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If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, you may be unsure about what you are entitled to receive by law. During or after a worker’s compensation claim settlement, your employer may make demands you feel are unfair, like returning to work before you have recovered. Here is what you need to know about your rights during recovery.
After an injury, several parties impact whether you stay at home, return to work with limitations, or return to work full time. These include your doctor, employer, attorney, and claims administrator. Your insurance, level of injury, and any pending lawsuits all impact when you will be expected to go back to work.
For some, a severe injury may lead to a longer recovery period. In other cases, an employee may never be able to do the same kind of work again. Everyone heals differently, so it’s important to speak up to your physician and attorney about your current situation. They can help you talk to your employer and claims administrator so you aren’t forced to return to work sooner than necessary.
Good communication with those involved in your case is the key to fair treatment during recovery. Some employers and even claims administrators may try to unethically pressure you into returning to work before you have healed. If you are not ready, your physician and attorney can prove your injury status and help you talk to your employer and/or claims administrator.
In California, California Labor Code section 132a addresses discrimination against injured workers. If you reject an assignment based on your current abilities, it is unethical and illegal for an employer to threaten or take action against you. Talk with your attorney as soon as possible, because there are deadlines on taking legal action against your employer.
There are limits to who can be fired after a workplace injury. If you cannot complete your normal scope of duties and there is no other job available at the company, your employer is not required to keep you on as an employee. Most workers’ compensation claims will offer vocational rehabilitation in these cases to help you make a transition into another job description.
It is always a good idea to seek the advice of your attorney throughout the recovery process. If your employer is discriminating against you or fails to offer you tasks that suit your current abilities, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Recovery should be your primary goal after a workplace injury. Unfortunately, fear of employer response and the ability to work in the future often overshadow the recovery process. Be as proactive as possible during this time by maintaining clear lines of communication between all decision-making parties.
For instance, if you feel like you can return to work with restrictions, make sure you have a copy of your doctor’s written restrictions and that your employer understands your limitations. If you interact with your employer before seeking legal advice, try to use written correspondence to negotiate your return to work. Writing encourages employers to follow the rules and provides you with evidence in the event that they do not.
The advice of a workers’ compensation attorney can be invaluable throughout this complex process. The world of workplace injury often comes with tension between an employee and employer. You are not at the mercy of your employer. Get the compensation and recovery time you need to get back to your life, and contact DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo today for more information.