One of the roles of a skilled Houston workers comp lawyer is to assist their clients in obtaining vocational rehabilitation benefits. This element of workers’ compensation is essential to help injured workers find gainful employment after a severe workplace accident.
Let us explain what this means and how an experienced attorney can help you.
What Is Vocational Rehabilitation?
Vocational rehabilitation represents a complex array of services aimed at reintegrating an injured employee into the workforce. The most common situations when these services are needed are:
- The workplace accident resulted in permanent disability
- The worker needed a long time to recover from the injury
- The doctor recommended the employee retrain for a new job to avoid a future injury.
Also, vocational rehabilitation services may be helpful during the worker’s recovery to help identify a temporary alternative duty. This means that a trained counselor will identify an activity that the injured worker can safely perform until you reach maximum medical improvement.
Vocational Rehabilitation Role in Workers Comp
The main goal of the workers’ compensation system is to help employees recover from their work-related injuries and then come back as active members of the workforce.
In many cases, workers heal from their injuries within weeks and go back to their usual jobs without any issues. In other cases, a worker needs special assistance and guidance.
The goal is to achieve the best possible outcome in a specific case. This could involve:
- Returning to the same job and the same employer
- Returning to your old job with modifications
- Returning to the same employer, but a different job
- Doing the same job with modifications for a different employer
- Finding a new job with a different employer
- On-the-job training for new techniques and technologies
- Retraining for a different job
- Other educational/academic programs
What Does Vocational Rehabilitation Involve?
The program starts with an initial evaluation of the worker’s condition after they reach maximum medical improvement. In most cases, it involves getting referrals for hearing, visual, physical fitness, and other medical examinations.
As your Houston workers comp lawyer will explain, you cannot pick the doctor to perform these examinations. Also, remember to be honest about your perceived limitations and not exaggerate them.
Depending on the results of the examination, the counselor may recommend:
- Rehabilitation devices, such as hearing aids
- Therapy for disability, including speech therapy and occupational therapy
- Return-to-work and job retention assistance
- Resume writing coaching or assistance for self-employment
- Referrals to various employment agencies and organizations
- Assistance in finding college, technical, or on-the-job training
How a Lawyer Can Assist During Vocational Rehabilitation
Your Houston workers comp lawyer will evaluate the proposed outcome of vocational rehabilitation after your evaluation. If it is apparent that you should retrain for a job that pays less than the one you used to hold, the lawyer can help you obtain wage replacement representing 2/3 of the difference.
In Texas, you can collect workers comp benefits for 401 weeks (around 7 years and a half) after the date of your workplace accident. If you are left with a permanent disability, the attorney will help you apply for disability benefits.
Talk to an Experienced Houston Workers Comp Lawyer!
If you suffer a severe workplace accident, you may not be able to return to your old job. Also, you will need long-term and expensive medical care. In this situation, you will need a skilled Houston workers comp lawyer to negotiate your claim.
The lawyer will also assist you during the vocational rehabilitation process, making sure that you are treated fairly. Do not wait too long after your work-related accident. Call us today at 346-220-1821 to schedule your free case review!