How Soon Should You Work After Being Hurt on the Job?
Employees hurt on the job will file for workers' compensation. Those able to return to work within a few days receive medical-only claims. Employees out of the job for a long period will see wage support if an injury was filed appropriately.
Bills continue to arrive and many feel "stir crazy" from their work absence. Your doctor may have cleared your return to work but are you ready? Will your claim continue if you reenter the workforce?
This question and more are answered in this post.
Understanding Your Workers' Compensation Benefits
Workers' comp is not a catch-all for time off after being hurt on the job.
There are several forms of benefits. Each dictates how you will mitigate loss required by the state. Knowing your benefits will help you understand when to return without disrupting compensation.
Workers' Comp Benefits
The benefits include:
All verified claims of workers' compensation will pay medical. This includes doctor visits and prescriptions. The allotted time is generally dictated by company policy. Though, the injured may continue treatment outside the network if medical needs continue.
Injuries go two ways:
Temporary injuries (including mental distress in some states) offers wage support. The support extends throughout the recovery period if workers actively attempt recovery.
Permanent injuries (e.x. loss of a limb) pays medical and wage during the recovery period. The compensation may account for future wages if the injury is severe. Often, it's provided if the injury prevents workers from returning to their job.
Lastly, those hurt on the job and unable to return may need to seek a new line of work. Partial compensation is paid while the worker finds new employment.
Temporary Partial vs Total
Wage compensation falls into two categories:
Partial wage compensation is paid for employees able to handle a limited workload. Whereas 'temporary total' pays if an employee is unable to do their work in any capacity.
How this Affects Your Return to Work
Unfortunate as it sounds, employer fraud does happen.
The fraud involves trying to deny claims or expedite recovery time to avoid wage support. Returning too quickly could cause an injury relapse because you weren't fully healed.
Knowing medical and/or financial support after injury will maximize your recovery time. This is why you should always get the go-ahead from doctors before returning... not a nudge from HR or the boss.
Returning to Work while Protecting Your Rights
Just because your doctor gave you the go-ahead to return doesn't mean you should jump right back into your previous activities. In fact, the old routine could stop compensation benefits without your knowledge.
Here are the best ways to return (while protecting your rights).
Talk with Your Doctor
Clarify the doctors' note by talking with them:
- Explain your duties and requirements
- Ask their recommendations for restrictions
The doctor will clear your return with a Notice of Ability to Return to Work. This note details your abilities and restrictions. Talk to a lawyer if you feel this clearance is a mistake and you cannot return within the timeframe.
Contact Work and the Department of Labor
Employers aren't obligated to keep the position open while you're away. Most do but it can happen.
Keep an open line of communication between you and work. This ensures your position is there for when you return.
Else, contact the Department of Labor to verify or claim disputes. Benefits will continue if you experience time loss from the workplace injury. This includes medical pay for doctors visits.
Confirm with Human Resources
If your pay is lower than your original because of your injury, then you are entitled to compensation. The compensation pays the difference. This continues until you are able-bodied to complete your previous routine.
HR should provide a detailed run-down of your expected duties and compensation. Make sure to get this in writing.
Know What You're Signing
Some businesses and insurance companies will try to pull a fast one. They will rush you through paperwork. Unbeknownst to you is how you're potentially signing away your compensation and rights.
Understand what your accident lawyer can and cannot do. Have them present if you're requested to sign papers. Else, take a copy (without signing) and forward the material for their review.
How do You Feel?
Ask yourself if you're ready to return to work.
- Mentally prepared?
- Physically able?
Many accidents cause delayed onset pain. This is the pain you may not feel until well after the injury. Delayed pain includes emotional and PTSD, too. Talk with your doctor and lawyer if pain surfaces after you've been cleared.
You are expected to make real attempts at recovery. This includes rehabilitation or reasonable surgeries recommended by doctors. Declining these, or failing to seek medical attention, can significantly reduce your compensation.
Other activities damaging to claims include:
- Using alternative (non-verified) medical treatments
- Failing to seek employment
- Going against doctor's wishes and advice
An easy way to avoid all this is looking at what scammers do... and don't do it.
Mitigating damages will continue your coverage after being hurt on the job. It shows you're active with recovery and intend to return to expected demands.
How Soon Should You Work After Getting Hurt on the Job?
It's a complicated answer if you're involved with a complicated injury. Some bounce back within days. Others? The debilitation may have been enough to go beyond physical harm. The injury could cause a mental breakdown needing months to recover.
The best answer is to talk with a workers' compensation lawyer.
The law office of Scott D. DeSalvo will fight for your compensation rights.
We will ensure you receive 2/3rds of your salary while off work. And, confirm all doctors bills are paid. We do the heavy lifting with making sure your recovery and full benefits are available. We will also provide guidance for your reentry into the workplace to protect your rights in full.
Don't go at it alone. Don't put up with their resistance. Call us today, 888-HURT-318, or send us a message. We're here, on your side.
"Hiring Scott was one of the best moves I have made in my life. Scott is a down to earth person and attorney. Scott is a 5 star first class act who really knows his stuff. The Judge said his presentation was one of if not the best he had ever seen. Take my advice, hire Scott. I’m sure you’ll be 200% satisfied. I was."
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