Workers' compensation coverage provides assistive benefits to an injured worker. Benefits include medical treatment and payments for lost time at work. Disability payments classify in one of three categories: temporary, partial permanent or permanent disability. While recuperating from injury you are entitled to receive these benefits. But if you quit while receiving temporary disability payments, you may no longer be eligible to receive payments.
Regardless of whether you quit or not, you will still be entitled to receive medical treatment for a workers' compensation injury as long as the doctor indicates you need treatment. Workers' compensation insurance, adjudicated and managed at the state level, offers different types of payments and benefits, state-to-state, though similarities exist between the states. When doctors place work restrictions on you for an work-related injury that keeps you home, you will receive "lost time" payments.
Termporary Disability Payments
Temporary disability payments help supplement lost wages of a worker who is recovering from an injury suffered on the job. If you quit while receiving TD payments, you lose the right to receive those payments, because you have quit the job. You do not lose the right to continue to receive medical treatment as long as the doctor warrants the treatment.
Partial Permanent Payments
Injuries that result in a partial permanent injury also receive payments in addition to the TD payments when the worker cannot return to work. These payments last as long as the doctor reports the injury's work restrictions and you cannot work. If you quit while receiving these benefits, the payments may end, but you may still be entitled to a permanent disability settlement if the doctor rates you permanently disabled.
Those workers who incur permanent disabilities on the job are entitled to receive payments or lump sum settlements, depending upon the state in which they live, according to a set ratings schedule used by the state. Some states use the American Medical Association Disability Ratings guide to ascertain the level of permanent disability. Other states use the Medical Impairment Report from the doctor that establishes a rate of disability. Payments or lump sum settlements occur only after an injured worker's condition has stabilized. After such a report is made by the doctor, the claims examiner will make an offer of permanent disability payments or lump sum settlement. Your quitting does not relieve the authority of its obligation, but may affect TD and PPD payments over the short term.
If you are receiving TD payments, unless you have another job, it's a good idea to wait until you've been released to return to work before quitting. This ensures you receive the maximum benefits entitled to you as an injured worker under law. It is best to consult with a workers' compensation attorney familiar with the laws in your state if you have a permanent disability, to ensure that you receive the maximum benefits.
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.