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Can I sue for compensation if I’ve lost my job or career opportunities after an injury?

If a person’s job or career progress is dependent on their health, an injury can leave them in a disruptive predicament. However, if one is able to prove that they would have kept their job had the accident not occurred or would have been entitled to new job opportunities; they may recover either temporary total disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, or back pay.


Who is entitled to Temporary Total Disability?


You can seek temporary total disability benefits if you lose your ability to work or pursue a career opportunity due to a work-related injury. Your doctor will determine whether you are in a position to return to work or not. The doctor will issue you with a note indicating how long you are supposed to remain at home to recuperate from your injuries.


Benefits of Temporary Total Disability Payments


You are entitled to receive TTD benefits until any of the following happens:


  • Your doctor says you are fit to resume work
  • Your doctor says you have suffered a permanent disability and there is no hope for improvement
  • Two years after collecting disability benefits

When your doctor tells you that you have attained maximum medical improvement, you will stop receiving TTD benefits. After suffering permanent impairment or a limitation on the way you work, you will begin to receive permanent disability payments. Some states extend TTD payments for certain conditions like severe burns, amputations, HIV, hepatitis, lung diseases, and eye injuries.


TTD benefits are usually two thirds of one’s average weekly income up to a weekly maximum. For example, in California, the weekly maximum is $1,074.64 as of 2015. An additional benefit of TTD benefits is that they are not taxable.


Who is entitled to Permanent Disability Benefits?


You are entitled to permanent disability benefits if your medical condition is stable and fixed. Therefore, as long as there are curative options available or your physician thinks your condition may improve over time, you may not be entitled to permanent disability benefits. However, you are legible for a lifetime pension after your treatment is finalized.


Benefits for Permanent Disability Compensation


When you qualify for permanent disability benefits, you receive a regular payment of a fixed amount. You may get the payment once a month or twice a month or a schedule set out by the laws in your state. The amount is bound to increase periodically depending on the rising cost of living.


Permanent disability benefits entitle you to continued medical benefits but only up to the time you start getting lifetime pension compensation.


When Are You Entitled to Back Pay?


If your employer lays you off due to your injuries you are entitled to back pay benefits. Back pay is calculated starting from the time you were laid off to the time of the court’s ruling. Back pay involves overtime, raises, interest, and shift differentials. Back pay includes all the salary, wages, commissions, bonuses, and benefits you lost due to unlawful discrimination or dismissal minus the amount you are able to earn during this period. This offset is called mitigation.


Therefore, even if you are laid off from work due to your injuries you are supposed to make some effort to mitigate your losses. This means you should show some effort on your part that you tried to seek for employment before making a claim for back pay benefits. Basically, in these cases a discharged worker is supposed to:


  • Make reasonable effort towards finding employment
  • Accept employment that is similar to their former job if offered

If the defense can show the judge that you did not make any reasonable effort towards seeking employment, you will only receive nominal damages. However, if you reasonably satisfied the obligations of a discharged worker, you will receive lost wages plus other back pay benefits.


The court determines your award of back pay by deducting any compensation you could have earned working from the time of the employer’s unlawful act until the time of the court’s verdict. Furthermore, if the court awards you for loosing future earnings, it will deduct the compensation you are likely to receive from the time of the ruling until the projected end of your ability to work.

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