Workers’ compensation is not only available for wage replacement, but includes medical benefits which are still available if you don’t take any time off of work for your injury. Having said that, you can also receive wage reimbursement if you only work on a part time basis due to the injury.
Should You Work?
The decision to keep working through your job related injury should be made by your treating physician. Your doctor should review the extent of your injuries and decide whether it’s appropriate for you to continue in your position. He may determine that your continued employment should include limitations. For example:
Your doctor will determine if you are capable of continuing to work, working part time, or returning to work when you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. Your doctor will decide this based on your injuries and whether or not you can continue with or without limitations at your current job. In some cases, limitations are advised, such as avoiding a machine that exacerbates an injury, but being able to work on something else. Another example would be changing your job from a standing position to a seated position to adjust for limitations and doctor’s restrictions.
If you continue working, but work fewer hours, you can receive partial wage reimbursement. If you work the same hours, then you will not receive wage reimbursement, except for time off for doctor’s appointments, but you will still receive medical benefits.
Choosing A Part-Time Schedule
One option for many people who are suffering from workplace injuries is to return to work on a part-time basis. If your physician feels that this is a feasible options, then you can receive weekly benefits for the time that you are off work.
In North Carolina, you can receive 66 2/3% of your former weekly wages if you don’t return to work. If you return part time, you will receive 66 2/3% of the difference between your former weekly wage and your current weekly wage.
Should You Choose Work Over Workers’ Comp?
When you receive workers’ compensation payment reimbursement benefits, you start receiving a fraction of your former pay. This can make it seem much more attractive to continue working instead. Yet, you must consider the pros and cons of this decision. For example, you have to adhere to a statute of limitations on workers’ compensation claims. If you don’t file within that timeframe, you’ll lose your right to do so, even if your injuries do not improve or grow worse.
Also, if you use your own healthcare to cover your treatment and continue working, then you can’t change your mind later and file a claim for workers’ compensation. The insurance company would see this as evidence that your injuries were not related to work. Finally, if you never document and prove your work related injuries, then you will have nothing to go on if your employer illegally retaliates against you for a workplace accident and injury.