What Happens to Your Temporary Partial Disability Payments If Your Employer Lays You Off?
Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits can be a boon both to workers and to their employers. They enable workers to stay connected to their careers while recovering from their injuries, and they reduce the amount of money that workers’ compensation insurance must pay until the worker can return to their pre-accident job. When all goes well, the employee returns to their pre-accident job once a workers’ compensation doctor medically clears the employee to do so. At that point, the employee starts receiving their pre-accident wages or salary again and stops receiving TPD benefits. What happens if the employee’s position is terminated during the TPD period? Then things get more complicated. If you were let go from your job while receiving TPD in connection to a work injury, contact a South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer.
How TPD Arrangements Can Go Wrong
If you receive temporary partial disability benefits after a work injury, two assumptions apply. One is that you will eventually be able to return to the work duties you used to perform before the accident (hence “temporary). The other is that you are still able to work in some capacity until you receive medical clearance to return to your old job (hence “partial”). Usually, it is the responsibility of the employer to reassign the employee to tasks that he or she is able to perform while recovering from the work injury; these light duty tasks often pay less than the employee’s pre-accident work, but TPD makes up some or all of the difference. If your employer does not give you a new assignment after you notify them of which tasks, according to your doctor, you can still perform, then you should ask your employer directly about it.
Disputes and misunderstandings can occur about whose responsibility it is to make the arrangements for temporary work tasks. For example, a Miami pharmaceutical representative named Vivian injured her neck, back, and legs in a fall at work in September 2007. While recuperating, Vivian received TPD payments, but her employer did not give her a new work assignment. When the case reached the judge of compensation claims, the employer argued that it was Vivian’s responsibility to conduct a job search, but she did not do this.
What happens when your employment ends while you are receiving TPD? It depends. If you are fired, you lose your TPD benefits. (The decision in Vivian’s case refers to this as “if the employment is terminated due to misconduct.”) Vivian was not fired, though. Instead, she was laid off, along with hundreds of other workers, in a restructuring that occurred while she was receiving TPD. The appeals court ruled that this was not a reason to end Vivian’s TPD payments prematurely.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
You may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if you can still work while injured. A Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer can help you sort out the details. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld for help today.