People often have questions about what a workers compensation settlement is and how it affects them. One way that a workers compensation can affect you is your employment.
Many workers compensation settlements require injured workers to quit their jobs. This article discusses whether you have to quit your job when you settle a Georgia workers compensation case.
Does Georgia’s workers compensation law require me to quit my job as part of a settlement?
No. Georgia’s workers compensation laws do not require that you quit your job as part of a settlement. This means that there is no specific Georgia rule or law that requires you to give up your job when you settle your workers compensation case.
Why would I have to quit my job if I settle my case?
Many injured workers do have to quit their jobs when they settle their cases. This happens because many employers and insurance companies will require a resignation as part of the settlement.
One of the most important things to remember about settlement is that you do not have to settle you workers compensation case. You can just keep your case open if you want.
Employers and insurance companies have the same choice. They can settle or they can choose to leave your case open.
Since neither you or the insurance company has to settle. that means both of you could place conditions on a settlement. You could choose not to settle unless the insurance company paid you a certain amount of money. In a similar manner, the insurance company could choose not to settle unless you agree to resign your job.
Your employment with a company could end in a few different ways:
- The company terminates your employment for some reason that is your fault. Maybe you clock in late or get in an argument with another employee. Most people would call this “fired”.
- You get terminated by the company because the company just does not have a job for you anymore. Many people call this “laid off”.
- You quit the company. This is known as a resignation.
A resignation is basically you voluntarily quitting the company. The main difference is you are choosing to leave instead of the company making you leave.
You may wonder how your resignation is voluntarily if the company is forcing you to do it as part of settlement. The reason that it is voluntary is because you always have the option of not settling your case.
What is an agreement not to reapply in the future?
Many Georgia workers compensation settlement require you to do something more than just quit your job. Your employer may also want you to sign an agreement not to reapply. You may wonder how this could affect you and how it is different than a resignation.
A resignation affects your current status with your employer. When you resign your job, you go from being an employee of the company to no longer being an employee of the company.
But, resigning your job does not necessarily prevent you from going back to work at a company in the future. Companies try to address the future by having you sign an agreement not to reapply. This way, they hope that you cannot quit your job and then come back immediately after settlement and try to get your job back.
Why do insurance companies often require resignations and agreements not to reapply as part of workers compensation settlements?
Insurance companies do not necessarily give a reason for why they often require resignations and agreement not to reapply. One of the likely reasons is that they do not want to settle with you and take the chance of you getting reinjured after settlement.
In Georgia, aggravations of preexisting conditions qualify as injuries under the workers compensation law. If you continued working after settling your case, you could suffer an aggravation injury to the same part of your body that was injured in your original case. This is probably one of the factors that motivates insurance companies to require resignations and agreements not to reapply.
Can I settle my case without agreeing to quit my job?
Yes, if the insurance company will agree to it. Georgia law does not require a resignation as part of settlement.
If I am not required to resign as part of settlement, does that mean that I will continue to have a job after settlement?
Not necessarily. Just because you do not have to resign will not mean that you have a job in the future.
In Georgia, many employees are what are know as “at will” employees. That basically means that their employer can fire them for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all (as long as it is not a prohibited reason).
If you are an employee “at will”, then your employer could let you go at any time without really having a particular reason. Your employer could certainly choose to let you go sometime after settlement event if you were not required to sign a resignation at the time that your case settled.
Sometimes, your employer may terminate your employment before your workers compensation settles. To find out about how that can affect things, you can read this short article about being fired after a workers compensation injury.
Looking for more information about settlement
Here are a couple of other articles I wrote that discuss Georgia workers compensation settlements:
Also, feel free to reach out to us if you have specific questions. Just call our office at (770) 214-8885 or email us.