Let’s say you have been hurt on the job, are receiving work comp benefits, treating with a doctor and hoping to get back to work as soon as possible. However, you may have work restrictions which prevent you from returning to your regular job, at least for the time being.
You receive a phone call from a woman (or man) who tells you that she has been assigned to serve as your “QRC”. QR what? Immediately, a few questions come to mind, such as:
What the heck is a QRC?
Who assigned this QRC to me and why?
What will a QRC do for me?
Do I have any choice in selecting a QRC?
Let’s take the questions one at a time.
What the heck is a QRC? A QRC is a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant, approved by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. A QRC provides vocational rehabilitation services to eligible injured workers within the framework of Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system. In a nutshell, the job of a QRC is to help you get back to work at your previous job and previous wage as fast as possible. Unfortunately, because of significant physical restrictions, economic factors or other issues, that’s not always possible. If you are unable to return to your previous job, the QRC will assist you in finding another job, within whatever physical limitations you might have, at a wage as close as possible to what you were earning before you were injured.
Who assigned this QRC to me and why? If you don’t have an attorney representing you, the QRC was probably assigned to you by the claims adjuster handling your file for the workers’ compensation insurance company. Most work comp insurance companies have a relatively “short list” of QRC’s that they regularly use. The QRC chosen for your particular case may be assigned based upon where you live and where the QRC has an office. Or, the insurance company might choose a QRC who has experience with particular types of injuries or disabilities. More likely, the insurance company will simply choose a QRC with whom they are comfortable and who they know may get your rehabilitation file closed quickly and cheaply (that would be the cynical, employee’s attorney viewpoint).
What will a QRC do for me? A QRC might provide a variety of services. In a simple case, the QRC might accompany you to a doctor’s appointment to get clarification of your work restrictions. The QRC might then communicate with your employer to help you get back to work as soon as possible within those restrictions. In other cases, where it isn’t possible to return to your job, the QRC might assist you with a job search to help you find new employment. Less often, it may even be necessary for the QRC to explore and assist you with retraining options in order to get you back to full employment. Each case is different and you can find more information about QRC’s at the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website here.
Do I have any choice in selecting a QRC? Actually, you do. If the insurance company assigns you a QRC, you have 60 days to either accept or reject that QRC. At any time within those 60 days you can simply advise the insurance company that you would prefer to select your own QRC. You don’t need to give a reason and the insurance company cannot refuse your request. If you have an attorney representing you before a QRC is assigned or before the initial 60 days have passed, chances are that your attorney will have a number of QRC’s from which to choose.
The problem arises where you don’t have an attorney and the insurance company assigns you a QRC. Unless you’ve been through the workers’ compensation system with a previous claim and a QRC (or unless one of your relatives is a QRC), you probably won’t have any idea where to even find another QRC, let alone one that you would trust with your case.
Now we’re not suggesting that a QRC assigned by the insurance company is a bad person or a bad QRC. Not at all. However, a workers’ compensation case is a very important matter in your life. We simply prefer that our client’s, not the insurance company, select the people who provide care and services in their claims, whether a treating doctor, chiropractor, surgeon…. or QRC.
What We Suggest
The minute that the insurance company assigns you a QRC, it would be a good idea to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for a consultation about your claim. You don’t necessarily need to hire an attorney at that point, but many lawyers can give you the names of some QRC’s that we regularly use and would recommend. You may end up hiring a lawyer eventually, but it can be very helpful to have a your choice of a good, trusted QRC on board from the beginning of your claim.
If you have any questions about QRC’s, vocational rehabilitation or any other aspect of your claim, feel free to give us a call anytime for a free consultation at Bradt Law Offices.
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