If you were hurt in a work accident, your main concern is recovering from your injuries and returning to your job. However, returning to work following a workers’ compensation claim isn’t as simple as just showing up at your office one day. You will need to get approval from your doctor and may need to follow the return-to-work processes that are required by your employer.
How Do You Know When to Return to Work?
When you are undergoing treatment for your work injury, your doctor will evaluate your condition and determine when you should go back to your job. Work injuries are generally classified as a temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent total disability, or permanent partial disability. Depending on how your injury is defined, your doctor will advise you on when you can return to work, and at what capacity. Your back-to-work timeline will impact the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you receive.
A doctor may order their patient to wait until they have reached “maximum medical improvement” to return to work, meaning their injuries have fully healed, or reached a plateau. In some cases, injured employees are able to return to work before that point, but are required to work fewer hours or at a less demanding job while they continue treatment.
What is Your Employer’s Policy?
The decision of when you are medically able to return to work will be determined by your doctor, but your employer may have their own “return to work” policy that you must adhere to. Your company’s policy may outline certain processes that must be followed before you are able to come back to your job.
For example, your employer may require you to provide a doctor’s note stating you are able to return to work. Or, you may need to create a plan with your employer for your path back to your former role. The terms of your employer’s return to work policy should be discussed during your workers’ compensation settlement process.
If your work injury is determined to be a temporary disability, there is an expectation that you will return to your job eventually. It is against the law for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a claim by firing you while you are out of work. Although you may need to take a different position because you are not physically able to return to your former role after an injury, your employer cannot demote you strictly because you filed a claim.
Contact The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC to discuss your rights following a work accident. Our attorneys can guide you through the workers’ compensation claim process and help you recover the benefits you deserve.To schedule a free consultation with our lawyers, complete our contact form or call (770) 741-2825.