Getting injured at work is never a fun experience. Thankfully this country understands that losing work due to a workplace injury can have a devastating effect on a person’s comfort of living. Our workers’ comp programs serve to address this negative effect by providing income for those who are injured while on the job.
But one of the hardest parts of workers’ comp is deciding when is the right time to return to work. It’s important to give your body a chance to recover but many people feel restless when they aren’t able to work and so find themselves asking if they can return to work yet. Keep reading to learn when you can return to work while getting workers’ comp in Boston.
When Do I Have to Return to Work If I’m Getting Workers’ Comp?
The short answer is: You don’t, typically.
Your employer and, especially, the insurance company that is providing your compensation both have a simple reason to want you to get back to work sooner rather than later. They want money. With your employer, they want you to start making money for the company again. Meanwhile, the insurance company is losing money the longer you stay on workers’ comp and so they want you back to work so they don’t have to pay out anymore.
It is not unusual to hear stories about workers being pressured into returning to work before they are ready. These stories are unfortunate because the workers in them often return to work too early and only make their injuries worse in the process. As an injured employee, you have a legal right to rest and recover before you return to work.
You don’t have to return to work, even if you are being pressured. The best thing to do is to wait and recovery and get cleared to return from a doctor. In the rare cases where a dispute arises between your doctor and the insurance company, you may need to undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation on the orders of the Department of Industrial Accidents. This evaluation may show that you are physically fit to return to work and so you could lose your workers’ comp in this manner.
Can I Go Back to Work While Getting Workers’ Comp?
When you return to work, you will stop receiving workers’ comp benefits. But what happens when you return to work too early and find that you aren’t as physically capable for the job as you originally thought?
Cases like this happen all the time. We’re often so ready to get back into the swing of things, to return to life as it was, that we over-estimate our own recovery. Thankfully you don’t have to file a new workers’ comp claim unless you’ve been back to work for more than 28 days.
28 days is the length of the trial period in which you can return to work to figure out if you are physically ready for the stresses it puts on your body. Once you return to work, if you find that you aren’t able to work and it is within 28 days then you can contact your insurance company and let them know that you are not ready to return and would like to get your benefits reinstated. In most cases, you will be able to do so without filing another claim.
If it is more than 28 days since you’ve returned to work then you will have left the trial period and you will have to file another claim. 28 days is not a lot of time so it’s important to act quickly if you find yourself too injured to continue working after your return. It only becomes more complicated to get your workers’ comp benefits back the longer you’ve waited.
I Can’t Return to Work Yet, How Long Does Workers’ Comp Last For?
Some people are able to return to work after only a few weeks or months off to recover. But for some people that are injured while on the job the road to recovery can be much longer. It’s not unusual for some injuries to take years to recover from. In the most unfortunate cases, recovery may just simply not be possible.
If you are unable to return to work then it only makes sense that you find yourself wondering how long you’re going to be covered by workers’ comp. The answer depends on the severity of the injuries you’ve suffered:
- If you are temporarily totally disabled then you could receive workers’ comp benefits of up to 60% of your average weekly wage for up to three years.
- If you are partially disabled then you can receive up to 60% of the difference between your pre-injury and post-injury earning capability for up to five years.
- Except for rare and limited circumstances where the benefits could be extended to ten years, partial and total disability benefits have a seven-year cap.
- In cases where an individual ends up totally permanently disabled then they can continue to receive workers’ comp benefits for the rest of their lives.
Can an Attorney Help Me with My Workers’ Comp?
An experienced attorney is always a good investment when it comes to situations where you’re brushing up against new laws. Most workers’ go their whole lives without getting injured on the job, so they have no reason to learn the worker comp laws for the state they are in.
Until they do.
Then it can be a scramble to find the right forms, fill out the proper information and get the ball rolling. It’s even worse if their insurance company starts a dispute over your claim.
An attorney will help you sort through all of these issues, as well as any others that arise when seeking your benefits. If you’ve been injured on the job, call Joel H. Schwartz, P.C, at (617) 600-0439 to find out what a knowledgeable attorney suggests you do next.