The number one goal of the workers compensation system is to return the injured worker to the work force, as quickly and as safely as possible. To this end, injured workers are entitled to the assistance of a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant or QRC’s.
Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant
A benefit often over looked in workers’ compensation is the Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant or QRC. The QRC’s job is to assist individuals with work-related injuries receive vocational rehabilitation. They also assist with medical management by attending doctor appointments with the injured employee and asking questions the injured worker might not think off. They then act as a middle man between the employee, the employer, and the insurer, to relay information and ensure a swift but safe return to work.
Rehabilitation fundamentally means assistance in preparing for or obtaining employment. The general purpose of rehabilitation is to allow injured workers to return to their former employment or, if precluded from returning to their pre-injury job, to allow the injured employee to return to a modified job and also to encourage injured workers to increase their employability by acquiring new or additional skills through on-the-job training, skill enhancement, or a formal retraining program, which can range from simple typing courses to college level training.
Rehabilitation is intended to restore the injured employee, so the employee may return to a job related to the employee’s former employment or to a job in another work area which produces an economic status as close as possible to that the employee would have enjoyed without disability.
Who is Qualified for Rehabilitation Benefits?
A “qualified employee” entitled to receive rehabilitation services. Minnesota Rule 5220.0100(22) defines “qualified employee” as: An employee who, because of the effects of a work-related injury or disease, whether or not combined with the effects of a prior injury or disability:
- is permanently precluded or is likely to be permanently precluded from engaging in the employee’s usual and customary occupation or from engaging in the job the individual held at the time of injury;
- cannot reasonably be expected to return to suitable gainful employment with the date-of-injury employer; and
- can reasonably be expected to return to suitable gainful employment through the provision of rehabilitation services considering the treating physician’s opinion of the employee’s work ability.
Note: Although the rules specifically require that an employee be “permanently precluded” from engaging in his or her customary occupation, the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals held that an employee need only be presently precluded from engaging in previous work duties. Rehabilitation assistance is available so long as an employee is precluded from returning to previous work duties as a result of the injury
You Have the Right to Choose your own QRC
Minnesota Law provides injured employees the right to choose their own QRC to work with to help them get back to work. The Attorneys at Heimerl & Lammers have built relationships with QRC’s throughout the Twin Cities metro area. We can help you choose which QRC might be the right fit for you, as well as assist you in determining whether a change in QRC’s is necessary or appropriate.
Contact us today for a free consultation on any Workers’ Compensation related manner.