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How Severance Agreements Affect Workers’ Compensation

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Pink Piggy Bank On Top Of A Pile Of One Dollar BillsQuite often a work related injury results in your inability to continue working in your job.  Restrictions resulting from your injury may prevent you from doing your job properly or safely. In the event you are unable to return to your employer, they may offer you a severance package upon separation.

A severance package is pay and benefits an employee receives when they leave the employment.  In addition to the employee’s remaining regular pay, a severance package may include an additional payment based on the amount of time they worked there, or payment for unused vacation time and sick leave.

But, severance agreements can be tricky and you should be careful, even if the money offered is tempting.  You may be required to waive your right to or “settle” all claims involving your employment when you accept a severance package.  Doing so would adversely affect any rights or claim you may have for a work related injury.

Here is why: in most all states, work injuries give you the legal right to make a claim for the injuries and resulting impairment.  So, if you are required to waive or settle all claims in exchange for a severance package, you are giving up your legal rights to pursue a work injury claim.

If you have not yet filed a claim, some severance agreements require that you specifically admit that you were not injured on the job in exchange for the severance package.  Such an admission is evidence that works against you should you choose to later make a claim.

If you are offered a severance package after a work injury, you should review the agreement with an experienced attorney who can ensure that if you accept a severance package you aren’t giving up compensation that you deserve.

Discussing your injury and employment situation with a worker’s compensation lawyer will help you determine whether you have a justified claim that may be affected by signing the severance agreement.  The extra money your employer offers in a severance package may be compelling, but depending on your injury and ability to get another job you may need more compensation than that package gives you.

If you have questions about your severance agreement, and its ability to affect your worker’s compensation claim, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced worker’s compensation attorney.

Photo Credit: kenteegardin via Compfight cc

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