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Can I Quit My Job While on Workers’ Comp?

Posted in Workers' Compensation Laws on June 28, 2023

Arizona is an at-will employment state, which means individuals can leave their job for whatever reason they want and at any time. However, what if an employee is collecting workers’ compensation benefits after sustaining an on-the-job injury? Can they still leave their job while they receive benefits?

The answer is yes – individuals certainly have the freedom to quit their job while they receive workers’ comp benefits. However, we strongly suggest consulting with a work injury lawyer before doing so, and we want to discuss some of the caveats associated with leaving a job while collecting workers’ comp. 

You Will Continue to Receive Medical Benefits

After you report the workplace injury and begin to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you can feel free to leave your job. Quitting a job does not change the fact that you sustained an on-the-job injury, which means you would be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits regardless of whether you stay at that particular place of employment.

There are various reasons why an individual may want to leave a job after sustaining an injury. Perhaps a person already wanted to leave the job before the injury, or perhaps the injury was the final straw, and the worker is simply ready to move on.

By law, you are entitled to benefits after the on-the-job injury so long as you are (or were) a covered employee. The vast majority of employees in Arizona are covered through workers’ comp benefits.

There are some caveats to this, though. First, you will receive complete coverage of your medical expenses until the workers’ compensation doctor says you have reached what is considered maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point at which any continued treatment will likely not improve your condition any further. If you have no work restrictions in place from the doctor, you can start another job fairly quickly without jeopardizing any of your continued medical benefits.

However, if you do have work restrictions in place from the doctor, and if you are receiving any type of disability benefits for lost wages in the interim, you should not start a new job because this could certainly jeopardize your benefits. If you have been placed on work restrictions by a doctor, this means that the healthcare professional has determined that you should not work while you recover (at the old job or a new one). Not only would taking a new job jeopardize the income benefits provided by workers’ compensation, but your medical benefits would likely also come under scrutiny.

How Will This Affect a New Job?

We encourage you to consider the impact that any workplace injury could have on your pursuit of finding a new job in Arizona. You will need to disclose any injury to a potential new employer, and you will have to let your workers’ compensation insurance carrier know about your job pursuit. Failure to disclose this information could lead to several issues with the new employer as well as the insurance carrier.

We strongly encourage you to speak to a skilled work injury lawyer in Phoenix if you have any intention of looking for a new job while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. We do not want you to think that you cannot find another job or leave your old job, but we want to make sure that you continue to receive the benefits you are entitled to.