A workplace injury can have a profound impact on your life. Sure, you might be unable to work for a significant period of time, which can leave you without much needed income, but you’ll also have to face what is often a devastating amount of medical and rehabilitation expenses. All of this can leave you uncertain about your future as you struggle to find a way to make ends meet.
The good news is that the workers’ compensation system may be able to give you the financial relief that you need. These benefits are aimed at giving you financial support until you recover to the point that you’re able to return to work. But what if your injuries prevent you from returning to your former position? What can you do then?
Can your employer fire you?
Not necessarily. Although your employer isn’t required to hold your job for you, you should be given preference to fill a position if you lost your position due to a workplace injury, you’re now able to return to work and you’re qualified for the position. In other words, if you suffered an on-the-job injury, your employer should give you priority when hiring for a position as long as you’re qualified for it.
Of course, in order to show that you’re qualified for a position, you’re going to have to address your injuries. This may mean getting clearance from your doctor as well as specifying any limitations of your work abilities.
Don’t be afraid of how your disability may impact your job
If your workplace injuries resulted in a partial disability, you should be provided with equal employment opportunities. Therefore, you shouldn’t be immediately disqualified from a position simply because of your medical condition. Instead, you should have a conversation with your employer in which you specify how you’re able to meet a job’s basic functions and any reasonable accommodations that you might need. Since you should be given preferential treatment for a position, your disability shouldn’t put you at a disadvantage.
Are you covered under a contract or union agreement?
If you signed an employment contract or are part of a union that operates under an active agreement with your employer, the terms of that agreement should take precedence. Here, you’ll likely see greater protections in your ability to secure an alternate position if you can’t return to your old job. So, make sure you know what your contract or agreement says so that you can take the action that’s best for you.
Are you ready to take the steps necessary to protect your future?
Even if you can’t return to your old job, there are options available to you. You just have to know how to properly navigate them so that you can protect your interests. This means knowing the law and how to use it to your advantage.
That’s easier said than done, of course, which is why you might find it beneficial to work closely with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of workers’ compensation law. One of these legal professionals can help guide you through the process so that you can increase your chances of accessing the financial resources that you need while you recover. One of these attorneys might be able to help you navigate the road back to work, too, which can be trickier than you expect.
Hopefully by doing that, you can reclaim your normal life and get yourself back on track to some semblance of normalcy. If that sounds good to you, please consider taking the time necessary to vet your representation options and what each has to offer you.