The Dangers of Returning to Work Too Soon After a Workplace Injury
Not all workplace injuries are severe enough to warrant having to take time off from work, but in cases where time away from work is necessary for the recovery process, it is crucial for an injured worker to heed all medical advice and to avoid returning to work too soon. Of course, most employers are eager for their employees to return to them, but you should always keep in mind that what is in their best interest is not necessarily in yours. You should always wait until you are completely healed and ready to handle the physical demands of your occupation. Otherwise, you risk injuring yourself again or being unable to ever make a complete recovery.
As eager as you or your employer might be for your return, if you push your doctor for a medical release or choose to come back before you are physically able to, you can not only potentially damage your health, but your workers’ compensation claim as well since you would no longer be able to receive these vital benefits. This would leave you both without a job and workers’ compensation benefits you need during your period of recovery. The only point at which an injured worker should accept a full medical release is when the doctor states that maximum medical improvement has been reached. For some, this might not mean a full recovery, but rather the most they can expect to recover.
Are There Any Benefits to Returning Early?
The fact is that there are no benefits to returning too early to work if you have no reached maximum medical improvement. Sure, returning to work will increase your income and benefits and you might even be happy to see any co-workers with which you have formed friendships, but you could end up further injuring yourself by doing so. If you injure yourself to the point where you have to take time off from work again or are unable to resume the same position again due to your health, this will leave you worse off in the long run.
Can You Be Fired for Not Returning to Work Fast Enough?
Employers are not obligated to keep your job waiting for you, though most will generally let their workers return as long as they stay in contact and inform their employer when they might be able to come back to work. However, your employer cannot fire you just because you filed a workers’ compensation claim nor are they allowed to ask you if you have ever filed a claim.
If your doctor clears you to return to work, it is crucial that you do so unless you successfully appealed the directive. If you have a partial disability as a result of your injury, you can request that reasonable accommodations be made for you or take up a different position within the company. If you end up getting paid less at your new position, you might be eligible for reduced earnings benefits through workers’ compensation, but it is imperative that you seek legal guidance to ensure you do not make any mistakes as you go through this complex process.
Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Orange County
If you sustained a workplace injury, you need to file for workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible. These benefits will cover the costs of your medical bills and a portion of your missed wages, so it is important to file a claim sooner rather than later. At Alvandi Law Group, P.C. in Orange County, our skilled team of workers’ compensation attorneys in Orange County is committed to fighting on behalf of injured workers and will do what is necessary to ensure you are able to obtain these important benefits.
Our law firm has served Southern California for over 30 years and is backed by a proven track record of success that includes over $100 million recovered for our clients. Additionally, our practice is solely dedicated to workers’ compensation cases, so you can trust that we have the knowledge and experience to handle your claim.