The workers’ compensation system is designed to help an employee return to gainful employment in the wake of a work injury, but there are a number of misconceptions about the process of returning to work after an injury. In today’s blog, we dispel a number of misunderstandings and misconceptions about returning to work following an on-the-job injury.
Busting Myths About Returning To Work After An Injury
Here’s a look at some of the misconceptions we’ve heard about the process of returning to work after an injury, and why they are myths.
1. Injured Workers Don’t Want To Return To Work – No, your injured co-worker isn’t just looking for a free handout so they can collect a paycheck without having to work. Not only do compensation claims have end dates, workers cannot collect a full paycheck through workers’ compensation. Wage loss benefits only pay a percentage of your average earnings, so many people want to get back to work as soon as possible in order to regain the financial stability they had prior to their injury. Workers are more likely to rush back to work before they are ready than to try and game the system and keep collecting benefits even though they could work.
2. Employees Must Be Able To Do Their Full Job In Order To Return To Work – You may be surprised to learn that you don’t need to be able to do all of your old duties in order to return to work. If an employer has light duty work available that is within the worker’s injury restrictions, a worker will be able to return while they are still recovering from their injury. In fact, if an employer has light duty work available and the employee refuses it, the employee could lose their injury benefits, because this is seen as contrary to the goal of returning to gainful employment.
3. The Doctor Has Final Say In Your Ability To Return To Work – Your treating physician will be the one to clear you to return to work or to participate in light duty, so their word does carry a lot of weight. However, if you disagree with their assessment, you are within your rights to seek a second medical opinion and follow their recommendations, so long as you keep your lawyer informed about the process.
4. If You Have Multiple Jobs, You Can Still Work At Places Where The Injury Did Not Occur – A number of workers hold multiple jobs, and that can make things a little confusing if they are injured at one job but want to continue working at another. It’s possible that you may be able to work a less physically demanding job while you recover from an injury, but you shouldn’t try to work a job while also collecting full wage loss benefits. Working and collecting a paycheck while claiming to be too injured to work is considered fraud, and can lead to fines and even jail time. Talk to a lawyer if you are confused about how a work injury will affect your other jobs.
For more information about returning to work after an on-the-job injury, or for assistance collecting compensation, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today at (952) 230-2700.
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