You suffered an injury at work. You’ve been off work for a few days or weeks to recoup. You aren’t sure when you should go back. It’s not an uncommon situation for people to feel they must go back to work immediately for fear of losing their job. Luckily, you have rights that protect you. You shouldn’t avoid getting the medical care you need. Instead, use your workers’ compensation rights to not only obtain the time off necessary, but the financial compensation owed to you.
At Paul Giannetti Attorney At Law, we work closely with clients who are trying to determine if they have a workers’ compensation claim and how to handle going back to work.
Benefits of Returning to Work
For most people, going back to work once they are able to do so makes sense. Under New York law, your employer does not have to maintain your position or keep your job open for you. While the employer must provide financial compensation for any work-related injuries you incur, they don’t have to hold your position. Protecting your position may be important to you – though you should never feel rushed to get back to work.
There are other benefits of returning to work as well. You may find that an active lifestyle can help you to heal faster. You may also see your income and benefits increase over time by going back to work. Still, others find their work rewarding and want to return to continue performing those tasks.
Another benefit to returning may be the most important to some. Once you are capable of working, going back to work may mean pay raises and promotions. Remember, your workers’ compensation benefits will never reach the amount that you could earn while on the job.
Returning to Work Too Early
On the other hand, returning to work too soon could be problematic. Going back too soon could mean you put yourself at risk for further injury. You may even develop a condition that is harder or impossible to treat. If you are not fully ready to go back to work, it’s best not to do so.
It’s possible to still receive coverage for your medical losses from an ongoing injury if you go back to work. You can still access the care you need for long-term treatment. And, you may still be able to file claims against workers’ compensation for your losses from the injury for up to two years after it occurs. You can do that even while you are working.
When Should You Return to Work?
By far the best way to learn when to go back to work is to lean on your doctor. Instead of making this decision yourself, speak to your doctor openly about your condition and about working. Most often, your doctor will take into consideration the type of work you do, how it could impact your injury or overall well-being at this point, and then will offer recommendations to you.
Follow your doctor’s orders. In some cases, this may involve a step-up program to get you back to work over time. It may include rehab before entering the workforce. By following your doctor’s directions, you don’t have to worry about making a rushed decision that could put you at risk.
Analyze the Possibility of a Worsening Condition
The biggest risk to individuals in returning to work is worsening their condition. For example, returning to work after a fall could mean stepping back into the work process with ease. However, if an injury is still present, a repetitive motion or other strain could mean that injury is worsened beyond what it was originally, putting you at risk.
Your workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t want you further injure yourself. If you or your doctor fear this could be a possibility, it’s best to seek out care first. Don’t rush into the return to work.
Return to Work Policy
It’s also important to understand the return to work policy from your employer. It may require specific steps to be taken before allowing you to return to work. You may also find that your return to work policy can outline the steps you need to take to report and file claims for your coverage. Most importantly, it’s important to stay in communication with your employer about the status of your injury and recovery.
Getting Support for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim from Our Attorneys
At Paul Giannetti Attorney At Law, we believe you should never go back to work until you are physically ready to do so. Additionally, you should have the compensation you need to ensure your return to work doesn’t come at a loss. Don’t settle your workers’ compensation insurance claim, then, until you speak to our aggressive, dedicated attorneys. Call us for a free consultation at 866-868-2960 or use our online contact form for immediate help.