When Can I Return to Work After a Work Injury?
After a work injury, you may have been required to remain home and rest so that you could fully recuperate. During the time you were recovering from your injury, you were able to collect workers’ compensation benefits. You are now feeling better, your injuries seem to have healed and you are curious as to when you will be able to return to work.
There are many variables that determine when you should return to your job, some of which can affect your Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Talk to Your Doctor
The first step in resuming your previous employment is to talk to your doctor. When you discuss returning to work with the doctor, be sure that you provide them with a detailed description of what your job duties are.
If there are duties that are part of your job that you cannot do immediately, such as lifting heavy items, your doctor should provide you with a letter describing any restrictions you may have. Your employer is required to follow those restrictions.
Return to Same Position
Unlike other types of leave required under federal law, your employer is not required to hold your position open for you when you return after you recover from your workplace injury. They have the right to move you to a new position even if that position has a lower salary.
If you are offered the new position due to restrictions placed on you because you were hurt on the job and are still not fully recovered, you may be entitled to partial workers’ compensation payments that make up the difference between your previous salary and the current salary.
Continuing Medical Treatment
Although you may return after a work injury with no restrictions, the injury may require additional medical treatment, such as therapy or follow-up doctor visits. These treatments should be covered under workers’ compensation and you may also be eligible for lost wage payments under “intermittent time loss.”
Unable to Perform Job Duties
If your doctor releases you to return to your job and you find you cannot perform your job duties, you may be able to ask your employer to reassign you to a different position. If there are no other positions available, you may be able to request new job training and placement through the state, your company or other sources. It is important to note that your employer may not fire you for filing a claim nor can other employees ask you about your workers’ compensation claim.
If you or a loved one has been hurt on the job and are being told you can resume your job duties, contact Lundy Law to have your case reviewed by and experienced workers’ compensation attorneys. They may be able to prevent you from returning to work too quickly and insure that you will continue to receive the compensation you are provided under the law. Arrange for your initial consultation by completing our online form or calling 1-800-Lundy Law.