One of the goals of workers’ compensation insurance is to get you well and back to work as quickly as possible. You probably want this, too. However, if you have been seriously injured on the job, you may have questions about your ability to do the work you once did.
Depending on your job and the severity of your injury, you may be able to step right back into your old position. By law, your employer may not fire you just because you filed a claim for workers’ compensation. If your injury requires a prolonged recovery and you are unable to perform the tasks of your previous position, workers’ compensation will cover your vocational rehabilitation.
Getting back to work
Rehabilitation is a word you are likely familiar with. Part of the recovery process for many injuries includes physical rehabilitation. The purpose of these carefully planned and executed sessions is to help you regain your strength and agility in the wounded area of your body with the goal of returning to your pre-injury use.
Vocational rehabilitation is similar in that its goal is to help you return to the workforce and to get as close to your old position and earning status as possible. Rehabilitation may offer services such as the following:
- Helping you access reasonable on-the-job accommodations
- Testing to determine which of your skills transfer to other jobs
- Analyzing the job market
- Assisting with resume preparation and job applications
- Practicing your interview skills
- Helping with your job search
- Offering on-the-job training
- Paying your tuition for additional education and training
The most preferable outcome is to return you to the same company in the same position you held before your accident. However, if this is not possible, counselors and specialists will assist you in finding work as closely related to your skill set and previous experience as possible.
What are your responsibilities?
Your Louisiana employer is required to offer you the opportunity for vocational rehabilitation if your doctor determines you are ready to return to work but may not be ready for the full duties of your job. This may mean seeking compensation for lost wages if your lighter duty position also pays less. You may also feel that you are not receiving the quality of rehabilitation you need or that your employer is not responding to your requests for services at all, in which case you may need legal advice.
When vocational rehabilitation is offered, your only obligation is to accept and cooperate with the counselors whose job it is to assist you in any reasonable way to get you back to work. The more quality assistance you receive from your medical, vocational and legal support systems, the better the chances of your improvement.