The Risks of Returning to Work Too SoonDecember 7, 2018
When an employee suffers a workplace injury that causes him or her to be out of work for some time, Workers’ Compensation benefits ensure that the injured worker receives the medical treatment necessary, reimbursement for lost wages, as well as a reasonable amount of time off to heal and recover. If the injury is severe, the employee may be out of work for an extended period of time.
Regardless of the injury, it is never a good idea to return to work before the injury has fully healed. Unfortunately, there are times when the Workers’ Compensation physician clears an injured employee to return to work too soon after the injury.
If this happens, resulting in a re-injury, consulting an experienced Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyer is highly recommended.
Independent Medical Examination
In most cases, in order to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, the injured worker will need to see an independent medical examination (IME) doctor, who will determine how long he or she should be out of work. Because the IME doctor works for the Workers’ Compensation insurance company, his or her recommendation may reflect the company’s best interests over the employee’s.
In other words, the IME doctor may clear the worker to return to work too soon, so that the company does not have to continue paying for Workers’ Compensation benefits. However, this can cause a range of problems, including re-injury, or never fully recovering from the initial injury.
Important Information About Returning to Work
Most employees who have been injured on the job are quite anxious to get back to work as soon they are physically able, in order to fulfill their job responsibilities. In addition to the financial benefits, going to work and providing for their family gives many workers a feeling of self-respect and self-worth.
Employers also want the injured worker back on the job as soon as possible, so that they can avoid paying costly Workers’ Compensation benefits. However, if an injured employee returns to work too soon, he or she may be unable to perform their regular job duties, or risk aggravating the existing injury, particularly if the job is physically demanding.
If an injured worker is cleared to return to work, he or she must do so, unless a successful appeal has been filed. Generally, an injured worker is protected from job loss for 12 weeks under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, employers are not legally required to hold an injured worker’s job. Most will, if the worker keeps the employer updated on the status of his or her recovery, and how soon he or she expects to return to work.
Another option is to pursue a Workers’ Compensation hearing, although it could take months before benefits are reinstated if the Commission rules in favor of the injured worker.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
If you have been injured at work, and you were approved to return to work before your injury was fully healed, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will review your medical records, and the details of your injury, and obtain the maximum financial benefits that you are entitled to receive. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.