If you have missed some time from work because of a work-related injury, the time is coming when your doctor will give you the “green light” to return to work. There are legal issues to consider first. Some should be in place before the injury; yet others need to be in place soon after the injury for them to help you.
Work closely with the doctor. As soon as possible after an injury, one should be evaluated by a doctor. Be honest with the doctor, but do not minimize your injuries or fail to mention them. The doctor’s recommendations will partially determine your fitness to return to work. The doctor’s evaluation of your fitness for work needs to be documented thoroughly and precisely.
Ensure the job that you return to is suitable and appropriate. Unsuitable jobs upon return could cause you to aggravate the injury or even cause another one. Sometimes, an employee will offer a “light-duty” job upon one’s return to work. Known as the “240” process, it allows an employer to give a job description to your doctor. He/she then decides upon the suitability of the job for your situation. If approved by your doctor, your employer will send you a copy of the job description that includes days and hours of work, amount of pay, etc.
Stay in contact with your lawyer during your recovery process. This assists your boss’s planning. He/she needs to use the employees in the most effective way. During this stage or any stage of healing/returning to work after an injury, contact a worker’s compensation attorney for guidance. Communication in the workplace is critical, which includes after an injury. Assume that your employer is “on your side” until proven otherwise. Communicating with one’s employer will often “grease the gears” and make your return to work much easier and smoother.
Alert workers compensation if you have been receiving benefits. You can do this personally or your attorney can do it for you. It is a good idea to document this communication with the workers compensation people. One way to do that is to not only speak with them on the phone but also email them or send them a certified letter. This way, there will be no doubt legally that you completed this step. Think of this step as “ensuring that communication has happened.”
Author Bio: Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer living in Boston, MA. When not writing, she enjoys reading and indoor rock climbing. Find her on Google +