Suffering an injury while working can be severely disruptive to your life. If the injury is bad enough to require you to file a workers’ compensation claim, you might miss a significant amount of time from your job while you recover. You may have questions about your ability to return to work.
What is necessary for you to return to work?
When you’re receiving workers’ compensation benefits due to injuries sustained at work, the goal is to get you to return to your job as soon as you’re medically able. If you feel ready to return to work, your doctor, employers and the claims administrator will decide whether it’s appropriate.
In some cases, the outcome might be that you can return to work but with restrictions and reasonable accommodations by your employer. You might also be able to come back to work but perform a different job while you recover from your injury.
Can you work while recovering?
After you file a workers’ compensation claim due to an on-the-job injury, the doctor will assess your condition and send their findings to the claims administrator. If the doctor finds that you are able to work while you recover, your job will include certain restrictions. In some situations, the doctor may determine that you cannot return to work while you recover.
Can you work with restrictions?
If you are deemed able to work by your doctor but only under the condition of restrictions, your employer must be able to accommodate you. Your employer may have to acquire special equipment for you or modify the duties you perform on the job. If your doctor clears you to return to work without restrictions, your employer is required to give you back the same job and salary you held prior to your injury.
What if your employer offers you work?
Your employer may offer you work, but it has to meet the restrictions set by the doctor. There are different scenarios for that, which include the following:
- Regular job: You return to your regular job for at least one year with the same pay and benefits.
- Modified work: You return to your regular job with some modifications to accommodate your injury. Restriction requirements must be met while you work at least one year. You are paid at least 85% of your previous salary and benefits.
- Alternative work: This is a new position with your employer that includes restrictions. The job should last at least one year and pay at least 85% of your prior salary and benefits.
What if your employer doesn’t offer you work?
If your injury occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2013 and your employer has not offered you work, you may continue your permanent disability benefits. Those benefits should not change.