Let’s get right to it: No, you do not have to go back to work before you are ready when it comes to workers’ compensation. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work. This includes providing medical treatment, rehabilitation, and income replacement if you are unable to work due to your injury or illness.
It is important to prioritize your health and well-being, and to follow the advice and recommendations of your treating physician. Your treating physician may release you to return to work with or without restrictions.
What restrictions might my treating physician release me on to return back to work after workers compensation?
The restrictions that your treating physician might place on you when releasing you to return to work after a workers’ compensation injury or illness will depend on the specific nature of your injury, your overall health, and the requirements of your job.
Your treating physician will assess your condition, and determine whether you are able to perform the essential functions of your job. If you are not able to perform these functions, they may place restrictions on your work activities or recommend accommodations to help you perform your job duties.
The types of restrictions that your treating physician might place on you can vary widely, and could include limitations on your physical activity, such as lifting or standing for extended periods of time, or restrictions on the use of certain equipment or machinery. They might also recommend that you work reduced hours or take frequent breaks.
When your doctor releases you to return to work and your employer has light-duty work that will meet your work restrictions, you must report for work as assigned. Failing to return to work can result in termination of all your workers’ comp benefits
What if the insurance company and their doctor are pushing you to go back to work before you’re ready with workers compensation?
If the insurance company and their doctor are pushing you to go back to work before you are medically ready, you should seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Your attorney can help you understand your rights and options under your state’s workers’ compensation laws and advocate on your behalf to ensure that you receive the appropriate medical treatment and benefits.
In some cases, the insurance company may be trying to minimize their costs by pushing injured workers to return to work before they are ready. This can put your health and safety at risk, and may lead to a worsening of your condition or even re-injury. Your attorney can help you navigate the workers’ compensation system and protect your rights, including the right to refuse unsafe work or work that is beyond your physical capabilities.
If you feel that you are being pressured to return to work before you are ready, you should also speak with your treating physician and discuss your concerns. Your physician may be able to provide additional documentation or medical evidence to support your need for continued medical treatment or restrictions on your ability to work. It is important to prioritize your health and safety, and to not return to work until you have been medically cleared to do so by your treating physician.
Can I use my own doctor to treat my work injury with workers compensation in California?
In California, you have the right to choose your own doctor to treat your work-related injury or illness under certain circumstances. This right is known as the “personal physician” or “predesignation” rule.
To use your own doctor to treat your work injury under the personal physician rule, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have given your employer written notice of your desire to predesignate your personal physician prior to the injury occurring. This notice must include the name and business address of your chosen physician.
- Your chosen physician must have previously provided you with medical treatment or services for a non-work-related condition.
- Your chosen physician must be your regular healthcare provider and have your medical records.
If you meet these criteria, you may be able to use your personal physician to treat your work-related injury. However, if you did not meet the requirements for predesignation, you will need to obtain medical treatment from a doctor that is approved by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
It is important to note that if your employer has a Medical Provider Network (MPN), you may also be required to obtain medical treatment from a doctor within the network. An MPN is a group of healthcare providers that are approved by your employer’s insurance carrier to provide medical treatment for work-related injuries or illnesses.
It is important to follow your treating physician’s recommendations, and to communicate with your employer about any work restrictions or accommodations that have been recommended. This can help ensure that you are able to return to work safely and effectively, and that you do not risk re-injuring yourself.
The Law Office of Solov and Teitell have 50+ years of experience in workers compensation and believe each client deserves the benefits they were promised. Give us a call today at (213)380-9310.