Vocational rehabilitation benefits are one of the benefit types that is available to injured workers who are injured in a workplace accident. These potential benefits may be awarded in addition to payment of related medical expenses, lost earnings, and permanency benefits. The primary goal of vocational rehabilitation is to get a worker back into the workforce after suffering a serious, debilitating, and often permanent injury that prevents him/her from being able to work in the same career or line of work.
An injury is considered permanent when a worker reaches a level of maximum medical improvement (the condition is not expected to improve), and a doctor determines that the worker will suffer from the injury for the remainder of his/her life.
If you have suffered an injury in a workplace accident, it is essential that you have skilled legal representation in your corner from the very beginning of your case. A knowledgeable OC workers’ compensation lawyer can assess your eligibility for filing a claim. Your lawyer will then do everything he or she can to maximize your compensation and benefits, including vocational rehabilitation benefits.
Eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
In order for an injured worker to be eligible to recover vocational rehabilitation benefits as part of a California workers’ comp claim, the worker must be an employee and must have suffered an on-the-job injury that took place while performing a work function or duty. Construction workers, builders, and others who must work around heavy equipment and machinery daily are the most likely to suffer serious injuries while they are on the job. Similarly, if they become completely incapacitated following a jobsite accident, they are the least likely to be able to return to their pre-injury jobs and perform their pre-injury work functions.
What are Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits?
When a worker suffers a serious injury on the job, such as a brain injury, they might not be able to work for a significant period of time after their accident. The purpose of vocational rehabilitation benefits is to allow the worker to get back on his or her feet, both literally and figuratively. As part of vocational rehabilitation, the worker could receive occupational and physical therapy, as well as career counseling – to enable the worker to find a different job and be able to provide for himself/herself again.
Some workers suffer jobsite injuries that are so severe that they cannot return to the same job or line of work. When that occurs, a career counselor could assist the injured worker with job placement and/or with transitioning into a completely different career.
A knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer in California will be able to assess your situation and determine if you might be eligible to recover vocational rehabilitation benefits as part of your compensation case. If you are eligible, your lawyer can pursue those benefits on your behalf and work to maximize the other types of compensation and benefits you may be eligible to recover in your case.