No matter what your field of work, you deserve fair treatment and care as you recover, especially if the injury leaves you unable to perform the job you held previously. Unfortunately, many workers do not know what their employer’s obligations are to assist them with their recoveries.
Sometimes employers may pressure their workers to return to their jobs before they recover fully and are able to resume their duties. This poses very serious dangers to the workers, and may end up costing the employers a great deal more money in the long run.
If you recently suffered a workplace injury, it is very important that you understand exactly what your company’s responsibilities are to you during your recovery. You may miss out on a number of benefits available to you from your employer, or you might return to work before your injury has truly healed.
It is always wise to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney throughout this process. An attorney can help you examine your circumstances fairly in the eyes of the law and help you protect your rights as you recover.
What if my boss wants me to come back to work before I’m healed?
Sometimes, the employer, the employer’s insurer — or both — may pressure you to return to the job before your injury has completely healed. In many cases, a doctor may recommend returning to work while remaining on “light duty,” which is usually acceptable, but light duty is not always available in some industries.
Especially if your job is physically demanding, it is important not to rush the recovery process. An insurer may want to resolve it quickly to protect its own bottom line, thereby pressuring you and your employer to resolve the issue quickly.
Do not be afraid to stand up for the recovery that you actually need. Returning to work before fully healing is not only dangerous for the worker, it may cost the employer more in the long run if the worker re-injures him- or herself because of the early return. You can reach out to an experienced attorney to help you defend your recovery time.
What about vocational rehabilitation?
In some instances, it is not feasible for an injured worker to return to the position he or she previously held. When this occurs, the employer may also face an obligation to help the worker transition to a different position.
This may mean retraining the worker for a different position within the company, or may include assisting the worker in pursuing a different career path.
The ways that an employer must assist the injured worker vary from state to state and depend on the nature of the worker’s injury. If you recently suffered a workplace injury, be sure to explore all of your legal and vocational options to discover exactly which benefits for which you are eligible. Professionals can help you navigate this difficult event and allow you to focus on your physical recovery first.