Why do I have to look for another job if I got injured at work?

Injured workers are oftentimes surprised to find out that they do not automatically get paid workers’ compensation if they can’t do their old job due to their injury.  In Virginia, if you get hurt at work and a physician or other qualified medical professional writes you out of work totally, you will likely get paid full workers’ comp wages while you are unable to work, assuming the accident was in the course of your employment and arising out of your employment.  However, if you are given a “light duty” or other restricted duty release and your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions, you might find yourself without income.  This seems very unfair.

Unfortunately, this is the how things are in Virginia at the moment.  You will need to start “marketing” (looking for a job) as soon as possible.  The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWCC) has Guidelines for Marketing (https://workcomp.virginia.gov/documents/marketing-guidelines) which includes signing up with the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) and tips on how to go about “marketing.”  Use these guidelines!  Generally, you must show you are making a “reasonable effort” at finding a job within your restrictions.  This can include showing proof that you’ve looked for at least 5 jobs per week and that you have documented your efforts in writing.  The VEC only requires 2 job searches per week.  Please make sure you are aware of the greater requirements imposed by the VWCC. Insurance lawyers will often challenge your marketing efforts and claim you weren’t making a reasonable effort.  Of course, it is always wise to seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer for individualized advice and guidance on how to go about “marketing” for workers’ comp.

The statements contained herein are for general information purposes only and are not considered specific legal advice to your situation as Mr. Shoen would need to meet with you individually to ensure client confidentiality and would need additional information not provided in this article. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

To learn more about the Law Office of Darren Shoen, or to speak with a lawyer, visit their website at shoenlaw.com.


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