If you are injured on the job and are considering filing for compensation, one of the first things you’ll do is head to a doctor for an evaluation and care. During this assessment, your doctor will evaluate your injuries, have a conversation about your work duties and then make a judgment as to whether or not you can return to work in a full or partial capacity, or if you’ll have to wait until some healing has occurred. If they suggest that you can return on a limited basis, they’ll likely place restrictions on what type of duties you can perform.
But what happens if you disagree with their restrictions? What if your employer doesn’t agree with your restrictions, or they can’t accommodate you in a position with these restrictions? We answer those questions and more in today’s blog.
I Don’t Agree With My Doctor’s Work Restrictions
Let’s begin by talking about your options if you disagree with your doctor’s assessment of your work injuries. We’ll cover a few different scenarios and lay out your options for each.
You Believe Your Injuries Are Underreported – If you believe that your injuries are underreported and returning to work in the given capacity could lead to worsening injuries, you can’t just ignore the restrictions and attempt to collect workers’ compensation. You’ll report these restrictions to your employer, and they’ll work to accommodate you within those restrictions. If they have work for you, and you refuse because you do not believe it is safe to do so, you will almost assuredly have any workers’ compensation claim denied by the insurance company. They will argue that you are refusing gainful employment within the scope of your restrictions, and they will deny your claim.
Instead of going this route, if you truly believe your injuries are underreported, seek out a second medical opinion. They may provide a different professional medical opinion that you can lean on in order to collect injury compensation while you recover. Of course, if they see the same thing as your first doctor, you’ll need to return to work.
You Believe Your Injuries Are Overreported – Again, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion in this scenario. Even if you think the doctor is being overly cautious, seek out a second opinion and share these findings with your employer. If you try to return to work in a capacity above what’s put forth by your doctor’s restrictions and the problem worsens, you again may find it impossible to earn an injury claim because you knowingly defied a doctor’s orders. You can risk it, but in our opinion it’s simply not worth it. Get a second opinion, return in a limited capacity or collect wage loss benefits while you recover so that you can return to work in a manner that’s suited to you, your employer and your doctor.
Your Employer Disagrees With Your Work Restrictions
Here are a few more scenarios, this time outlining some steps to take if it’s your employer that doesn’t believe your work restrictions.
Employer Believes Your Injuries Are Overreported – If your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance provider believes your injuries are overreported, they can’t just force you to work outside of restrictions, otherwise they’ll be in big trouble. Instead, they’ll likely request that you seek a second medical opinion from a provider of their choosing. They have the right to request this, and you have to comply with the request, otherwise they’ll be able to deny your claim. Go get this second opinion, explain exactly what’s going on with your injuries and let the third party provider give their professional medical opinion. If it’s the same as your physician, you’re in the clear. If they disagree with your restrictions, you’ll either want to return to work in the capacity recommended by this physician, or talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer about filing a claim on the basis of the first recommendation. This will get complex, but a lawyer can help sort it out and ensure you get the compensation you deserve or return to work in a safe capacity.
Employer Cannot Accommodate Your Restrictions – Employers are required to attempt to provide gainful employment to their employees within the provided work restrictions. If they cannot accommodate your restrictions, you will want to file for wage loss benefits with the help of a lawyer and then focus on your recovery so that you regain enough physical function to eventually return in a capacity they can accommodate, full or otherwise.
Employer Refusing To Accommodate Your Restrictions – Finally, if your employer could provide you with gainful employment within your restrictions, but they are refusing or making up weak excuses as to why they cannot do so, talk with a lawyer. They may be able to help you take legal action against your employer, or at a minimum help you collect wage loss benefits until you recover so that you can return in a normal capacity. If an employer is not acting in good faith, like an employee is expected to, make sure your lawyer knows about it.
Hopefully you don’t run into any of these issues with your work restrictions, but if you do, make sure you reach out to the legal experts at Hey Workers. We’ll take care of you and get you the compensation you deserve. For more information, or for help with your injury claim, give our team a call today at (844) 439-9675.