Dealing with the effects of a workplace injury is a stressful experience. However, returning to work after an injury is an equally stressful journey. The decision-making process only intensifies when you feel like you’re being pressured to return, even if you aren’t confident that you’re ready.
If you are facing this scenario, you need to know some important information. You and your employer have legal rights in this type of situation. Here’s what you should know about returning to work after an injury.
Be an Advocate
Your employer can only review your injuries and draw a conclusion or opinion. A medical provider can perform tests, evaluate your records, and examine you to formulate a professional opinion. However, no one can experience your injury like you do – you feel every ache and pain.
If you’re feeling pressure to return to work and your provider has assessed that you are physically able to return to work, but you have apprehensions, you can appeal the decision and request a second opinion. To strengthen your claim, seek a second opinion from a physician who has experience with your particular injury.
Partner with an attorney before taking this step. An attorney can help ensure that the second opinion is noted and determine whether you need to return to work until the second assessment has been completed. Remember, your health is the most important factor, so stand up and be an advocate for yourself.
Remember Time Is of the Essence
In many cases, an employer is not required to hold the job of the injured employee while they are recovering, particularly for long-term recovery. A lot can happen during this period, and the employer may determine that they no longer need the victim’s efforts to support the company.
After you’ve been medically cleared to return to work, remember that time is of the essence. If your employer is holding the position open for you, they may be unwilling to wait forever.
You may also put your workers’ compensation claim and any future payments that were to be directed to you in jeopardy. All your medical coverage payments will continue, but any compensation for lost wages may not be payable when a victim simply decides not to return or seeks additional employment.
Keep Light-Duty Roles in Mind
If your doctor has determined that you are physically ready to return to work but not necessarily prepared to perform all the responsibilities that you did pre-injury, your employer may have a light duty position available to you.
Generally, this accommodation only applies during the period of active recovery. Once an employee is cleared from light duty, the employee will likely be required to return to their previous role if they plan to maintain their employment with the company. The one drawback a light-duty role presents is a decrease in wages.
If the light-duty position has an earnings wage that is less than your previous role, you will be compensated by the worker’s compensation insurance carrier at 66.6% of the difference between your wages before the injury, and what you earn after.
The extent of your injuries does not matter. If you were injured while performing your job duties, you do have legal rights. At Matt Fendon Law Group, we will partner with you to ensure each of these rights are protected. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a qualified attorney so you can get the legal help you need after your injury.