What You Need to Know Before Returning to Work After an Injury

Let’s say that you suffered a workplace injury. The damages weren’t permanent, but you did need to take some time off work to recover. While you managed to navigate the workers’ compensation claim process successfully, there’s the still the matter of returning to work.

Hopefully, your employer may already have a comprehensive return-to-work policy in place, making it easier to transition back into your job after staying out for an injury. If your employer doesn’t have a return-to-work policy, you may need to discuss things with your supervisor to determine how things will proceed. No matter what the circumstances are, you should know these essential facts to protect your rights.

Returning to Work

Since every injury and job position is different, there’s no one set timeframe that determines when you need to return to work – someone who performs desk work may not need to take as much time off for a broken leg as someone who works in construction would. Instead, the timing for your return to work depends on how your recovery is progressing.

After suffering from a workplace injury, you should regular visit with your doctor. He or she will assess your condition, usually noting your work status in your medical chart. For some, a doctor will determine that it’s best to wait until a worker has reached maximum medical improvement before proving the clearance to return to work. Other patients may receive approval for light duty work, with reduced tasks or hours.

If you don’t return to work after your doctor gives you approval, you may lose your right to compensation. Likewise, if your employer offers you light-duty work, it’s in your best interest to attempt to return to work, even if you don’t feel up to the task. A further assessment from your doctor can determine if you’re ready for light-duty work or you need more time to recover.

To make sure you know when your return-to-work date is, check your medical paperwork carefully after an appointment. Sometimes a doctor will release you for work but forget to mention it in person. As soon as you have your return-to-work date, contact your employer and report to work when instructed to.

Working Within Your Physical Restrictions

When returning to work, it’s important to follow any restrictions on your physical activity. Even if you like your job and want to push yourself, going too far past the restrictions outlined in your medical recommendations may put you at the risk for additional injury. Likewise, your employer should also respect these restrictions. While you will ideally give your employer a copy of your work restrictions, it can be best to carry a copy on you as well.

If your physical restrictions involve you working fewer hours or in a lower-paying position than your usual work, you may request benefits to accommodate the difference in your pay.

However, it’s important that you do complete work that’s within your restrictions. If you refuse to work an assignment that you can physically handle, you may lose your right to benefits. If you disagree with a doctor’s assessment of your ability to function at work, a workers’ compensation attorney can help.

Can Your Employer Fire You After a Work Injury?

Unfortunately, some injuries may cause you to be unable to return to your previous work, or your employer may not be able to provide you with your previous position or pay. In these circumstances, you may need to find another job. However, an employer cannot fire you simply because you chose to file a workers’ compensation claim.

If you cannot return to your previous job, your employer may provide you with a new position within the company. You may also qualify for vocational rehabilitation to help train you for new work through your workers’ compensation benefits.

While suffering a workplace injury is never easy, it shouldn’t be a hassle to return to work. Having the appropriate Las Vegas workplace injury attorney on your side can help you make a smooth transition back into the workforce.