Being injured on the job can be a jarring experience. Your health can take a beating and so can your career. Your life may now involve a litany of doctor’s appointments, and you may find yourself trying to navigate the often-perplexing workers’ compensation system to get the benefits that you deserve.
At some point, your doctor may recommend that you return to work—either in full or light-duty capacity. If you have healed and you are ready to return to your job, this will likely come as welcome news. However, if you are still struggling physically, you may wonder how to proceed.
If your workers’ compensation physician recommends that you go back to work but you don’t feel like you can, inform him or her of your concerns. Write down specific symptoms that you believe will hamper your ability to complete the jobs that you used to perform. If your doctor still requires you to return, contact your workers’ compensation lawyer. You will likely be required to attempt the return to work. However, your attorney needs to evaluate the procedure of return to make sure it complies with the law and he or she may be able to secure an appointment for a second medical opinion.
Often, a doctor will recommend that you return to work in a light-duty capacity. You may not be able to perform the same strenuous tasks, but your employer may be able to give you less taxing jobs so that you can heal while continuing to work. In a perfect world, employers respect doctors’ restrictions, but sometimes they try to get you to do more than you are allowed. This is unlikely to be done with ill intent and is more likely simply because they are busy and have forgotten the nature of your restrictions. Regardless, don’t get defensive or combative. Remind your employer of your restrictions and politely decline. It is imperative that you keep a copy of your doctor’s orders with you to help support your case. If your employer continues to ask you to violate your restrictions or hassle you, contact your workers’ compensation lawyer.
If you go back to work to perform the same jobs and re-injure yourself, stop what you are doing and report the injury right away. Contact your workers’ compensation attorney, and explain what happened.
We hope for a graceful re-entry into the workforce for all injured employees, but we also acknowledge that it can be a rocky transition. Don’t hesitate to contact your workers’ compensation lawyer for help in navigating the process.