The workers’ compensation system provides important benefits to injured workers in California. Under state law, most employers must provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees. The benefits provide medical care and a portion of the worker’s salary, as well as other benefits outlined in the policy regarding temporary and permanent disability.
If you are an injured employee collecting workers’ compensation benefits, you may be wondering what your rights are if you quit your job. Weigh your options carefully and consider speaking with a Long Beach workers’ compensation attorney before making any decisions regarding your employment status.
What Happens When You Quit Your Job on Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation benefits depend on your status of employment when the injury occurred. The good news is that under this policy, quitting your job will not immediately disqualify you for benefits. If you had a job at the time of the workplace accident and you qualify for benefits under California law, then a workplace injury should provide benefits. By law, your employer must pay for workers’ compensation insurance throughout the term of your employment, as long as you have been with the company for six months or longer.
When you quit your job while collecting benefits, however, matters can become complicated quickly. An employer will likely be quick to argue that you are no longer eligible for benefits since you left your employment voluntarily. Additionally, quitting a job can make you ineligible for California unemployment benefits.
The Three Basic Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits can vary based on the nature of your company’s policy. In general, however, three main benefits exist.
- Medical benefits
- Wage replacement benefits
- Permanent partial disability
Medical benefits pay for the care you receive related to a work injury, wage replacement benefits pay a portion of your salary, and permanent partial disability is an end payment you receive when a physician clears you to return to work. Quitting in the middle of a workers’ compensation claim can have a different effect on each of these benefits.
For example, an employer is generally still required to pay medical benefits, even when you quit in the middle of a claim. If your workplace payment results in a partial permanent disability, your payments may stop when you quit, depending on the terms of your policy. When you quit a position, you lose your right to wage replacement benefits.
Permanent Disabilities and Lump Sum Judgments
When a physician determines that a work-related accident caused a permanent injury, such as loss of mobility or loss of limb, then you may receive a permanent disability benefit. If you quit your job during this time, your employer may have to provide you with a lump sum to fulfill this benefit.
In some cases, you may choose to receive a lump sum settlement. An employment attorney generally negotiates with an employer’s insurance company to determine a fair lump sum settlement amount, and the insurance company will pay that to you upon termination of your employment.
In many cases, it does not make sense to quit in the middle of collecting workers’ compensation benefits. If you are in the process of finding work that is more suitable or that can accommodate a permanent injury, wait until the conclusion of your claim if possible. Since every situation is unique, it is helpful to have an employment attorney to review your case and provide further guidance about your legal options. In general, however, quitting a job in the middle of a workers’ compensation claim will cause you to lose your wage replacement benefits. Talk to an employment attorney and see if quitting is the right decision in your case.