After experiencing a work-related injury or illness, it may be unclear when the appropriate time is to return to work. Returning to work too soon may prolong your injuries, while returning too late may risk your position in the company. Below, we have put together some helpful information to consider before returning to work after an injury.
When an injury keeps you from work, it is important to have a knowledgeable Cincinnati workers’ compensation lawyer at O’Connor, Acciani and Levy to assist you with these matters. We can explain when you should return to work, what restrictions may apply and why it is important not to return to regular duties too soon.
When To Return To Work?
When you are injured, you may frequently visit your doctor for treatment, medication and physical therapy. At some point, your doctor will provide a recommended time of when you can return to work under certain restrictions, light duties and standard job tasks until you reach full recovery. This may require staying clear of certain duties until reaching the maximum medical improvement or when the work injury is as healed as it is going to get. If your injuries continue to hold you back from your duties, you may need to pursue disability benefits or change industries completely.
Work Inside Your Restrictions
Some injuries are so severe, they lead to temporary or permanent disability. However, if you are able to return to work, you should understand what restrictions apply from your injury and not work beyond these limits. These restrictions can include the following:
- Weight limits in lifting, pushing or pulling objects
- Staying in chairs or standing for prolonged periods
- Performing repetitive motions and staying in the same location for a long time
- Performing tasks that are strenuous to the body
When released for light duties, you may need to explain these restrictions to your supervisor to ensure the work remains light until cleared for more on-duty tasks.
Understand Your Employer’s Return To Work Policy
Your employer may have a return to work policy for all employees whether for light duties or just generally returning after an injury. The employer cannot fire the employee for filing workers’ compensation claims, but the company is not required to hold the job indefinitely. Returning may require a release form from your doctor and certain forms from your employer as well. Applicable workers’ compensation policies may include the following:
- Confirmation of understanding with your employer about your limitations and restrictions
- Any reasonable accommodations if needed
- Open communication about returning to work, medical needs and changes in duties
Dangers That Exist In Working Too Soon
Some employees suffer injuries that have recurring symptoms. When returning to work too soon or when these symptoms recur, you may need additional treatment or physical therapy to overcome weakness or bouts of tremors and other ailments. Your condition may require additional medical procedures and treatment. If you return to work too soon, you could face the following issues:
- Additional injury
- Aggravated injury when duties are too strenuous
- Prolonged pain and suffering
- New conditions
- The need for more physical therapy and treatment because of aggravated injuries, pain and suffering, and additional trauma to the original injury
Contact A Trusted Lawyer For Help With Your Claim
After you or a loved one suffers an injury at work, it is important to have the support and resources of a knowledgeable team at O’Connor, Acciani and Levy. We can explain the dangers that exist in working full duties too soon, which restrictions should apply based on your unique condition and situation, and how to return to work based on your employer’s policies and guidelines. If you have any further questions about the process or if the employer pressures you to work before you are ready or the doctor recommends, our lawyers can assist you.