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Problems with Returning to Work Too Soon After an Injury

construction-guy-helping-coworker-on-scaffoldAfter a workplace injury, one question many workers have as bills pile up is: when can I get back to work?

While it is understandable why employees want to get back to work, going back too soon can be a bad idea for a few reasons.

Sometimes a doctor will clear someone before he or she should have been cleared to return to work. Other times, a company may subtly pressure an employee to shrug off an injury and return to work before he or she is physically capable of doing the job.

Risk of More Injuries

Continuing to work with a minor injury can put you at risk for aggravating the injury and making it much more severe. You could also put a strain on other body parts as you compensate for your existing injury.

It is understandable that you want to push through and continue working but you could be taking a tremendous risk by doing so.

If you suffer another injury, you will need to go back on workers’ compensation, which you could have been receiving anyway if you had not rushed back.

It is illegal for your employer to fire you simply for filing a workers’ compensation claim and collecting benefits.

Trouble Adjusting to Medication Side Effects

Medications can cause a variety of side effects that not only make it more difficult to do your job but could also put you in danger. You should not assume that being prescribed medication is a green light to return to work.

You should avoid returning to work until you understand how the medication affects you cognitively and physically, including effects on your:

  • Judgment
  • Perception
  • Motor skills

In some cases, the side effects of medication may make it unsafe and unproductive for you to return to work until you are finished taking it.

Do You Need to Go Back to Work When Your Doctor Says You Can?

If your doctor says you are ready to return to work, you may need to, in the interest of preventing your employer from giving your job to someone else because you did not go back.

However, if you do not feel ready, you may be able to get a second opinion. This is a complicated issue that should be discussed with a licensed attorney dedicated to defending your best interests.

You may need an opinion from a specialist with detailed knowledge of the kind of injury you suffered and treatment and recovery for these injuries.

When Does the Law Say Workers’ Comp Benefits Stop?

If you get hurt at work and are temporarily disabled, workers’ compensation benefits for this temporary disability will only stop if:

  • You are cleared to return to work by your doctor.
  • Your condition stabilizes, neither getting better nor getting worse.
  • You return to regular, modified, or alternative work at regular wages.
  • You have received up to two years of benefits within five years of the injury.

Contact a Trusted Lawyer for Further Assistance

The Bakersfield workers’ compensation attorneys at Berry, Smith & Bartell have 60 years of combined experience with workers’ compensation cases. We help workers throughout the California Central Valley pursue benefits for their injuries.

We charge no upfront fees and work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you are not charged anything unless we help you recover compensation on your claim.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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