2 Tips to Keep in Mind Before Returning to Work After a Workers Comp Claim

If you suffered an injury at work, you may be eager to go back to work and get back to your "real life." However, it is very important to make sure you don't return to work until you have fully recovered from your injury. Not only can returning to work before you are ready put your health in jeopardy now, but it can affect your ability to seek any additional worker's compensation benefits you deserve later. Keep the following two tips in mind before you return to work protect your rights. 

1. Don't Let Your Employer Talk You Into "Tricking" Your Doctor Into Issuing Your Work Release Early

Even if you feel like you fully trust your employer and trust that they care about your well-being, it is important to know that many workers who have been injured on the job and filed worker's compensation claims have been scammed by employers who they once trusted.

The victims report that their employers first called them and talked them into having their doctors provide them full duty work releases before they actually fully recovered from their injuries. The employers told them that even with the full duty work release, they would make sure their tasks were light and that others at the work place would help them when needed or made them feel special by telling them that "no one else can do their job as well as they did." 

Then, after the employees obtained full duty work releases from their doctors (they likely lied to their doctors and told them that they were feeling much better when they were not), they showed back up to the workplace only to find out that their employer promptly fired them! 

If your employer were to pull this "scam" on you, not only would you lose your job and current worker's compensation payments for time off due to injury, but any future medical bills related to your current injury would also become your responsibility to pay. 

Workers compensation attorneys advise anyone on workers compensation who is very eager to return to work to ask their doctors for a trial full duty work release. This work release enables you to try working to see if you can handle it physically and mentally for a specified period of time and then, if you cannot, you can then stop working and continue to collect workers compensation benefits. 

2. Look into Your State's Permanent Partial Disability Laws

If your injury seems to not be improving greatly and you worry that your health or bodily function may never return to its pre-injury state, then it is important to know about permanent partial disability workers compensation. You may have heard of permanent total disability workers compensation and know that only people who lose both arms or suffer other injuries that are so severe that they can't return to work at all qualify for this compensation. However, many people who are injured at work and can technically go back to working some jobs, yet cannot remain in their current career due to their injuries, never file for permanent partial disability just because they have never heard of it. 

If you already know that you have suffered an injury that will never fully "heal," such as the loss of a finger, then you should contact a workers compensation attorney right now to discuss getting ready to file a permanent partial disability claim once your doctor tells you that you have obtained MMI, or Maximum Medical Improvement. Your doctor will then have to give your disability a rating, which designates just how much it will impair your ability to work in the future. 

This rating will be submitted to your state's workers compensation agency, and you will then receive either a lump sum payment to cover the wages you are predicted to lose for the rest of your life due to the partial disability or begin paying you weekly or bi-weekly for your lost wages. 

Don't worry that you won't be able to return to the work world after being approved for permanent partial disability workers compensation, because after approval, you can go on to tackle any job that you are still capable of performing. 

If you are now taking time off work to heal from an injury and receiving worker's compensation benefits, then you want to make sure that you only return to work when you are fully recovered from your injury and know what to do if your doctor does not suspect that you will ever fully recover. Speak to a workers comp lawyer if you have any additional questions about your injury and any additional compensation you may be entitled to receive.