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Tips for Returning to Work After a Workplace Injury

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Posted By DAM Firm | December 1 2022 | Workers' Compensation

Sustaining a workplace injury can lead to significant setbacks, but employees in California are usually able to recover workers’ compensation to pay for their medical bills and a portion of their lost wages. However, getting back to work is also important. When a person who has a sustained an on-the-job injury wants to return to work, there are some tips they should follow to ensure that they do so in a way that benefits their well-being as well as maintains their ability to recover compensation for their losses if needed. 

Returning to Work After an Injury

1. Always Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

The most important thing for you to do after a workplace injury is recover and get back on your feet. You need to take the time so your body can heal from whatever injury or illness was sustained as a result of an on-the-job injury.

You need to follow your doctor’s orders. Even if you feel fantastic and ready to return to work, there may be issues that your doctor is aware of that you may not fully understand. For example, there’s a reason that doctors tell individuals how long it will take to recover from a specific injury. Usually, injury victims feel better before they are ready to resume activities. Returning to work too early could result in a worsening of the injury, and this would result in the insurance carrier or the employer denying any further benefits.

The best practice in these situations is to never go back to work until the doctor says to do so. Not only does it protect your health and well-being, but also your future on the job.

2. Ask for Workplace Accommodations

There may be situations where you are able to return to work but at a limited capacity. If a doctor says you can go back on “light duty,” then you need to speak to your employer to see if there are any light duty options available. This is not always possible, but often, it is.

You can ask your employer about any accommodations in the workplace that you may need while you continue to recover. For example, maybe an accommodation can be as simple as you needing a new keyboard for your computer. However, accommodations may be more complex than that. For example, suppose a first responder sustains an on-the-job injury. They may not be able to return to full duties, but they may be able to receive an accommodation to work desk duty until they are ready to get back into the field.

3. Stay in Contact With Your Employer

We encourage open communication with an employer, so long as the employer is not trying to convince a person to go against their doctor’s orders. You do not have to go into detail with your employer about everything between you and your doctor. Privacy laws do offer you protection. These rights should be respected by your Riverside employer.

However, you can choose to voluntarily keep your employer updated about your condition so long as you are comfortable doing so. Remaining in open communication with the employer is a good-faith gesture. Additionally, if you need to ask for any accommodations upon returning to work, your employer may not be as shocked by the request if they have been regularly updated on your progress.

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