If you were injured at work and spent a few days, weeks, or even months recuperating, the idea of returning to work can be scary. To ensure you continue to receive workman’s compensation benefits, including having your physician’s bills covered, you will need to follow the doctor’s orders, especially when it comes to returning to work.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when you get back to work and are receiving workman’s compensation benefits.
Who Should I Contact Before Returning to Work?
Returning to work after suffering an injury must be handled correctly and should begin with contacting a few key individuals. Talk to your doctor to discuss your case and get a list of restrictions. Make a few copies of this list and give one to your employer and keep a copy for your own records. The next call should be to your workers’ compensation attorney. Your attorney can help contact your employer and their insurance provider.
Your attorney, yourself, and your employer can help you create a plan to return to work that won’t impact your case and will allow you to earn money and heal properly.
What Happens If I Return to Work Too Early?
Getting back to work as soon as possible after your injury may seem like a good idea, especially if your income is affected or you miss your colleagues and friends. However, returning the work before your doctor clears you or before you are physically capable to perform your regular duties, can put your health and financial future in jeopardy.
No matter the physical requirements of your job, returning before you are healed can exacerbate your injuries. If your employer is pushing you to return, even if it is against your doctor’s orders, you can actually lose your workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer’s insurance provider can cancel your benefits because you didn’t follow the doctor’s orders, even though you were returning at the request of your employer.
Return to work when you feel that you are ready and your doctor has given you the okay. If you are medically cleared but don’t feel as though you are physically ready to go back to work, you can get another medical opinion.
Do I Have to Perform My Light-Duty Activities?
Many times, your doctor will limit your activities or hours you can work. For example, if you worked a demanding job, you may be required to sit behind a desk, limit how many pounds you can lift, or allow you to work a few hours a day. Over time, as you heal, your limitations will be lifted, and you will be allowed to return to your normal duties.
Unfortunately, if you are cleared to return for light duty, and you refuse to work, you could wind up losing both your workers’ compensation benefits and your position.
What Happens If I Reinjure Myself at Work?
Despite following your doctor’s orders and adhering to your work restrictions, it is possible to reinjure yourself or suffer a new injury. If this occurs, treat it as though you are suffering an injury for the first time. This includes documenting when and how the injury occurred and immediately reporting it to your employer.
Visit your physician to determine if you have aggravated your original injury and how to proceed. Finally, don’t forget to contact your attorney to determine if there is anything else you need to do to continue receiving the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.
Returning to work after suffering an injury at work and receiving workers’ compensation can be tricky and must be done correctly. If you have any further questions, contact Midwest Injury Help.