Going back to work after a work related back injury can seem daunting, but unless you have been permanently disabled, it is likely something you’ll have to do. How you resume your normal job functions plays a role in not only how you feel, but also has the potential to affect any claim you may have against your employer for your injuries. Here’s how to return to work after you’ve been sidelined due to an on-the-job back injury.
Only Go Back to Work Once You’ve Received the Green Light From Your Doctor
Even if going back to work early seems like the right decision financially, it could compromise your personal injury case later on down the road. Never return to work unless it has been authorized by the doctor treating your injuries. Make sure you have a note from your doctor approving you for work, and whether you are to resume light duty or have any special restrictions on your activities at work.
Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions to the Letter
It is critical that you follow the instructions of your doctor precisely. If you are not allowed to lift over ten pounds, don’t attempt to lift an item that weighs twelve pounds. Your employer or your co-workers may harass you or tell you that it’s okay “just this once,” however, going directly against the instructions of your doctor is not in your best interest. Make sure your employer is fully aware of any limitations you have when going back to work, and document any requests that are made for you to engage in activities that are against your doctor’s instructions.
Report Your Earnings to Workers’ Compensation
Many people believe that if you go back to work at all, their workers’ compensation benefits will be stopped. This is not necessarily true. If employees return to their previous earning capacity, then it is highly likely that their workers’ compensation will cease, however, many employees only go back to work part-time or less as they continue to heal. If your injury is still causing you reduced income, you may still be eligible to receive workers’ compensation. Report your earnings to determine whether or not you will still be able to receive workers’ comp payments.
Follow the Advice Given to You by Your California Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you are working with a California workers’ compensation lawyer on your case, he or she will likely have advice to guide you through the process of going back to work. Your attorney is highly knowledgeable in how certain actions may or may not have an effect on your case, so be sure to follow your attorney’s advice as closely as possible.
At the Law Office of Michael J. Holmes, we have represented numerous clients who have experienced work related back injuries in California and can bring our expertise and resources to your case. Call us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your case at (714) 667-6844.