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Injured workers and their rehabilitation rights

When the term "rehabilitation" is used in conjunction with workers' compensation, it can mean two things. First, it can mean helping an injured worker overcome his or her injury through rehabilitative care or physical therapy.

Second, it can mean "vocational" rehabilitation. This type of rehabilitation helps make it possible for injured workers to learn a new job if they are not able to return to the job where they were injured.

The type and amount of vocational rehabilitation differ from state to state. It can include:

-- On-the-job training

-- Job testing and transferable skills analysis

-- Job application and resume services

-- Interview techniques and skills assistance

-- Job analysis

-- Labor market surveys

-- Vocational rehabilitation counseling

-- Ergonomics assessments

-- Reasonable accommodation assistance for workers who have become disabled

-- Education for retraining and tuition payments

Injured employees have a responsibility to "accept" the vocational rehabilitation. They must cooperate and make an effort to learn the new skills needed to return to work. In California, employees must make a request for the training, but they have 15 years to do so.

If an injured worker refuses to participate in vocational rehabilitation, workers' compensation an worker benefits, including wages, may be suspended.

If you have suffered an on-the-job injury, your employer should be responsible for providing you with the additional support you need to return to work. This can include paying for tuition, travel, room and board, living expenses and child care. An experienced attorney can help you reach your rehabilitation goals, either for this job or the next one.

Source: FindLaw, "Rehabilitation Rights of Injured Workers," accessed June 09, 2017

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