Do I Have to Go Back to Work When My Workers Compensation Ends?
The whole point of workers’ compensation is to help employees take care of their work-related injuries. When an employee gets hurt on the job, they can count on their employer’s worker’s compensation insurance to cover their medical bills. They also know they’ll receive weekly replacement wages while they’re out of work.
However, the expectation is that you’ll go back to work as soon as you’re fully healed. However, there are times when your company demands that you go back to work before you’re ready. If this has happened to you, then you should call a North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer.
Here, we’ll discuss what benefits you will receive while you’re out on workers’ compensation. We’ll also explain what happens when your doctor determines that you’re ready to go back to work. Finally, we’ll explain what you can do if your employer tries to force you to go back to work before you’re fully healed.
If you have any questions about your case, you can always give us a call. Schedule your free consultation with one of our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers.
Your North Carolina Workers Compensation Lawyer Will Help You Get Benefits
When you first get injured at work, the first thing you need to do is report your injuries to Human Resources. If they aren’t available, then you can always report it to your manager instead. As long as you put your employer on notice, you should protect your workers’ compensation claim.
The next thing you’ll need to do is go to see a state-approved workers comp doctor in North Carolina. They’ll draw up a treatment plan for you with the ultimate goal of helping you go back to work as quickly as possible.
While you’re out on workers comp, you’ll receive weekly replacement wages. Essentially, you’ll receive weekly payments equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wages. These benefits will continue until you’re ready to go back to work. The question is – who determines when that time has come?
Your Workers Comp Doctor Will Determine When You’re Ready to Go Back to Work
It’s very important that you comply with your workers’ compensation doctor’s treatment plan. If you don’t show up for appointments or refuse to participate in your treatment, your claim will be terminated early. This means you’ll stop receiving weekly benefits. Your medical care will also terminate.
Rather than risk this happening, make sure you do what your doctor tells you to do. At some point, your doctor will declare that you’ve reached something called “maximum medical improvement.” This is commonly referred to as “MMI.”
What this means is that there is nothing they can do to help you recover further. Typically, once they declare that you’ve reached this point, you’ll have to go back to work. There are times, however, when you are still permanently disabled after reaching MMI.
Once your doctor says you’re ready to go back to work, you’ll have to return. If you don’t think you’re physically ready to do this, you need to let your injury attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina know. They can have you see another doctor for a second opinion.
If this other doctor determines that you’re not fully healed and would benefit from further care, your attorney will let the insurance company know. They’ll try to negotiate a few more weeks of treatment. If they approve, you’ll continue to receive benefits until you do go back to work.
What if You Don’t Want to Return to the Same Job?
One issue our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers encounter is when a client says they don’t want to go back to work. It has nothing to do with their injury. They simply have decided that they don’t want to work at their old company any longer.
Perhaps they’re not happy about the way they were treated when they were hurt. Or they may feel that their company plans on firing them once they do return. If this is the case, you need to talk it over with your attorney.
Technically, once your doctor says you’re ready to go back to work, you don’t have many options. If you do go back, you’ll start to receive your full pay again. Instead of learning how to live on just two-thirds of your pay, you’ll go back to the lifestyle you had before the accident.
The question is what can happen if you choose to part ways? While your employer won’t be happy, they can’t force you to go back to work for them. Nor can they demand that you pay back any of the benefits you received while out on workers’ compensation. If your injuries happened at work, then your employer is responsible for your workers’ comp benefits. And, if you choose to move on and find a new job, they can’t fault you for that.
Take the Time to Contact One of Our Injury Attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina
If you’re out on workers’ compensation, you must be worried about what will happen when it’s time to go back to work. There is a part of you that’s afraid you’ll be called back to work before you’re ready. You just need to take it one day at a time. And if your employer does try to make you come back before you’re fully healed, don’t fret. Call and talk to one of our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers today.
When you think about what’s at stake, it makes sense to hire an injury attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina. You deserve to have someone by your side during what can be a confusing process. You don’t want to risk losing your benefits before you’re ready to go back to work. Call today and set up a date and time to come into the office. Since your consultation is free, you don’t have anything to lose.