Assisting Clients Across California Since 1993

When do I need to return to work after a workplace injury?

There are many different jobs in the Folsom area that have inherent dangers. Many involve significant physical requirements, use heavy machinery, expose workers to chemicals and other hazardous materials and involve other dangers. That is why it is so important that workers in these various jobs have the proper safety equipment and use it as well. When safety equipment and procedures are not followed, accidents can occur and workers can suffer serious injuries.

The injuries can keep the workers from being able to work in addition to requiring medical treatment. So, these injuries can be costly financially as well. That is why people injured on the job have a right to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits pay a portion of the injured workers’ income as well as pay for the medical bills associated with the treatment they receive as a result of the injury.

At some point in time, the hope is that people are able to get back to work. However, there can be disputes over when the worker should return. It is not uncommon for the insurance carrier for the workers’ compensation benefits and the treating physicians to have a different opinion about people’s ability to work.

How to determine when a return to work is appropriate

Ultimately, the decision on when to return to work is based on the opinions of a few different people. These people include the treating physician, the employer, the claims adjuster and, potentially an attorney, if the worker has an attorney. All these people bring different perspectives and need to be in communication to make the proper decision about whether the worker can return to work, considering all of the factors.

As stated above, there could be disagreements among all of the people involved in the decision to return to work. If there is a dispute that cannot be resolved on its own, the worker may need to be evaluated by a Qualified Medical Evaluator who is an independent, neutral doctor with special training for making these decisions. The outcome of that exam will help make the final decision on returning to work.

Workers’ compensation benefits are very important for injured workers in California. They can help people make it financially when they are unable to work. However, it is important that they return to work only when they are truly ready.

While many will want to get back to work soon, if they go back too soon, they could reaggravate the injury or hurt something else as they compensate for the injury. There are few people involved in making this decision and consulting with an attorney who understands that workers’ compensation could be valuable.