What Workers Need to Know Before Returning to Work After an Injury
Life inevitably throws us a few curveballs, including the unfortunate reality of an injury. When this injury occurs while you perform duties related to your job, you are entitled to certain benefits that fall under each organization’s worker’s compensation policy. Frequently, however, these policies are unclear, and employers themselves may be unaware or unwilling to abide by the rules of their worker’s compensation protocol.
Luckily, our team at Invictus Law is in the business of ensuring you receive fair compensation during your worker’s comp claim. We believe that no matter if your workplace has a stellar worker’s compensation policy or a vague worker’s compensation policy, you should be armed with the necessary knowledge to assert your rights as you recover from your injury.
Any questions about your workplace’s compensation policies? Contact us at Invictus Law and we’ll help you every step of the way!!
When is it ok for me to go back to work?
This is probably the first question you ask yourself after your doctor takes you off work; the short answer is that it depends on the type of injury you received and how long your physician believes is an acceptable recovery period. Your doctor is the ultimate authority on whether you should be taken off work entirely, work with restrictions, or released without conditions.
The term “maximum medical improvement” (MMI) refers to the benchmark physicians use to determine whether you have recovered from your injury as much as you physically can. There are sometimes cases where you may be authorized to return to work despite not meeting MMI; for example, while you are undergoing physical therapy, you may be approved to do a “seated-only” position, otherwise known as an administrative duty in lieu of your regular duties.
Related: What Should You Expect at a Workers’ Comp Deposition?
Listen to your physician.
Your physician will classify your degree of injury based on your current ability to manage your pain and the likelihood of performing your previous job duties. The Worker’s Disability Classification is a helpful tool for understanding how this works.
Is your workplace not meeting your needs during your recovery? Contact us at Invictus Law, today!
Temporary Total Disability
This type of injury prevents you from working entirely for a limited amount of time. They are generally severe enough to warrant full time off, but not severe enough to suggest you will never return work.
Temporary Partial Disability
This type of injury prevents you from completing some of your job duties but does not necessitate completely preventing you from working at all.
Permanent Total Disability
This type of disability prevents you from ever returning to work, even if you shift to another employer.
Permanent Partial Disability
This type of disability impairs your ability to work permanently, but does not prevent you from ever working again. Often, permanent partial disabilities warrant a change in duties or perhaps a change in employer.
Once your physician has classified you, your next natural question (if your injury was not a permanent total disability) would be when you are approved to return to work at all.
Related: What to Do When Workers’ Comp Refuses to Pay for Your Necessary Medical Care
Read all paperwork
Your doctor will outline precisely when you are allowed to return to work. This is especially important if your doctor was assigned to you by your employer’s compensation insurance. While your doctor may not tell you when you are clear to return to work, the paperwork almost always does.
Keep a dialogue with your doctor going.
Your physician must monitor your treatment and be honest about their findings. If you are ever confused, call your doctor for clarification.
While you may be tempted to portray your injuries as worse or even better than they are, neither do you or your doctor favor. Being honest about your ability to perform your daily living activities will ensure better outcomes for you and produce a more accurate timeline of your return to work.
Make sure expectations are clear
Ensure that you, your worker’s compensation representative, and your employer keep accurate records of your worker’s comp claim status. If you happen to have a stellar relationship with your employer, you may feel pressured to push yourself to perform job duties outside of what is permitted by your claim’s restrictions.
On the other token, you may be tempted to refuse work that is otherwise permitted under your claim; doing so can result in disciplinary action depending on your workplace’s policies.
Thus, it is imperative to make sure everyone involved in the lifespan of your claim is on the same page. Avoiding these hiccups can only improve your outcomes.
Understanding your rights
You and your employer will need to collaborate to fulfill their workplace return to work policy effectively. Employers outline all known steps in this return to work protocol. If you are placed on temporary partial disability, committing to a return to work policy sooner rather than later is recommended.
Return to work policies usually advises that you and your employer understand the nature and extent of your injuries and how they will affect your future performance. This document should also include concrete accommodations your employer will make for you to transition back to the workplace as safe as possible.
Related: Injured At Work Then Fired? Here’s What You Need To Do
Do I need a worker’s compensation attorney?
When you file a worker’s compensation claim, your employer has to honor it if substantiated. However, many employees have encountered resistance on the part of their employers, despite an otherwise good working relationship previously. In cases like these, many employees simply get fed up with their employer’s treatment and leave.
However, this leaves you at the behest of the insurance company, and they may not always be looking out for your best interests. An experienced worker’s compensation attorney will fight for you to ensure that you are treated fairly, and you receive your compensation as it is due.
Do you need more information on worker’s compensation law? Contact our team and Invictus Law with your queries, today!