In 2011, North Carolina passed a revised Workers’ Compensation Law. One of the changes makes it easier for vocational rehabilitation professionals to help the insurance carrier cut off worker benefits. There are two key time frames from the point of view of the law. The first is before the worker reaches maximum medical improvement. (MMI) The second is after the client reaches maximum medical improvement.
Before the Worker Reaches MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement).
Some workers may be released to work with restrictions before they reach MMI. The vocational rehabilitation professional will now do everything possible to find suitable employment with restrictions. “Suitable employment” now means work within your restrictions which may be “rehabilitative” or “noncompetitive.” This means that these folks can pretty much make you do anything that your doctor approves, even if they “make up” a job for you, and even if it pays far less than you were making before you got hurt.
Before you reach MMI, the vocational work professional will essentially try to trip up the worker by making it hard or impossible for the work to timely prepare for job interviews or schedule meetings. When a worker fails to follow through with the vocational rehabilitation worker or fails to take a qualifying job, no matter how small the pay, the insurance company defense lawyers will then step in and try to disqualify the worker from any worker’s compensation benefits.
After your doctor declares that you have reached MMI, then the definition of “suitable employment,” even under the new law, becomes somewhat more restrictive. It must be employment you are capable of performing considering your pre-existing and injury-related physical and mental limitations, vocational skills, education, and experience, and is located within a 50-mile radius of your residence.
North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Joe Miller Knows Vocational Rehabilitation Dangers
Many employers try to get the vocational rehabilitation professional to be particularly annoying and make the worker jump through numerous ‘hoops,’ in the hopes that the workers will balk. It may also be done to encourage the worker to engage in a settlement or give the insurance company a reason to terminate benefits. Injured North Carolina workers need a lawyer who knows how vocational rehabilitation professionals operate. Joe Miller Esq. is that lawyer. He’s been helping injured workers get their benefits and properly settle claims for over 25 years. Call Joe Miller Law today at 888-694-1671, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit the online form.