Q: When returning to work after an on-the-job accident, should I be concerned about worsening my injury? Are the restrictions my doctor recommended enough to keep me from re-injuring myself? What factors should influence my decision to go back?
Returning to work after recovering from an accident can be both freeing and nerve-racking. After weeks of being stuck at home, enduring treatments, and focusing on physical therapy, the opportunity to get back to “normal” can feel invigorating. In addition to the physical freedom, getting back to work also provide a bit more financial freedom as well.
Though you may have received workers’ compensation during your leave, it most likely wasn’t enough to cover all of your expenses. Therefore, getting the okay to return to work may seem like a relief, at least a relief for your pocketbook. However, just because you were cleared to go back doesn’t mean your health will benefit from the return.
Are You Ready?
One thing you must question when deciding when to return to work is whether or not it’s a safe opportunity for you. Although you may not want to admit it, the opportunity to earn wages again should take a back seat to protecting yourself from further injury. After all, if returning to work damages your health, you may wind up having to take additional recovery time away from work. To prevent further injuries you should discuss the following with your employer before resuming your job:
- Your ability to safely complete your assigned tasks… on or off work restrictions. Depending on your injury, an independent medical examiner or your doctor may place you on certain work restrictions, such as lifting limitations, required rest periods, or shift length restrictions. Your employer must respect these restrictions, and make allowances for you to do your job, if it is safe for you to do so.
- Your ability to receive options for additional restrictions if needed. Only you can determine if you’re capable of completing the tasks assigned to you, whether restricted or not. If your employer has made reasonable accommodations for your light duty status, but you still feel as though you may not be able to accomplish certain tasks safely, you need to say something. Let your supervisor know. He may be able to accommodate your needs further and adjust your tasks.
Support to Make You Feel Comfortable During Your Return
In some situations, your employer may object to you returning to work under light duty restrictions. When your employer blatantly ignores your work restrictions or makes it impossible for you to work without pain, call workplace injury attorney Steve Lee.
You shouldn’t have to risk greater bodily harm because your employer refuses to follow your doctor’s orders. Steve Lee is available to speak with you about your possible legal options. His bilingual team of attorneys can be reached at 800-232-3711, and can help you defend your rights. Don’t risk further injury—call now to schedule your complimentary case review.