If you are injured at work, you may seek the services of a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) to help you recover from your injury and get you back into employment. A good QRC can work with your employer and workers’ compensation to get your old job back at your old wage. If your injury precludes your working at your original job, the QRC can help you find other employment commensurate with your restrictions and can even help negotiate job retraining.
A QRC is a certified vocational rehabilitation counselor who has achieved the Certified Rehabilitation Counsellor (CRC) designation.
- This certification usually requires a Master’s degree in rehabilitation counselling and passing an examination administered by The Commission on Rehabilitation Counsellor Certification (CRCC).
- The certification has to be renewed regularly.
- CRCs are counsellors with a specialty of working with disabled people in employment.
The Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry registers CRCs or Certified Disability Management Specialists (CDMSs) in the state to further qualify them to work with the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Commission.
- The QRC designation requires a further check on the qualifications of the nationally certified vocational professional applicant.
- The counsellor has to complete a one-year internship.
If you are deemed a “qualified employee,” you will be entitled to work with a qualified rehab consultant. “Qualified employees” are defined by the state as people
- Who is permanently prevented or will likely be permanently prevented from working in their usual job role at held at the time of the injury.
- Who can’t reasonably be expected to return to suitable employment with their employer at the time of the injury.
- Who can reasonably be expected to return to suitable employment with the date-of-injury employer or another employer with the aid of QRC services.
The insurance company will choose a QRC for you after you report your injury. The QRC the insurance appoints will be someone with a long relationship with them. However, you have the right to select your own QRC to represent your interests. There is a strict time-limit for you to find a QRC who will keep your interests front-and-center, not those of the insurance company.
The QRC can
- Help you regain abilities.
- Help you find suitable work after the on-the job injury.
- Act as an intermediary between you, your old employer and you medical provider to keep all informed and working together.
- Provide vocational counselling based on a detailed skills assessment.
- Develop a program of re-training.
- Consult with prospective employers about needed workplace modifications.
- Coordinate your return to work.
- Serve as an expert witness if your case goes before a judge.
In choosing a qualified rehabilitation consultant you should make sure that the person you select is working in your best interests. Keep in mind that time limit. You must find a QRC in a timely way. Your employer may refer one of their choosing. That person may be driven by an agenda of saving money for the employer or by some employer-driven agenda. It is strongly advised that you talk to a workers’ compensation attorney before you choose a QRC to assure that the QRC views you as the client, not the insurance company or the employer.
Rehabilitation and workers’ compensation law is very much a tug-of-war where each side tries to protect itself as much as possible. As the injured party, in many ways, you are the weaker of the parties with only the irresolute legal structure to protect you. You really need allies. If your QRC does everything possible to act on the behalf of your employer or the insurance company, who will want to rush your case and make settlements lower. Your workers’ compensation attorney, working on your behalf, will help you find a QRC who will work for you.
If you have been injured on the job and you need assistance finding a strong QRC, the Law Office of Joshua Borken can help you. Please contact us. We’d be glad to help.