Returning To Work After Your Work-Related Injury
After being injured at work and receiving workers' compensation coverage, your employer and their insurance provider will inquire when you are able to return to work. Whether you are excited to return to work or are dreading your first day back, it is important to understand when you are physically ready to resume your duties.
Here are a few points to consider before returning to work after a workers' compensation injury.
Talk to Your Doctor
No matter what the nature of your injury or how long you have been off work, it is ultimately your physician's decision when you are able to return to your job. The physician will take several factors into account before letting you go back to work, including your job duties, the extent of your injuries, and how far along you are in your recovery.
Unfortunately, just because your doctor feels you are ready to go back to work, it doesn't mean you will feel physically or mentally able to fulfill your duties. Contact a workers' compensation attorney if you are being forced to go back to work before you are ready. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights as an employee who was injured at work.
Follow Your Work Restrictions
If you feel you are able to return to work, your physician may sign off, but you will be placed on work restrictions. For example, you may be able to work only a certain number of hours per week, you may have to sit for most of the day, or you might be unable to lift more than 5 to 10 pounds. A detailed list of these restrictions will be sent to your employer.
Ask for a copy of these restrictions, and talk to the doctor if there are any work duties that you are unable to perform because of your injuries. Your employer will give you return-to-work paperwork that will outline your duties and give you a return-to-work date. If you do not agree with the terms of the paperwork, contact an attorney with any concerns.
Never do more than is outlined on your restrictions, even if your employer asks you to or threatens you with termination if you do not perform your regular duties. Call an attorney immediately if you believe your employer is not abiding by the terms of your work restrictions and your return-to-work agreement.
If you were recently injured at work or are returning to work after suffering a work-related injury, contact a workers' compensation attorney with any of your questions.