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Do I Have To Take Time Off For Work Injury?

Are you required to take time off, or use vacation time during workers’ comp?

Workers’ compensation does not depend on your taking time off of work. You can still receive medical benefits if you continue to work following your injury. If you choose to work on a part time basis, you may receive wage reimbursement, along with medical benefits. If you’re asked to quit your job or take time off, you should consult with a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney about your case.

The Decision to 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:

  • If working at a certain machine exacerbates your injury, the doctor may clear you to work as long as you do not perform any duties at that particular machine.
  • If you normally spend the majority of your day standing, the doctor may clear you to work as long as you are allowed to work from a seated position.

If you decide to continue working on the same schedule you worked before your injury, your workers’ compensation benefits will cover the cost of your medical expenses, but will not receive lost time weekly benefits. However, you may receive reimbursement for time you miss from work while attending doctor’s appointment of other medical treatments.

A Part-Time Schedule

Another possible schedule change is working on a part time basis. You and your physician may determine that it is appropriate for you to continue working, as long as you only do so on a part time basis, for a few hours a day. If this is the case, you may receive lost time weekly benefits only for the time that you are away from work.

Under North Carolina law, lost time wages are paid at a rate of 66 ⅔ percent of your average weekly wages. If you are continuing to work part time, your amount of coverage is calculated based on the amount of wages you are not receiving due to your part time employment.

Work Instead of Workers’ Compensation

Due to the partial payment of workers’ compensation, you may find it more attractive to continue working and collect your regular pay, rather than filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, this decision can result in negative consequences.

  • There is a statute of limitations for the filing of a workers’ compensation claim. Failure to file your claim prior to the expiration of the statute can prevent you from ever filing it, even if your injuries persist or worsen.
  • If you continue working and use your health insurance to pay for medical treatment, you cannot later decide to seek workers’ compensation. The insurance company can use the  usage of your health insurance provider against you as proof that your injuries are not work related.
  • If your employer takes retaliatory actions against you, there is no proof of your work related injuries to demonstrate that your employer acted in bad faith.

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