What is a QRC and do I need one?
A QRC is a qualified rehabilitation consultant. In a Minnesota workers’ compensation claim, an injured worker has the right to have a QRC to assist the injured worker with vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation is different than physical rehabilitation (like working with a physical therapist or occupational therapist) or mental rehabilitation (like working with a counselor). While physical or mental rehabilitation is general medical treatment that is done with a medical professional, vocational rehabilitation is designed to help injured workers return to suitable gainful employment and the person who helps is a QRC. Suitable gainful employment is employment where the injured worker is earning as near as possible to what they were earning at the time of the work injury.
A QRC is a person that helps the injured worker return to suitable gainful employment by developing a vocational rehabilitation plan that is filed with the Department of Labor and Industry. That plan is generally either to try to return the employee to work with the date of injury employer, or another employer. QRCs, as part of their assistance in developing and implementing the vocational rehabilitation plan attend medical appointments with injured workers, they help forward work restrictions to the date of injury employer (as well as the injured workers’ attorney if they have one), and if necessary, help with resume building and assist the employee in job search efforts. Some injured workers with high average weekly wages at the time of the injury and a significant work injury that prevents them from a return to their original job may also be entitled to retraining; QRCs also help develop retraining plans for those eligible workers.
There are three things to remember about a QRC:
- First, if you are eligible for a QRC, you are entitled to choose your own QRC. Often times a workers’ compensation insurance company adjuster will assign an injured worker a QRC that is chosen by the adjuster. While that QRC is not necessarily bad for the injured worker, in our experience, we generally want injured workers to know that they have the right and ability to select their own QRC, someone who is committed placing the injured worker first. It is always beneficial to discuss with an attorney who is a QRC in Minnesota that puts the injured worker first; experienced work comp attorneys know many good QRCs.
- Second, there are rules that govern when and if you can change your QRC. One rule is that you change your QRC once within the first 60 days, for no reason or any reason whatsoever. Another rule is that after the initial 60 days, an injured worker must have “good cause” in order to change QRCs. If you have had a QRC for a few months that you do not like, do not trust, or believe your current QRC is not helping you, you should seek the advice of an attorney to determine whether you qualify (or what you need to do to qualify) to change QRCs.
- Third, a QRC not a substitute for an attorney representing you. While QRCs can be very helpful in your return to work or assisting with medical management, they are not an advocate for the employee’s rights within the workers’ compensation system against work comp insurers. QRCs are bound by certain rules they must follow which require them to remain independent. This is helpful in the sense that they are not in the position of adjusting the claim for the insurance company, but in turn, they are not an advocate for your rights against the insurance company’s recommendations, and generally anything an employee tells a QRC will make it into a rehabilitation report, whether it’s helpful to the employee or not. In addition to having a good QRC, it is always best to have an attorney that is a zealous advocate on your side and knows the workers compensation system.
QRCs are helpful to injured workers in either returning to work or finding new work. Another important thing to remember is that if you have a dispute about getting a QRC (for example, because the insurance company says that you are not entitled to one), or if you have a dispute regarding a change of QRC, or the QRC proposes a change in the rehabilitation plan that the insurer is not approving, an attorney can help you with those. Importantly, hiring an attorney to help you with a QRC dispute, like any of the ones above, does not cost the injured worker anything. Hiring an attorney to fight a rehab dispute in Minnesota means that you retain an attorney who works on a contingent fee only and if that attorney prevails on the dispute, either through an award or by settlement, that attorney is entitled to a Heaton fee, a fee that is actually paid by the workers compensation insurer directly to the attorney. So, there is absolutely no personal risk for an injured worker to hire an attorney to help with a QRC/vocational rehabilitation dispute, and if you have questions in this regard, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team Handles a Wide Variety of Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team handles cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian car accidents, and bicycle accidents. It has many years’ experience in workers ‘ compensation , products liability and medical malpractice cases.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team has extensive experience with concussion injuries, traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, whiplash injuries, broken bones, injured joint injuries (knee, hip, shoulder, wrist, ankle, spinal), amputation injuries, and vision and eye injuries.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team has offices through out the State of Minnesota. Its primary location is at Ridgedale Office Center in Minnetonka, near the intersection of I394 and I494. The offices are ground level, handicap accessible with ample parking.
The Schmidt Salita Team Offers Contingent Fee Arrangements.
The firm offers contingent fee agreements (You don’t pay lawyers fees until you collect and then only as a percentage of the settlement). It also offers home and hospital visits to clients whose injuries present difficulty in coming to the office.
“PERSONAL INJURY WITH PERSONAL ATTENTION TO EACH CASE”.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team has locations throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Osseo, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Brooklyn Center, Fridley, Blaine, Shoreview, Woodbury, Falcon Heights, Columbia Park, Stillwater, Hastings, Inver Grove, Cottage Grove, South St. Paul, Apple Valley, Eagan, Burnsville, Savage, Shakopee, Richfield, Bloomington, Chaska, Chanhassen, Edina, Eden Prairie, and Hopkins.