Workers’ Comp and Returning to Work: What Are My Rights?

injured hand

Returning to work after a workplace injury is a critical phase for employees seeking to resume their professional lives. There are several legal considerations surrounding the return-to-work process, and getting back to your job requires careful attention to your rights and protections as an injured worker.

It should be the goal of any employee to maximize their productivity. But this objective should be in balance with maintaining safety and not aggravating your current injury. It’s important to understand the legal issues regarding returning to work after being hurt.

When Will I Be Ready to Return to Work?

Securing your doctor’s approval is crucial in getting back to your job after an injury. Remember that, pending your treating physician’s authorization, you have the right to return to work. It may be the case that you will only be able to resume limited duties, alter the expectations of your current job, or transition into a different position.

Before you make your official return to work, keep in touch with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) if you work in the state. You or your attorney should inform the BWC of any work-related restrictions you have or if you can’t return at your usual capacity. If your physician determines you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI) level but still can’t work, you’re typically still eligible for workers’ comp reimbursement.

Balancing Productivity and Safety

Returning to work after a workplace injury requires a delicate balancing act, where maximizing productivity and maintaining safety must not worsen your existing injuries. It’s crucial for you to communicate openly with your supervisor about your current health status, any limitations you have, and the accommodations you’ll need to return to your duties.

You should also proactively manage your workload and know what you can and can’t handle. Consider discussing with your employer a phased return to full duties, gradually increasing your responsibilities as you recover. It’s okay to set realistic expectations to prevent overexertion and reinjury.

Self-advocacy is crucial to a successful return to work. Speak up if you believe your workload or work environment hinders your recovery or poses a continued risk to your safety. Consult your treating physician or rehabilitation specialist if you need additional documentation to support requests for reasonable accommodations. You should also seek advice from your work injury attorney if you encounter any resistance or retaliation from your employer.

What If I Can’t Go Back to Work?

For some employees, the injury is severe enough to result in a temporary or permanent disability, preventing the return to work or continuation of regular duties. If you become temporarily or permanently disabled because of your work-related incident, you are entitled to continued compensation.

Your next step is to file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. A workers’ comp lawyer can help you file your claim and navigate the process. They can also work on your behalf to appeal a rejection of your initial (SSD) claim.

Benefits of Seeking Legal Representation for Workers’ Comp

Understanding your rights and responsibilities when returning to work after an injury can make for a relatively seamless transition. The balance between maintaining your productivity and staying safe requires informed decision-making and self-advocacy. As you navigate this process, remember that you have support from the lawyers at Clements, Taylor, Butkovich & Cohen LPA, Co. They can offer legal guidance and will represent your best interests on your journey back to work.