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Rehabilitation rights for workers injured on the job

If you suffer an injury on the job, then your employer's workers' compensation coverage usually covers the expenses related to your injury and compensates you for other forms of loss caused by the accident.

However, with most injuries, even with proper medical care at the time of the accident, the healing process still takes a long time, and may take longer than your employer prefers. When you are eventually able to return to work, you may find that you cannot perform the same tasks that you could before the injury.

In cases like these, a worker who cannot return to the same position can usually take advantage of vocational rehabilitation through the employer or in conjunction with them. Of course, like every other benefit of workers' compensation, what an employer first offers is not always the best they can do.

If you recently suffered a workplace injury and believe that you sustained some type of ongoing disability from it, you can speak to an experienced workers' compensation attorney to understand all of the benefits you can expect. With some professional guidance, you can make sure you don't miss out on high-quality vocational rehabilitation or other benefits.

What does my employer have to do for me?

Without knowing the full extent of your particular injury, it is not possible to know exactly what your employer must do for you. Your employer's obligations may vary depending on the severity of your injury and the type of injury you suffer.

However, it is possible to outline the basics of what an employer may face. When an employee is injured and misses a significant mount of days at work, such as 60 days, then the employer must offer the employee vocational rehabilitation services.

In broad strokes, vocational rehabilitation services help an injured employee find another, more suitable job. This may include helping an employee practice interviewing skills, polish up a resume, identify a new career path and help searching for actual positions.

What do I have to do?

In California, employees must request vocational rehabilitation services, but have up to 15 years to do so after the accident.

As an employee, you are generally required to accept the vocational rehabilitation your employer offers you. If you object to some aspect of the vocational rehabilitation, then you should consult with an experienced attorney to determine a strong path forward that protects your rights and your future.

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Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to 5 years in prison or up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

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