Being injured on the job, especially if it’s one you’re already not happy with, can make a bad situation even worse.
A common question we get asked by injured workers is whether they can still draw workers’ compensation benefits if they quit your job.
As with many things in the legal world, the answer is complicated.
First and foremost, you can quit your job at any time in Arizona—including while you’re receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, you should only do so AFTER you’ve consulted an experienced workers’ compensation attorney since it’s important to fully understand what impact (if any) leaving your job will have on the vital financial payments you are receiving.
It is understandable that many workers who are injured on the job feel that they need to quit their job after a workplace injury—perhaps because the workplace is unsafe or there is hostility on the part of their boss and/or coworkers.
Additionally, some workers may need to quit after an injury because they can’t perform their job anymore and light-duty work may not be available.
Whatever your reason for quitting your job, the short answer to this question about receiving workers’ comp benefits after leaving a job is yes… and no.
Yes, you will continue to receive medical benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). However, quitting your job means that you will forfeit the right to draw benefits for lost wages or disability.
Here are some helpful tips for workers who want to quit their job after an injury:
- Make sure you have another job lined up before you quit the one you were injured at. Doing so will allow you to weigh your new job against your old one.
- Wait to quit until the workers’ compensation doctor has told you that you’ve achieved “maximum medical improvement,” unless the new job you’re taking is a much better opportunity than the one you’re leaving.
- Speak with an attorney who is experienced with workers’ compensation law.
What happens if I get a new job when I have an open worker’s work comp claim?
Again, it depends on a case-by-case situation.
Since you’re entitled to medical benefits regardless of where you work, the workers’ compensation insurer should continue to pay for your medical care as long as you’re able to comply with your treating physician’s orders.
However, you’re likely to see a drastic reduction in your indemnity benefits. The insurer could also stop wage loss benefits entirely if your employer claims that they would have provided you with a light-duty position.
Other important considerations
You should also consider the impact that your injury could have on your pursuit of a new job. You’ll need to disclose your injury to any potential new employer, as well as the workers’ compensation insurance company early on in your employment process. Failure to disclose this information could lead your new employer to deny any workers’ compensation claim you may have to file with them on the basis that you had an injury prior to your employment.
An occupational injury can hurt more than just your body; it can also devastate your finances and your ability to provide for your family.