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A closer look at vocational rehabilitation

| Sep 20, 2019 | Workers' Compensation

An accident at work can happen so fast, and yet it can change someone’s life permanently.

Sadly, many workplace accidents leave employees facing permanent illnesses or disabilities. These injuries can prevent workers from enjoying their life and everyday activities.

They can also keep individuals out of work and prevent them from providing for their family. And this can cause a lot of stress to weigh on someone’s shoulders.

Fortunately, employees can collect workers’ compensation benefits to cover their medical expenses and lost wages. But these benefits can also help injured employees find gainful work again.

An important note

We have recently discussed this topic in a past blog post. And it is critical to note that this benefit involves several complex details. So, it might be beneficial for individuals to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to fully understand their rights and the process.

However, we can take a quick look at the personalized rehabilitation injured employees could receive.

You could be entitled to vocational rehabilitation

If a work injury leaves individuals with permanent injuries or disabilities, Maryland law allows covered employees to receive vocational rehabilitation (Maryland Code, Labor and Employment §9-672). These disabilities, ranging from a traumatic brain injury to the loss of a limb, can prevent individuals from returning to their original job.

For example, a serious fall on a construction site could leave a worker paralyzed from the waist down. This permanent injury could require them to use a wheelchair. And it is unlikely that they would be able to return to construction work. 

Therefore, counselors will work with employees to find new gainful work.

But you must obtain a plan to find a new job

Counselors who provide vocational rehabilitation services will:

  • Interview workers to understand their skills and abilities
  • Examine the individual’s work history and experience
  • Review the worker’s medical records to determine their needs

Then, they will create a detailed plan that is customized to meet that individual’s skills and past experience, as well as their current needs.

These counselors will always try to find work that:

  • Relates to the employee’s original field or field of choice
  • Has a similar salary to the previous job

However, if that is not possible, workers can receive training to work in a new field (Maryland Code, Labor and Employment § 9-673). The Workers’ Compensation Commission must approve any plan before individuals can move forward. But usually, this personalized plan can help individuals find meaningful work again and continue to provide for their families even after a severe work injury has changed their life.

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