The timeline to return to work begins on the day you became injured on the job. After your immediate medical needs have been met, your treatment and recovery are tracked until you can get back to work.
During this time, your boss may pressure you to return to work quickly. He or she may even threaten to let you go. However, only your doctor has the authority to decide when you have recovered enough to return to work. Even if do not feel ready, it is important to return to work when you are cleared to do so or you risk losing your benefits.
An experienced worker’s compensation lawyer in Appleton is ready to assist you and advocate for your best interests. We have helped many injured workers over the years obtain worker’s comp benefits. The initial consultation we offer is free of charge and there are zero upfront fees to utilize our services.
Call (920) 245-3400 for a Free Case Review.
Deciding Factors For You Returning to Work
While you are recovering from an injury, multiple factors are involved in you returning to work. You will need to keep in contact with your boss and his or her worker’s comp insurer about your treatment.
However, neither your boss nor their insurance company decides when you are able to return to work. Your boss may even try to force you to return early but you are under no obligation to do so.
Your treating doctor is the only one qualified to determine when you can get back to your job duties. He or she will conduct exams throughout your recovery process. Your doctor may decide to release you for a full return or a return with some restrictions. These restrictions may include avoiding certain movements, such as standing for long periods, or limits on how much weight you are able to lift or carry.
Some injured workers are not cleared for work until they have reached maximum medical improvement. This means that they have healed from their work injury as best as they are ever going to.
What if I Do Not Agree With the Decision?
If your doctor has cleared you to return to work, you may not feel that you are ready. Perhaps you do not feel fully recovered from your injury or think you need further physical therapy or other treatment.
However, you are required by law to return to work unless you successfully appeal the decision. It is important to note that you can always ask for a second opinion. Refusing to return to work after an injury will likely jeopardize your employment and worker’s compensation benefits.
If you are returning to work with a partial disability or some work restrictions, you have the right to ask for accommodations to help facilitate your return. Under the law, your boss and his or her worker’s comp insurer are required to make accommodations as long as they are reasonable and attainable.
When Your Doctor Releases You on Light Duty
While you are still being treated for your injury or undergoing physical therapy, your doctor may decide that you can return to work but on light duty. This means that you are able to perform some tasks, but not all of your previous job duties due to your current medical limitations.
If your boss does not have a light-duty job available, you may still be able to continue receiving worker’s comp benefits. If there is a light-duty job you can do, your doctor will need to approve it and the expected duties before you can return to work. If you will get paid less than what you were earning before being injured, you may be able to receive partial benefits.
After returning to work, worker’s compensation is still responsible for paying any ongoing medical bills related to your workplace injury. Your full benefits may be reinstated under the following conditions:
- You get laid off from your job
- You are fired without just cause
- Your doctor reevaluates you and decides that you should not be working
Can I Be Fired for Not Returning to Work Quickly?
Your boss is not legally allowed to fire you if your doctor has excused you from missing work. This includes not taking a light-duty job that does not meet the restrictions set forth by your doctor.
Any employer that harasses or threatens you after a work injury may be in violation of Wisconsin’s worker’s compensation law. However, state law does not require employers to hold your job. If your job must be filled while you are out recovering from your workplace injury, your boss is within his or her legal right to do so. Fortunately, your worker’s comp benefits will likely continue.
Get Legal Help You Need After a Workplace Injury
If you are facing issues with returning to work, our lawyers at Sigman Janssen are here to help. We are well-versed in the state’s worker’s compensation system and have a proven track record. We have successfully recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for injured workers throughout Wisconsin.
Contact us today to get started on reviewing your situation. An initial consultation comes at no cost, risk or obligation to you. We only get paid for the services we provide if we help you obtain benefits.
Trusted. Local. Lawyers. Ph: (920) 245-3400