Have you suffered from a work-related injury, and are now planning for your return to work? Unfortunately, the longer you stay away from work, the harder it is to return. Sometimes, even if you don’t feel fully ready to go back, your doctor might deem you medically improved enough to return. If a doctor gives you this approval, then you are obligated to resume working. And, if you don’t, you’ll potentially lose your benefits. That is why it’s essential to plan your transition. Below are a few things you should keep in mind.
When Do You Need to Return to Work?
Whenever you visit your doctor, there should be some notes made about your work eligibility status. Your doctor may deem you able to work with restrictions or that you have improved enough to assume the work you completed before being injured.
If you are partially recovered, you may be able to return to work under modified stipulations. For example, you may be limited to seated work only. These would be considered work restrictions set for the condition of your return.
Your worker’s compensation will vary depending on if you return with restriction or full capabilities. Typically, workers’ comp depends on the duration (temporary/permanent) and type (partial/total) of the disability.
Do Not Work Outside of Your Restrictions
When you are allowed to return under specific circumstances, give documented evidence of the restrictions to both your employer and workers’ compensation representatives. You can keep an additional copy for yourself as well. Avoid pushing yourself past the set limitations, and continue to care for yourself properly.
Find Out What Your Employer’s Return to Work Policy Is
It would help if you established a return-to-work plan with your employer, outlining the time from your return to the point where you can adequately perform your job as you did before.
It is crucial that you receive confirmation from your employer that they understand the extent of your injuries, provide a plan that details reasonable accommodations, and maintain communication between you, your doctor, and your employer.
Your workers’ comp representative must also be a key player in your team, be notified as soon as you are deemed eligible to return to work.
If you are placed into a lower-paying position due to your restrictions, your workers’ comp representative may be able to reimburse you some of the difference in pay.
Can You be Fired After a Work-Related Injury?
Unfortunately, yes. Sometimes you cannot be placed in the same position and pay you previously had. It all depends on the availability and types of jobs that the company has to fill at the time. If there are no jobs that fit your restrictions, then you may be fired.
If you are unable to return, then you will have to turn to the workers’ comp insurance company. In this case, it might be beneficial to have a workers’ comp attorney.
When Do You Need a Workers’ Comp Attorney?
If you are unable to return to your previously held position and are given undesirable alternatives that are not flexible for your schedule, then you may need to seek out a workers’ comp attorney to navigate the insurance company.