This isn’t the most common question we get, but I do hear it about once a month.  The answer is that yes you can still get workers’ compensation benefits, but that doesn’t mean you should quit.


If you hurt your back for example, you might realize quickly that your days of heavy lifting on the job are over.  So if an opportunity comes up to get a job with similar pay and no physical risks, you can take it.  The insurance company for the old employer will still have to pay your medical bills.  However, unless you are completely taken off of work (from perhaps a surgery), they won’t have to pay you TTD benefits.


The danger comes in when you quit and go to a job with similar risks of injury.  If you hurt your back and then go to a job with heavy lifting, if you aggravate your condition, the first case might come to a halt and you’d be forced to bring a case against the new employer.  They’d probably fight the case too and you’d find yourself without any benefits. 


This can also be a risk when it comes to getting a settlement.  A new injury lowers the value of the first case and certainly delays your ability to get paid.  And even without a new injury, leaving the employer can cause your case to lose some value and it certainly can take away leverage you’d have in settlement negotiations.  The facts of your case determine whether or not this is truly a big deal.


I typically advise clients of the risks, but remind them that they have to live their lives.  Sometimes taking a risk is part of that.  Hopefully it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.  And the truth is that while you are more likely to get injured in a labor job, we’ve worked with tons of office workers who got hurt moving a box, slipping on a wet floor or doing any number of other things.  We’ve also talked to iron workers who’ve been on the job for 40 years without a claim.  You never know what’s going to happen.


So my advice is that you should live your life, but educate yourself and never make this decision without talking to an attorney first.  You don’t want to quit and cause yourself harm that could have been easily avoided.

We are workers’ compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

By Michael Helfand