For many people who get hurt on the job, their first instinct is simply to keep working. No one likes to have to leave their place of employment to see a doctor. Even fewer people want to miss multiple days of work while dealing with painful and debilitating symptoms.

Unfortunately, some people have severe workplace injuries that are going to have a long-term impact on their ability to perform their job, and ignoring them will only make things worse. Even with surgery, physical therapy and medication, it may not be possible for a worker to return to the same job they had prior to an injury. Some will not be able to work at all.

Learning that a job-acquired injury will have a long-term impact on your health and career can feel like a devastating blow and leave you worried about their future and finances. Are there workers’ compensation benefits that will protect you if an injury puts an end to a specific career path? 

Workers who can work at a lower-paying job can get partial disability

When you first get hurt, you will likely receive temporary disability benefits if you have a protracted leave of absence from work. When it becomes obvious to the physician treating you that your condition will not improve to a point where you can resume the same job responsibilities, you may have to consider returning to a different job.

If an injury causes permanent symptoms like pain, decreased strength or reduced range of motion, you may have to leave a good-paying job and take a lower-paying job with less physical responsibilities. Partial permanent disability benefits can pay you some of the difference between what you were once able to command on the job and what you currently earn after your injury.

If you can’t work at all, you may qualify for permanent total disability

Some people think that permanent total disability requires that they can’t move or walk. However, there are specific requirements for someone who suffers a permanent, debilitating injury if they want to qualify for permanent total disability. They reflect more than just how much of your body got hurt.

If you have very little chance of recovering enough to return to work, permanent disability benefits can replace a portion of your wages, thereby allowing you some independence.