It is rare that an on-the-job injury puts you out of work for the rest of your life. That said, what happens when you return to a life of gainful employment? It is not unusual for people to have questions about going back to work after a compensation claim. While rules and laws may vary from state to state, there are answers that apply to typical situations.
Why should I return to work?
Many wonder why they should return to work if they are receiving compensation benefits. This is an easy questions to answer. In the majority of cases, your comp payments will never match the amount you could make by returning to work.
What is a reduced earnings benefit?
In some cases, you may need to return to work with different duties and lesser pay. The reduced earnings benefit can make up the loss of earnings. Whether you meet the conditions for this benefit depends on your unique situation.
What happens to my medical treatment?
If you are seeking medical attention for your injury, you can continue to do so even if you return to work. Whether or not you are employed has no bearing on your ability to continue medical treatment. You may be reimbursed for the cost of prescriptions depending on the conditions of your compensation claim.
Will my job be waiting for me?
Your employer is not required to keep your position open. That said, most employers will allow an injured employee to return to work in a different position of the original one has been filled. Be sure to keep your employer in the know when it comes to your claim and your anticipated return to work.
Can a new employer refuse to hire me?
You may choose to seek employment at a new place of business. Your potential employer cannot legally ask you if you have ever filed a workers’ compensation claim. They cannot refuse to hire you because you have a past claim.
What if I have a partial disability?
A partial disability does not preclude you from seeking employment. You must look for employment that has conditions which you are able to safely fill. You may also want to talk to your employer about any adaptations you need to fulfill the duties of your old job. Many employers are happy to make these modifications when they have the ability to do so.
It is often in your best interest to return to work as soon as you are able after filing a workers’ compensation claim. If your doctor has cleared you for work, contact your employer if that is your desire. You may also seek employment elsewhere. The best thing you can do for yourself and your family is get back on your feet.