After a debilitating workplace injury, an injured employee may need to re-analyze their career path, and new job skills may have to be learned along the way. There may be resources to help you accomplish this. Vocational training helps injured workers, who can no longer perform the work they did before their injury, re-train and educate them for new occupations. To find out more about this valuable tool, contact our office today.
What Is Vocational Rehabilitation?
When an employee is injured on the job, they have the right to seek vocational rehabilitation benefits. Their former employer will pay for their re-education, possibly in an entirely different field, for up to two years. During this time period, the injured employee can continue to receive wage replacement through workers’ compensation. However, to continue receiving benefits, the employee must show continued progress in their program. Unfortunately, some employers will attempt to cut off benefits even to former employees who are upholding their end of the bargain by succeeding in the rehabilitation program. An attorney is usually required in this circumstance.
Employers Shall Pay for Vocational Rehabilitation Only When it is Deemed Necessary
According to most state laws, employers are responsible for paying for treatment, instruction and training necessary for the physical, mental and vocational rehabilitation of the employee that is needed after a job-related injury or illness. Proving that the training is “necessary” can be difficult, however.
Proof That Rehabilitation is Necessary Falls on the Shoulders of the Injured Employee
Receiving workers’ compensation benefits to pay for vocational rehabilitation can be difficult, as the burden of proof that vocational rehabilitation is necessary lies with the injured employee. There are certain criteria that courts in the majority of states tend to follow when determining if vocational training is necessary. The following criteria may be analyzed to determine if training is acceptable in your specific case:
· Costs and benefits of the program
· Work-life expectancy
· Motivation and ability of the employee to participate in the program
· Has the employee failed or succeeded in previous rehabilitation programs?
· Did the injury cause a reduced earning capacity?
· Will rehabilitation increase the employee’s earning capacity?
· Likelihood that employment will be obtained after the program is completed
· Existence of employee’s current skills and education that could result in employment without rehabilitation
Contact a Vocational Rehabilitation Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you were injured on the job and believe that vocational rehabilitation is the right choice for a fresh start to a new future, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, GA, like the attorneys at Tillman & Associates to get more information about the right steps for your situation.