Vocational Rehabilitation for Injured Auto Workers

Lawyers for On-the-Job Injury Claims in Chicago

Auto workers who are injured in work-related accidents may need vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation is a process of developing new work skills as part of recovering from an injury or illness. In some cases, the injured worker is able to return to an old job through vocational rehabilitation. In other cases, injuries are such that it isn’t possible to return to an old job. In that case, it’s necessary to train the worker for a new job. The new job may have nothing to do with the auto industry. If you are seeking work injury benefits and believe you need vocational rehabilitation as an injured auto worker, the dedicated Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck can potentially assist you.

Vocational Rehabilitation for Injured Auto Workers

If you’ve suffered a job-related injury, you could be eligible for assistance from a professional vocational rehabilitation therapist who can help you go back to work. Generally, vocational rehabilitation aims to put injured workers back in suitable jobs. Any work injury that decreases your ability to earn where there is evidence that rehabilitation would increase your earning capacity should entitle you to vocational rehabilitation. The services provided as part of vocational rehabilitation can include exploration of what jobs might be suitable, counseling, job modification, training for new employment, and placement.

Section 8(a) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

Under Section 8(a) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, the employer may be required to pay for vocational rehabilitation programs after an auto worker (or other eligible worker) suffers a work-related injury. An employer can also be required to provide expenses and maintenance costs incidental to vocational rehabilitation while it’s being pursued. Rehabilitation can be expensive.

The first question that needs to be answered is whether an employee has permanent work restrictions. The worker’s expectations need to be assessed and the rehabilitation specialist will determine what the worker’s vocational needs are, as well as his or her medical needs. The rehabilitation therapist will develop an individual plan for the worker. There are situations in which an injured auto worker may need education or training.

When a worker is provided with rehabilitation, but doesn’t comply with the rehabilitation mandates, the result may be reduction or termination of the auto worker’s weekly benefits. Under Section 7010.10, an employer is supposed to create a written assessment including a course of medical care and if appropriate, rehabilitation needed to put the injured worker back to a job if it can be reasonably decided the injured worker won’t go back to their regular tasks or the period of incapacitation is going to be more than 120 continuous days, whichever is first. The employer’s assessment should include a consideration of whether a plan or program is needed that includes vocational and medical evaluation, limited or modified duty, and retraining. After that, the employer is supposed to prepare a written update of whether it’s appropriate to create a plan.

Standard for Vocational Rehabilitation

There isn’t a set standard for deciding when and what kind of vocational rehabilitation should be given to an injured worker. Usually, employers and insurers want an employee to make a good faith effort to get a job and show that they are unable to find a job within their physical limitations in order to obtain vocational rehabilitation services to be paid for by the employer. Generally, the auto worker must also show that participating in a particular vocational rehabilitation program would result in successful job placement. However, these aren’t exclusive factors for determining whether vocational rehabilitation should be provided. You may also need to show that vocational rehabilitation was never previously tried and that your earning ability would be increased through vocational rehabilitation. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer can help you navigate this process.

Permanent and Total Disability

If you haven’t conducted a fruitless job search, you may need to provide evidence from a vocational rehabilitation expert showing that you need vocational rehabilitation. Sometimes, however, your restrictions may be significant, and your transferable skills may be nonexistent such that it becomes necessary to provide vocational rehabilitation services in order to avoid a permanent total disability award.

Experienced Workers' Compensation Attorneys Serving Chicago

If you have questions about vocational rehabilitation for injured auto workers in Chicago, a seasoned workers' compensation lawyer at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck may be able to help. We represent injured auto workers in Springfield, Quincy, Aurora, Champaign, and Rockford, as well as Cook, Kane, Adams, Winnebago, Sangamon, and Champaign Counties. We will also examine your situation closely to determine whether other relief, such as damages in a personal injury lawsuit or SSDI, should be pursued. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us online.