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When Should You Return to Work after a Workplace Injury?

More Work injuries can be serious and take time to heal. If you go back to work too soon, your injuries can get worse. Find out more here. Work injuries can be serious and take time to heal. If you go back to work too soon, your injuries can get worse, you could lose your workers’ […]
Published:  February 25, 2020

Work injuries can be serious and take time to heal. If you go back to work too soon, your injuries can get worse. Find out more here.

Work injuries can be serious and take time to heal. If you go back to work too soon, your injuries can get worse, you could lose your workers’ compensation, and if you find out you can’t perform your duties, you could lose your job. Find out how to protect yourself. 

While you were unpacking boxes on the loading dock where you work, you fell and injured your back. Your injury is pretty bad, and you won’t be able to go back to work for a while. 

You’re receiving workers’ compensation, but then you receive a call from your boss saying he would like you to come back to work as soon as possible. You don’t like sitting around, and you feel tempted to go back to work. 

You may not be used to staying home and not working, but you need to think about your injury and recovery. If you go back to work too soon, you may not heal properly, and you could lose your workers’ compensation. Don’t let your employer pressure you into going back to work too soon.  

Workers’ Compensation

 If you’re injured at work, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. An insurance policy purchased by your employer handles the claim. The benefits pay for doctor’s bills, treatment, therapy, out-of-pocket expenses, and in most cases, about two-thirds of your lost wages. 

So far, you have done everything right. You informed your boss about your injury and then went straight to the emergency room. At the hospital, they took an X-ray to determine the extent of your injury. Your claim for workers' compensation was accepted, and you have been going for treatment. 

Keep Your Employer Informed

 It’s essential to keep your employer informed about your condition and how you are progressing. Keep your employer updated about your progress and when you might return to work. Don’t give a specific date. Your doctor will determine the return date. 

Staying in touch with your employer shows your interest in your job. Once you have a return date, contact your employer to let him or her know. This way, you can both make plans for your return to work. 

When to Go Back to Work

  If you return to work too soon you may not be able to perform your job duties. Your employer is no longer obligated to pay your worker's compensation benefits once you return to work. If you aren’t able to perform your job, you could be fired.

The last thing you want to do is go back to work too soon and lose your workers’ compensation benefits or make your injury worse. Your employer can’t legally force you to go back to work if you’re not medically ready. When you have a work injury, it comes down to your doctor’s assessment about when you’re ready to go back to work. If your doctor thinks you need more time to recover, you should wait and continue treatment.

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*"Contingent attorneys” "No fee unless you win or collect" and "You only pay us if we win your personal injury claim" fees refer only to those fees charged by attorneys for their legal services. Such fees are not permitted in all types of cases. Court costs and other additional expenses of legal action usually must be paid by the client.

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Mike Hostilo is not licensed to practice law in South Carolina.
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