After a serious workplace accident, a worker may be partially disabled, suffering from severe back pain for instance, and unable therefore to return to his or her former position. Under North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act, the employer’s insurance carrier has the option to engage a vocational rehabilitation professional who is trained to assist the impaired worker in finding suitable employment.
The goal, of course, is to help you find work that you are physically and mentally able to execute, to make sure you are back earning wages while the insurance carrier can stop paying your benefits. It should be a win-win situation.
Things often don’t work out that way. The job opportunities aren’t real, and you may be under increased pressure to sign for employment in a job you will not keep longer than a few months. Refusing “suitable work”, on the other hand, may cost you your benefits. What are you supposed to do?
Don’t meet with a vocational rehabilitation counselor without a workers’ comp lawyer at your side.
The Industrial Commission (IC) allows the first meeting to take place at your attorney’s office. At this meeting, the counselor will soon find out that he or she has to play by the rules set up by the Industrial Commission, and your lawyer will make sure that you fully cooperate with the counselor to find a new job. Both aspects are essential:
The vocational rehabilitation process is truly where your future is being decided. You do not want to blow your chances and risk financial ruin. Rules are complex, and the participants do not always play fair. You will need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to guide you through the process.
If you have been the victim of a workplace accident, contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us locally 757-455-8889 or toll-free 888-694-1674 or send us an e-mail for a FREE, no commitment discussion of your case.