If you’re like most people, you probably plan your vacations well in advance, and you look forward to the trip for weeks and months. But what happens if something unfortunate happens, like you suffer an injury at work and are forced to collect workers’ compensation? Should you still go on that trip, or could doing so jeopardize your payment opportunity?
Work Comp and Vacations
There’s a case to be made for taking a vacation if you’re injured and for cancelling the trip. Nobody wants to cancel a vacation, especially if you’ve already booked non-refundable options, but the last thing your company and their insurance company is going to want to see is pictures of you sucking down margaritas on a beach while they are cutting you injury checks. There’s also the argument that a vacation is exactly what you need after a work injury. After all, what better way to rest, relax and heal than by laying in a hammock near the beach?
Here’s where the issues come in, and there’s two main reasons why it goes against better judgment to go on a vacation while you’re collecting workers’ compensation. For starters, there’s the basic thought that if you are healthy enough to go on vacation, you’re healthy enough to go to work. Now, we’re not saying that your vacation and your construction job are similar in nature, but many vacations are more active than you may realize.
Whether you’re walking across the park and standing in long lines at Disney World or you’re seeing who can ski down the mountain the fastest, many vacations have some physical components that likely go against the restrictions set forth by your doctor. If there’s evidence that you breached the physical restrictions set by your doctor while on vacation, or the insurance company can argue that your ability to take part in certain aspects of the vacation suggest you are less injured than your medical rating indicates, your benefits could be reduced or even eliminated.
The second issue at play is that a vacation may result in your inability to make all of your doctor or physical therapy appointments. When the insurance company sees that you missed an appointment, they think one of two things; either that you have healed to the point that you believe you no longer need therapy, and thus your benefits should be reduced or stopped, or that you’re actively trying to prolong your recovery in order to receive more compensation, which means they’ll try to create a case to alter your benefits. Missing regular appointments is going to set in motion a plan from the insurance company to attempt to reduce or stop your work comp payments one way or another.
What Should You Do?
If you have a vacation planned and you’re currently collecting workers’ compensation or are in the process of applying for compensation, you’re going to want to think long and hard about taking that vacation. The first thing you’ll want to do is get the opinion of your workers’ compensation lawyer. They’ll be able to assess your individual case and help determine if the vacation is something you can do, or if it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in payments. They’ll assess your medical rating and may even work with your doctor to ensure that if you go on the vacation, you don’t end up hurting your case.
Speaking of hurting your case, the following information is important for anyone who is collecting workers’ compensation, regardless of whether or not you’re taking a vacation – be smart about what you put on social media. If your boss, a co-worker or an investigator for the insurance company sees a photo of you shoveling the sidewalk, even though you’re collecting payments for a spine injury, it could lead to the termination of your benefits. If there’s any chance what you’re doing could be used against you in a work comp case, do not post it online. Far too many cases have been tanked because people overshared online.
So if you have questions about an upcoming trip while you’re collecting payments, or you need help with any other aspect of your workers’ compensation case, reach out to the experienced team of lawyers at Hey Workers today.