When workers are injured on the job, the goal is to heal and return to life as it was. Not only does work give a person self-worth and purpose, workers’ compensation doesn’t take the place of a full-time salary with benefits. While most workers can go back to life as it was, sometimes injuries are chronic and prevent the return to work at full capacity.
If you are returning to work but not full time or not in the same capacity as before the injury, you still have workers’ compensation rights. Here are a few tips to protect your rights to them:
Maintain regular medical treatment.
Even if your doctor has said just come back when you have a problem, you should still go back every six months to have an analysis of your condition. Make sure your doctor can handle workers’ compensation claims because not all doctors can.
Have your doctor reassess your capacity to complete your daily work functions.
Get a disability slip at each visit. This document denotes a specific period of time when a patient is deemed unable to work or at what capacity he or she can work. You don’t want to be surprised about your doctor’s opinion and asking for this slip each time will keep you communicating properly with both your physician and your employer.
Don’t ignore notifications from your insurance company.
Don’t put your head in sand. This is a good time to see an attorney to know how to complete forms accurately so as not to jeopardize your rights. You may think you don’t need to do anything because nothing has changed but failure to complete certain forms can cause a cessation of benefits.
Report any earnings or changes in financial details to your lawyer and/or insurance company.
Part time work, side work, gig work, pension, social security. These are great ways to supplement your income but, because they can affect your entitlement to workers’ compensation consult with an attorney before you enter into these financial situations. Make sure you keep proof of your earnings such as pay stubs, job invoices, expenses, etc.