One of the benefits of the strong jobs economy is that there are a lot of good jobs out there. Most people don’t have to stay in a bad job because a good paying job is available in many cases where you don’t have to have a crazy boss or toxic co-workers.
While I would never recommend that you stay in an unsafe or unhealthy work environment if you don’t have to, the timing of when you should leave needs to take in to account your workers’ compensation case if you have one.
Under Illinois work comp law, you get three main benefits: Payment of medical bills, payment for time off of work due to your injury and a settlement. In almost every case, if you quit, it won’t change your right to have medical benefits paid for by the work comp insurance company. The worry is that if you do take on a new job, that it will somehow aggravate your condition. If that happens, there will be a dispute as to who is responsible for your medical care and you may find your medical benefits get cut off temporarily while that gets sorted out.
The bigger and more common risk has to do with payment for time of work which is called TTD benefits. If you are hurt at work and have to take time off work for something like recovering from a surgery, you are compensated for that time. In many cases, your doctor says you can work, but with restrictions such as no lifting more than ten pounds. What we see a lot is someone quits a job and is given restrictions that never would have been accommodated had they not quit. Now the company says, “We would have had a job for them, but alas, they quit, so we aren’t going to pay them.” Regrettably they usually get away with it.
The point is that if you are going to be off work for any significant period of time, quitting is probably not the right call unless you know you will have a new job that you won’t have to miss any time from.
Even then, it’s possible that quitting could reduce your ultimate settlement by tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of the factors that goes in to what your case is worth is whether or not you can return to your old job. If you voluntarily leave that removes that factor from the equation. And if your injury becomes so severe that you’ve suffered a significant wage loss, you might lose your right to compensation for that. It’s not that you won’t get a settlement. You will. It just might not be for as much.
Every case is different of course. My advice is to have a free, confidential consultation with an attorney before you make any decision. If you’d like to do that with us, please call us any time at 888-705-1766. We help everywhere in Illinois.