How Soon Can You Return To Work After An Accident?
Work-related accidents can vary from very serious to minor. How long you are out of work depends on several factors. Learn more about determining your go-back date by reading below.
Follow your doctor's orders. Once you file a workers' compensation claim, you may be working with a doctor on your case. You might also use a doctor of your own choosing. The doctor in charge of your care makes all the decisions about your care. They determine when you are well enough to go back to work in most cases. However, the workers' compensation insurer also may have a say in when you return to work.
Follow your own instincts as well. Only you can say when you are ready to return to work. The more serious the injury or illness, the longer you may need to remain away from your job. While you not working, the workers' compensation insurer should be paying you a disability payment. However, it won't be as much as you would earn at your job. Don't allow financial issues to send you back to work too soon. You could end up making your injuries much worse.
Follow the workers' compensation insurer recommendations. The insurer may require that you undergo a medical exam to find out more about your health status. The results of the exam may provide you and the insurer with enough information to make a decision about returning to work. You are not locked into returning only to your previous position. You can go back to work part-time or be assigned light-duty work for a period of time. Both of those options include returning to your previous employer.
However, you may also be unable to go back to your previous job. There may be no way to work part-time or light duty. Depending on your injuries and physical state, you may be offered another position at another employer. In some cases, this position is known as a suitable job. Suitable jobs must meet very stringent criteria such as:
- It must be in the same geographic area.
- It must not interfere with your injuries.
- You must be able to perform job tasks.
- The pay should be commensurate with your previous job.
At any point in the process, you may disagree with a workers' compensation ruling. In most cases, you have workers' rights to appeals and other measures. Speak to a workers' compensation lawyer if you are dealing with an uncooperative employer or insurer.