What Happens With My Workers Comp If I Quit My Job?


Workplace injury claims can get complicated when workers change jobs during an open case. There is no set transition system in place to protect those who are receiving benefits, but breakdowns in communication can occur, and they often do. With unstable times in which we live, and especially in the high-demand job market, some who are injured on the job get offers of better employment during their injury rehabilitation period.

Additionally, some individuals actually quit their employment relationship, which can even further complicate a claim in some instances. Medical benefits and wage replacement benefits could quickly stop if the respondent insurance company or the employer attempts ceasing payments due to the employment transfer. There is any number of scenarios that could apply based on injury and employment details. Here are a few things to consider beforehand.

Remember that Workers Comp Benefits are “Portable”

The first thing all injured workers receiving disability benefits should remember is that their claim is portable for the most part. Even with a new employer, the former employer is still responsible for covering any injuries received while in their employ. However, making a move to return to work with a different employer could give the respondent employer a reason to stop paying workers comp benefits based on injury improvement proven by the ability to work on some level.

All jobs are different, and being able to perform a new position does not necessarily mean that one could return to work at their former position when becoming injured. Medical benefits should not be stopped under any circumstances, and weekly wage replacement benefits should continue also if the new position pays less than the old position. However, all that is owed could just be the differential in some successful counter-claims by employers.

Quitting Job After Workers Comp

One of the first issues that may arise when quitting your job after a workers comp claim is a stopping of weekly compensation benefits. Most workplace injury victims will not only be covered for medical bills for injuries resulting from the accident or incident, but they will be allowed wage replacement disability benefits as well.

Those with total disability situations will more than likely not return to work for any employer, but some may receive an offer of employment with less physical requirement that pays higher wages. These employees are usually classified as temporary partial disability claimants. Employers could use a voluntary termination of the employment relationship as a defense in requesting stoppage of medical coverage or wage replacement benefits, or both.

However, this is flawed thinking from the employer who primarily wants to be shed of the responsibility to cover the injury. The employer of fact at the time of the injury is the responsible party until the injury has rehabilitated as much as possible by determination of the treating physician or a so-called “independent” third-party medical professional.

Requests for third-party evaluation are not uncommon in high-value workers comp cases, and an experienced workers comp attorney will realize when the employer or insurance company is attempting to end liability or reduce the claim value. Quitting a job could give them that opportunity to request a stoppage of benefits.

Forced Resignations

Another scenario for an injured worker who receives disability benefits is being forced to resign under duress. Also known as coercion, any attempt of this type from an employer could well establish standing for a separate lawsuit regarding workplace harassment.

Any type of pressure applied by employers to encourage workers to return to work before the injury is healed or entice the injured worker to quit could be determined as harassment in a court of law. However, this typically does not apply in the workers comp injury settlement system.

Any worker who is being pressured by an employer into resigning under duress should contact an employment lawyer as soon as possible because evidence can evaporate quickly in some instances, and many times the employer will deny the situation is happening. Never resign from a position due to force, even when being blackmailed with a potential criminal charge or other ongoing problems due to bad work references in the future.

In addition, anyone who may be facing total disability and a claim with the Social Security Administration should never quit employ of any type because it could affect a disability ruling based on the amount of time it takes to resolve the dispute.

Options to Consider if Contemplating Quitting While Receiving Benefits

Aside from a potential total disability claim, those who will be able to return to work at some point or have found gainful employment with another employer should consult with a workers comp attorney before making the decision. Even for those receiving benefits from employers without legal counsel, retaining an attorney to negotiate a lump sum settlement for the injury is a good step toward being properly compensated before moving on in a new career.

Responsible employers are still liable to pay the difference in wages when switching to a lesser paying position along with being responsible for the downgrade in physical ability of the employee. General damages for pain-and-suffering are not available, but a schedule of limited usage allowance should be included at some point. A knowledgeable workers comp legal professional can handle this negotiation much more effectively and efficiently than the novice injured worker.

Always remember that employers want to avoid workers compensation claims at all costs when they can be rid of the responsibility, and injured workers only have one opportunity for financial justice regarding a workplace injury. In addition, the state workers compensation board could determine the worker is rehabilitated as well. The best option when wanting to switch occupations is usually a lump sum settlement for all remaining financial benefit responsibilities negotiated by a trained legal professional who understands the true value of an individual workers compensation claim.

Never quit a job unless it is absolutely necessary while receiving workers comp benefits. And even then, consult with an attorney before doing so.