Suffering a serious injury on the job is stressful enough. So, the process of transitioning back into the workplace should be a smooth and comfortable one. Unfortunately, many injured workers have difficulty returning to work, especially those who are forced to come back, or those who have been away for a long period of time. As an injured worker receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you too may be mandated to return to work. Hopefully, your employer has a respectful and reasonable return to work policy in place for such situations, or at least willing to improvise one as they go. Either way, it is important to get your facts straight to ensure your rights and your benefits are protected.
Continue reading to review some frequently asked questions about having to return to work after being injured in an on-the-job accident.
During the workers’ compensation process, you are routinely seeing your doctor to monitor and record your recovery. At some point in time, your doctor will sign off on your work abilities, confirming that you have reached maximum medical improvement. This might happen sooner than you anticipate, leaving you full of doubts, along with an obligation to comply or risk losing your workers’ compensation benefits.
Here are some of the most common questions injured workers ask about returning to work after suffering a workplace injury:
▶ How Long Will I Be Off Work After a Workplace Injury?
Some injured workers are okayed to return, but under certain restrictions, while others are ordered to wait to return to work until they make further progress. In this latter case, workers are generally not signed off to work again until they have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), which means they have recovered as much as they are going to with medical care. Others are medically approved to return to work before they reach this point. When this happens, they are usually transitioned back into the workplace under certain limitations, such as a modified schedule or lighter duties.
▶ Am I Forced to Return to Work After Being Okayed by a Doctor?
If you are signed off by the doctor to go back to work, you must go back to work, otherwise, you could lose your workers’ compensation benefits. Once you receive your return to work date, be sure to notify your employer as soon as you receive this notice. Also ensure that you carefully examine the documents to learn the exact parameters of your return. Both your workers’ compensation representative and your employer should have copies of your doctor’s orders, especially if it includes any restrictions. You do have a right to have an independent medical examination performed if you disagree with the return to work decision made by the doctor chosen by the worker compensation carrier.
▶ How Does a Doctor Decide if I Am Okay to Return to Work?
As mentioned, every routine visit to your doctor serves as a record in time, monitoring the progress of your recovery, and gauging your capacity to return to your normal work duties. As this process unfolds, your doctor will decide when you can go back to work, and at what scope. Your doctor will do this by performing an evaluation, and then using the data to assign a workers’ compensation disability rating if you have an on-going disability. You have a right to request for an Independent Medical Exam (IME) to gain a second opinion on your ability to come back to work.
▶ How Do I Learn More About My Workers’ Compensation Rights in Indiana?
Call Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to speak with an experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney who specializes in Indiana workplace injury claims. Seasoned attorneys, Daniel Craven, Ralph Hoover, and Keith Blazek are equipped to recover the full and fair amount of compensation you deserve after being seriously injured at work. Recover for damages and losses, including medical expenses, hospital bills, lost wages, and more. We represent injured workers all throughout the State of Indiana, so get started with a free consultation, today.