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Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits for Nurses

Chicago Attorneys for Nurses’ Injuries

The Illinois workers’ compensation laws aim to help workers return to work. However, in some instances, nurses are disabled by work-related injuries or illness, so they cannot return to nursing; they need to be retrained or receive further education in a different area. If you are concerned about vocational rehabilitation benefits for nurse’s injuries, you should seek legal representation from experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we have more than 60 years of experience fighting for workers who’ve suffered because of significant and disabling job-related injuries.

Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits for Nurses

Nurses may experience overexertion, back injuries, and mobility issues on the hob. Overexertion can result from strenuous physical efforts and repetitive trauma, lifting, twisting, and bending on the job. Nurses also frequently find themselves injured in slip and falls, and sometimes nurses cause their own injuries. There are also situations in which patients cause injuries to nurses. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act sets up a system of no-fault benefits that try to make up for certain economic losses if an employee is injured on the job. Among the workers’ compensation benefits available to you as a nurse injured on the job are vocational benefits.

Vocational rehabilitation may be appropriate when you cannot return to your previous job, but you could do a different type of work. Services you receive could include education, counseling, guidance, job placement, mental or physical restoration, and job training.

You can obtain education or training to work in a different capacity through the vocational rehabilitation benefit. Your employer must pay maintenance benefits during the entire period you’re being retrained. These can include living expenses, room and board, and travel expenses.

Qualifying for Vocational Rehabilitation as a Chicago Nurse

You might qualify for vocational rehabilitation if: (1) your work injuries caused a reduction in your earning capacity, and (2) you are likely to get employment once you complete vocational rehabilitation. For example, if you suffered long COVID due to exposure to a ward full of COVID patients and could no longer exert yourself as a nurse, but you could work in a role such as administrative assistant, it might be appropriate to seek vocational rehabilitation.

Your treating doctor or provider will need to provide an opinion that you have permanent work restrictions that leave you unable to return to your previous nursing job. For example, if you suffer a disc rupture while lifting patients such that you need spine surgery, you may not be able to lift patients again or even bend. In that case, you may need to find a sedentary job and obtain an education to transfer fields. The vocational rehabilitation service provider will assess you to determine your expectations and what you could do as an alternative to nursing, given the restrictions your provider has specified.

It may be expensive for your employer’s insurer to pay for you to be retrained to work a different job. Your employer’s insurer may spend significant sums and time defending against this claim, making it especially important to talk to experienced attorneys about your claim. However, it is essential to be aware that if your employer provides you with vocational rehabilitation benefits, you are expected to participate fully and try to go back to work. Other benefits, such as disability benefits, may also be terminated if you don’t cooperate.

Consult a Seasoned Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you are concerned about obtaining vocational rehabilitation benefits for nurses, discussing your claim with an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer is important. Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca represents injured nurses in workers’ compensation claims, personal injury lawsuits, and SSDI claims in Rockford, Champaign, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane, Cook, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.