Can I Be Forced Back to Work After an Injury?
A workplace accident can cause a cascade of injuries and health concerns, and you must take the time to heal before returning to work. While you can’t be forced back to work after an injury on the job, you will need to return once your doctor says you’ve recovered enough to go back with or without work restrictions. In some cases, you may not be able to work the same position or at all due to a permanent disability from the workplace incident.
The Orlando workers’ compensation lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright understand the complicated nature of workers’ comp claims and are avid advocates for victims’ rights. Depending on the details of your injury, a third-party suit may be pursued along with seeking workers’ compensation. We will help you through the process and pursue the maximum compensation you need to cover the losses you’ve endured and ensure you are not forced back to work before you are ready.
Who Decides When I Should Return to Work After an Injury?
Ultimately, your doctor will decide when you should return to work after a workplace injury. Still, if you disagree, there are outlets to protect your employment and right to recover fully before going back to work. If your treating physician doesn’t believe you can perform the same duties upon your return, they will need to explain their recommendation. They may provide details for work restrictions or the need for a different position.
In the State of Florida, you may choose a physician from a list provided by your employer in some situations. In other cases, your employer may designate which doctor you must visit. After you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), you will have to pay a patient co-pay for medical services.
The workers’ comp process can be very complex and confusing. An Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected and help you navigate the process
What Is the Typical Workers’ Comp Return to Work Timeline?
Every workplace injury and accident is unique. Your timeline to return to work depends on the extent of bodily harm and the circumstances involved. You should only return once your doctor has cleared you to go back. Generally, workers’ compensation benefits require regular appointments with a doctor to evaluate your recovery and ensure an updated timeline for your return. It’s essential to wait until you are physically capable of working again to avoid exacerbating your injuries, especially if your job is physically demanding.
You need to wait until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, or your doctor states you can return with restrictions. Beyond work restrictions set by your treating doctor, you can’t be forced back to work after an injury on the job. However, it is in your best interest to work with your employer through this process, as many companies will offer you a chance to return to the workplace within your restrictions.
What Are Work Restrictions?
Work restrictions are documented by a medical professional qualified to evaluate your recovery and health. These typically dictate what you can and can’t do while performing your job duties. Your treating doctor may outline work restrictions after you receive workers’ comp benefits, which may include:
- No lifting of objects weighing more than 20 to 30 pounds
- No lifting of heavy objects “X” amount of times per hour of your shift
- No standing for longer than one to two hours
- No reaching above shoulder level, kneeling, squatting, or climbing, depending on the type of injury
Your employer’s ability to help you is limited to the availability of a job at the company that meets your work restrictions.
Can My Employer Fire Me If I Don’t Return to Work Soon Enough?
The Florida Division of Worker’s Compensation states that if your treating physician determines that you are capable of performing light-duty or limited tasks and light-duty or limited tasks are available at your place of employment, you are legally required to make an honest effort to return to work. If you do not, you forfeit your eligibility for lost wage benefits.
Your employer can stop workers’ compensation payments even if the pay for the light-duty or limited tasks is less than your previous position and even if you have not totally recovered.
Your employer may fire you if you refuse to return to work after your treating doctor says you’re well enough to perform limited or light-duty job duties.
If you’ve been hurt in an on-the-job accident, you need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to guide you through the process. Our seasoned attorneys will work to ensure you receive the full benefits to which you are legally entitled and make sure you’re not forced to return to work before you are physically ready.
To discuss your situation with an Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer in confidence, call (800) 766-1000 or tell us how we can help online today.