Whether or not you can get a settlement from workers’ compensation if you go back to work depends on the details of your case. After your injury, your employer may want to have you back as soon as possible, but if you go back to work before your doctor clears you, you can risk losing your benefits.
Before making any decision, you should consult your doctor or reach out to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) representative in your state. A workers’ compensation lawyer can also help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of returning to work, and whether or not the decision will affect your settlement.
Returning to Work After an Injury
The following are some of the concerns you may have about returning to work after you are injured in the workplace.
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Knowing When You Are Ready to Return to Work
Before returning to work, it is best to wait until you are cleared by your doctor. Your doctor will determine if you are well enough to fulfill your duties in a way that will not worsen your condition or impede your recovery. If you resume work before you are physically and mentally able, you may risk another injury with more significant consequences.
Your Doctor Clears You, But You Don’t Feel You’re Ready
If your doctor feels you have reached a level of improvement in your recovery where you are ready to go back to work, they will order you to return on a specified date. You must review any paperwork you are given each time you see your doctor to make sure you are aware of any recommendations they make regarding your ability to return to work. If you think you are not ready to return to work, speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer before the date on which you are cleared to return.
Receiving a Settlement by Returning to Work With Restrictions
If you reach your Medical Maximum Improvement (MMI) but are still partially disabled, your doctor can allow you to return to work but with restrictions. These restrictions detail activities you cannot perform due to your injury. Workers’ compensation makes room for functioning, partially disabled workers to receive benefits under the Permanent Partial Disability and Temporary Partial Disability act. In this case, your employer may offer a lower-level job or part-time role, or modify your existing responsibilities to allow you to perform with your disability. Even if the new position pays less than your previous role, your settlement from workers’ compensation can account for the difference.
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Tips for When You Return to Work
To make your transition back to work a smooth process, we recommend that you do the following:
- Stay in touch. While you are away from work and recuperating from your injuries, establish an open line of communication with your employer or supervisor. Inform them of your progress and your doctor’s orders about your ability to return to work and any restrictions you might have. This is a courtesy gesture, so whatever happens, do not let them pressure you to resume work before you have been cleared.
- Notify all parties of your return, including your employer. Once you have a return to work date, you should first and foremost, inform your lawyer. They will review the terms of your release and ensure that everything is in place. Together, you will inform the workers’ compensation board and notify them of any restrictions under which you will return to work. This ensures that you will continue to receive your partial workers’ compensation benefits.
- Have a copy of your restrictions on hand while on the job. Even if you and your employer have a return to work plan in place, you should always have a copy of your work restrictions with you in case a manager or employee who is not aware of your physical limitations asks why you are not doing more.
- Remain confident. Even if you are injured, you can still be productive in whatever role you find yourself.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
If you were injured in a workplace accident, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you fight for disability benefits and settlement for your injuries. At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we believe that having legal representation can help you make the best decisions and deal effectively with your employer and their insurer. For more information, call us at (678)-562-5595.