Does returning to work ruin your workers’ compensation case?
Not at all! This question comes up a lot in workers’ compensation cases. When someone is injured they have to balance their personal and professional obligations while including their injury as a new variable.
This is completely understandable. Often times people want to try to get back to work but are not sure if their body will hold up. This uncertainty can cast a shadow over everything a person has to consider when they have a work injury.
First and foremost you should speak to your doctor and find out what you are physically capable of. While your injury may be improving, you may not be able to return at 100%. If you can only work part-time or in some other lesser capacity, you may be entitled to an award for reduced earnings.
For example, Joe made $900 per week before he was hurt, but because of his injury can only work in a limited capacity and make $600 per week now. If it is found that the injury is the cause of that reduced wage, then Joe may be entitled to 2/3 the difference – or a $200 award – while his injury causes that reduction.
If your doctor clears you to return to work in at least a limited capacity, you should be sure to keep track of the paperwork provided to you by both your doctor and your employer. “If you have questions about reduced earnings, and whether this might be an issue on your case, be sure to consult with an attorney.”
Finally, there are a number of issues that can continue to arise on any claim. One of them is the potential for a “reduced earnings” award that is the result of a person’s returning to work, but not at full duty or full time.
A Return To Work Checklist
- Doctor’s note and limitations.
- Letter from employer about your return to work.
- Paystubs and tax information following your return to work.
- Continued reports from your doctor.
And most importantly, if you return to work but find that your condition is getting worse or your symptoms increase, see your doctor immediately and further discuss how you should proceed.