Injured Workers Returning Back to Work

By November 9, 2021Personal Injury

Individuals may experience some fear and anxiety when anticipating their return back to work after a long leave of absence. Due to the pandemic, many employees grew comfortable working from home and have no desire to go back to working in person. The same can be said for injured workers and returning back to work. Research shows that the longer employees are out, the less likely they are to come back to work. According to the Workers’ Compensation Board of New York State, 50% of employees will return to work after a six-month absence and only 1% after a two-year absence. 

Returning to work is different for everyone, especially depending on the type of injury one sustained. In the best case scenario, workers will fully heal from their work-related injury and return to their same job once they are cleared by their medical provider. After they are cleared, they will be able to pick up where they left off and perform their job duties with no restrictions. 

Other cases are not quite as simple and certain injuries can create many complications with what you can and cannot do again. Also, the healing process is dependent on how badly you were injured. For a bad injury, the healing process can be long and slow, but It’s important to remain patient and not rush to get better. Your body needs time to recover from the injury it sustained and attempting to speed up the process can just make things worse. 

Dealing with the new limits an injury places on an individual can be very hard to come to terms with. Just like how when a sports player returns after a bad injury and isn’t playing the way they used to, a worker may not be able to fully recover and perform the same tasks that they once were great at doing.

 So, how does one cope with this?

One solution is to switch to lighter duties at work that will accommodate for new medical restrictions. Unfortunately, some jobs don’t have lighter duty work that employees can do and in this case, employees will need to search for a different job better suited to their current abilities.  

The following is important to know : If you return to work and your injury or illness causes you to earn less than before, you may be eligible for certain benefits  

You may be entitled to “reduce earnings” benefits if you return to work at a lower pay rate because your disability prevents you from working at your pre-injury level. Reduced earnings benefits pay up to two-thirds of the difference of your wages and after your work injury. 

If you return to work, but are occasionally absent due to your work-related injury (whether treating ongoing or related issues) you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for the time you are out. This is called intermittent lost time. In order to get it, you must have proof of medical evidence supporting your claim that your absence was due to you work-related injury. Therefore, it’s recommended to keep careful records of your lost time as well as your pay stubs. 

Use the following checklist :

Frequently Asked Questions : 

1) When I go back to work, can I still claim workers’ compensation for the time when I was hurt and could not work ? 

The answer is yes. You have up to two years after your workplace injury or illness to file a workers compensation claim.

2) Does my employer have to keep my job when I am out due to a workplace injury? 

Unfortunately, no. The Workers’ Compensation Law does not require your employer to keep your job for you. Most of the time, employers will keep your job open for you until you can return back to work, but it is not a guarantee. The best thing you can do if you are worried about losing your job is to keep regular contact with your employer about your job status. 

3) Can a new employer refuse to give me a job because I have a workers’ compensation case?

No. Legally, employers are not allowed to ask if you have a workers’ compensation claim and cannot deny you a job for filing a past claim. The Workers’ Compensation Board cannot share any information about your workers’ compensation case with another employer. 

Returning to work after being out for awhile can be a very difficult thing to do. It’s important you know your rights and the certain benefits you may be entitled to. If you have recently suffered a bad injury at work or any other work-related injury, please contact Losi and Gangi at 716-854-1446 for a free consultation. We will make sure you are represented fairly throughout every step of your case.

Article Adapted from : 

http://www.wcb.ny.gov/returntowork/injured-worker.jsp