ. You may be eligible for on-the-job training or simply need to test through a transferable skills analysis before moving onto a different position.
Alternatively, there may not be any positions you are able to perform at your current employer, so a job analysis might be performed and you could receive job search assistance, counseling, interview coaching, and resume and job application assistance. Education and tuition payments for retraining may even be available.
Employee And Employer Responsibility
As an employee, it is important that you partake in vocational rehabilitation if you are able to do so, and in many cases you are considered to have a responsibility to do so. Cooperating with vocational rehabilitation efforts shows that you are attempting to gain suitable employment and retain your eligibility for workers’ compensation. Otherwise you may risk losing your benefits.
Similarly, your employer must offer certain rehabilitation concessions to you such as counseling or payment of tuition, child care, travel, living expenses and other costs related to your wage loss while you participate in the program. Call our offices at (312) 781-1977 to discuss your options.