Getting injured at work causes a lot of expense, and a lot of financial and emotional stress, to say nothing of the inconvenience. For instance, what if you had booked a cruise and got hurt at work two weeks before your trip? Will it hurt your claim if you take a vacation while receiving workers’ comp benefits?
There is no specific rule or law that says you cannot take a vacation while receiving workers’ compensation. That said, Schmidt Kramer explains when and how taking a holiday could hurt your benefits, or even cause them to be canceled.
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Am I Breaking Any Law By Going on Vacation While Receiving Workers’ Comp in PA?
Absolutely not. There is nothing in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws that says you cannot take a holiday. So yes, even though you are at home recovering from your work injury, you are still entitled to take your vacation. That said, it is important to know how to do it while receiving workers’ compensation, because if you do not take certain precautions, you could end up losing your benefits.
Will it Hurt My Claim if I Go on Vacation While Getting Workers’ Comp Pay?
There are definitely some issues you could run into if you go on holiday during a workers’ comp claim.
Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier May Use it Against You
To start with, you can bet that your workers’ compensation carrier and possibly even your employer will try to find a way to use your well-deserved vacation against you somehow. They may say that if you are fit enough to go away on a vacation, then you are not injured badly enough to receive workers’ comp and you should also be able to go back to work.
To be fair, this is not a completely untrue statement. However, it is important to look at what type of vacation you are planning on taking and whether your holiday plans could:
- Worsen your injuries – In some cases, vacationing could not only delay your recovery, but it could also cost the insurance company, and potentially your employer, more money.
- Cause you to miss medical appointments and follow-up care: Failing to continue treatments or missing scheduled medical appointments gives the insurance company room to say you are not trying to get better.
- Failing to mitigate your damages: Injured workers have a legal duty to do all they can to try to get better. Doing things that could reinjure you or make your injuries worse is doing the opposite of that.
Vacationing While Receiving Workers’ Comp Could Damage Your Credibility
Taking a vacation during a workers’ comp claim could badly damage your credibility. This is something you do not want in any type of workers’ comp claim. If you are already getting benefits, they may get cut off. If you are still trying to obtain those benefits, your claim could get denied.
Taking a Trip While on Workers’ Comp Could Trigger a Private Investigation to Rule Out Fraud
Your workers’ compensation carrier is required to provide benefits to you, including the wages you lose while recovering from your injuries. However, it is important to remember that insurance companies do not want to pay one dime more than they have to.
For this reason, if you go on vacation during a workers’ comp claim, it could very well trigger a private investigation into your case.
Does this mean you should not go on a vacation while recovering from a work injury and receiving workers’ compensation? Maybe, maybe not. This is definitely something that should be discussed with an attorney and considered on a case-by-case basis.
Is There a Way to Take a Trip While on Workers’ Comp Without Hurting My Claim?
There are some considerations to keep in mind if you are dead set on taking some vacation time while collecting workers’ compensation. You must be sure to proceed in a way that protects both your claim and your credibility.
These steps, along with others recommended by your attorney, should help to satisfy your claim requirements. They may also help ensure you do not jeopardize your ability to continue receiving benefits:
- Arrange your medical appointments so you do not skip any follow-up care
- Get your doctor’s approval to go on vacation before you go
- Discuss your plans with your employer – not informing your boss could cost you your job
- Continue following your doctor’s prescribed plan of care, such as limiting restricted activities
- Modify vacation plans that involve activities your injuries prevent you from doing
- Stay off social media – posting pictures of you even just smiling can be seen by the insurance company and others, taken out of context and used against you
- Avoid long or difficult travel arrangements, such as plane rides with long layovers, that could worsen your injuries
Can I Use Paid Time Off (PTO) if I Vacation During a Workers’ Comp Claim?
It depends on your specific situation. However, if you have a paid time off plan and have accrued enough time to take time off, it may be possible. However, you cannot receive both workers’ comp pay and vacation pay. Therefore, if you are eligible, your vacation pay will likely be deducted from your workers’ comp payments to avoid double dipping.
Injured on the Job and Need Legal Help? Call Schmidt Kramer Today
Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side can greatly benefit your claim. Our highly qualified legal team has been helping injury victims for decades, including those injured on the job. We understand what it takes to build a strong case, and how to protect it.
Call our law offices today for a free legal evaluation. If you choose our firm to manage your case, there is nothing to pay upfront or during the legal process. We only get paid if you do.
Experienced lawyers ready to help. (717) 727-1403