A lawyer who dabbles in workers’ compensation contacted me for advice on one of her client’s cases.  I thought it was an interesting scenario so I’m sharing it with you.

She is representing a construction worker who injured his back and can not perform his normal job which regularly requires lifting more than 50 pounds.  So right now he’s receiving TTD benefits.

The money isn’t the problem.  The problem is that he’s going stir crazy sitting around and not working.  He tells his lawyer he feels gross collecting money while not doing anything.  He wants to accept a job at a friend’s business that would be within his restrictions with the understanding that when he’s all better he’ll go back to his normal job.

Few thoughts here:

1. This guy isn’t on welfare. He’s a hard worker who is protected by the law after being injured in a very risky job.

2. His stance is admirable.  I respect people who want to work. At the same time he needs to be careful. If the new job aggravates his injury in any way, the insurance company for the first injury will cut off his benefits.  There is nothing more important than your health and while I get that sitting around doing nothing sucks, if you get worse you might find yourself facing surgery and being on the sideline for months or longer.

3. If he does start working the new job, his TTD benefits will likely end or be cut.  That’s manageable, but again if you get re-injured those benefits could go away.

4. I’d also suggest that he consult with his doctor before making any decisions.

5. In general I would advise people against doing this because of the risks involved, but if you are going to do it, make it an educated decision.

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t respect this guy enough. But the job of a lawyer who is looking out for his/her client is to think about what’s best for them long term.  And long term it’s probably best to just get as healthy as he can and then make a job decision.