Many workers injured on the job face a difficult choice: live on meager benefits or reenter to the workforce with a debilitating injury. A recent study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute found that as many as 18 percent of workers’ compensation claimants have not experienced a substantial return to work within one year of their accident—and many will never able to return to work in the same capacity as before their injuries.
Workers Are Under Pressure to Return to Work
Injured workers are often forced to return to work before their injuries are fully healed or before they're able to meet the demands of their jobs. These pressures can come from many sources, including:
- Your employer. Workers often return to work too early or even continue to work after an on-the-job injury because they fear retaliation from an employer. There are many laws that prohibit this practice, so if this is happening to you, you should speak to a workers' compensation attorney as quickly as possible.
- Company doctors. An employer’s doctor has considerable conflict of interest when treating someone who is injured at work. The doctor may be under pressure to clear an injured person for duty before the patient has fully recovered. If you're cleared by a company doctor but aren't ready to return to work, your best option is to seek a second opinion from another doctor who specializes in your specific injury.
- Your doctor. If your doctor says that you are fit for light duty, you're required to accept the position as long as it works with your limitations. If you refuse light-duty work, your workers' compensation benefits may be discontinued.
What Else Can I Do If I'm Unable to Work?
If you have been out of work or will be unable to earn a living for a year or more, you may qualify for Social Security disability or other benefit programs. Contact Johnson & Gilbert, P.A. today by filling out the quick contact form on this page to tell us more about your situation.