One thing all workers compensation claimants fear is hearing that it is time to go back to work. While there are some people who would love nothing more than to milk the system for months on end, most people want to do what’s right. Most of the clients our Greenville workers comp lawyers have represented over the years are eager to get back to work. They just don’t want to do that before they’re physically ready. Only we know our bodies the way we do. Even if the workers compensation doctor think you’re healed, that doesn’t mean they’re right.
It’s the workers’ compensation doctor’s job to treat you. It is also their duty to let your employer know when you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. This just refers to the point at which your doctor determines further care will not improve your condition. For example, if you suffered a neck injury, you may always have decreased range of motion. It would make no sense for you to continue to attend physical therapy longer than necessary. Your doctor is, of course, hoping to get you back to work as soon as possible. While that may be your goal too, your Greenville workers comp lawyer knows you may fear going back too soon.
Our Greenville Injury Lawyers Handle Many Cases Where our Client is Asked to Return to Work Too Soon
Every now and then, we represent a client who is asked to return to work too soon. Sometimes we are already representing these workers in their workers’ compensation case. Other times, a person has no reason to contact a Greenville workers comp lawyer until they’re forced to go back to work early. In either case, our Greenville injury lawyers will help you explain to your employer that you aren’t ready to come back. In cases like this, it all comes down to the second medical opinion.
Your attorney will arrange for you to be examined by another doctor – one independent from the one that treated you for your workplace injuries. Depending on what this doctor says, it could either help or hurt your case. There’s no way to know until after you’ve seen them. If they argue that you need more time to recover, then your Greenville workers comp lawyer can appeal the decision to return to work. If the doctor agrees that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, then you’ll have little choice but to go back to work.
Why Would Your Employer or Their Insurance Company Do This?
You may wonder why your employer cares so much about whether you return now or a month from now. What you must realize is that your employer has to pay someone else to do your job while you are out on workers compensation. They may transfer this person from some other department. Or they may have had to hire a new person to do your job while you’re out. The sooner you’re back at work, the sooner they can stop paying two people to do one job. They can either let the other worker go (if they were hired as a temporary employee) or they can move them back to the department they came from. Either way, it keeps costs down for your employer. On top of that, it can help keep their workers compensation insurance premiums down somewhat.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Just Refuse to Go Back to Work
One important point we must make here is that the last thing you should do is flat-out refuse to go back to work. Not only will your workers’ compensation benefits be terminated, but you will also lose your job. Your employer is allowed to fire you for any reason at all. In fact, they don’t even have to give a reason in all situations. You don’t want to give them any more reason to let you go. Employers are never happy when a worker is out on workers compensation. They certainly won’t be happy with you if you refuse to come back, even on light duty.
Trust That Your Greenville Workers Comp Lawyer Will Do Their Best to Get You Benefits
When you feel like you’re being bullied by your employer, you need to let your Greenville workers comp lawyer aware of it. While out on workers compensation, your employer is not supposed to have any contact with anyone other than your Greenville injury lawyer. If they contact you and demand that you return to work before you’re ready, there will be trouble. First, your Greenville workers comp lawyer can demand that you get a second opinion from an independent doctor. Second, they can appeal the determination that you’ve been cleared to return to work in the first place. While this happens, you may have to return to work in a light-duty position. It is doubtful that they will let you stay home once they make the move to have you come back to work early.
We recommend that you hire a seasoned Greenville injury lawyer long before it gets to that point. If you have an attorney handling things for you, then your employer will have to go through them when it’s time to return to work. If your attorney is confident that you aren’t ready, they will let the other side know that. If they still insist that you return, your Greenville workers comp lawyer will deal with them. The last thing you should worry about right now is legal issues. If your lawyer is unable to get your recovery time extended, then they can always push for you to go back gradually at first. Perhaps you can return part-time rather than full-time, at least for a few weeks. Or they may be able to redefine your job description so that you aren’t putting your health at risk when you do return.
Since we offer new clients a free, initial consultation, we suggest you call our firm the same day as your workplace accident. Sit down with someone who’s handled cases like yours before. Our associates know the law in North Carolina and know how to negotiate with the big insurance companies. It all depends on the facts of your case. At least give yourself a fighting chance and hire an experienced Greenville injury lawyer right away.