You got hurt on the job, and now you can’t make it back to work. But you’ve got pressure coming from all sides, even though you don’t think you’re fully healed. There may be a lot of people that want you to return, but that doesn’t mean it’s in your best interest.
Workers’ compensation judges in Pennsylvania decided over 43,000 petitions in 2018, the most recently released data. The average time of each case took nearly a year. That can be a long time to wait for a decision on benefits after an accident that keeps you out of work, so make sure you don’t lose them when the insurance company prematurely decides you should head back to work.
Bossing you around
It can be hard to run a business when you’re down a person, and your employer might want you back before you’re ready. They don’t have much official say in when you return to work without consent from a doctor, but they might apply some pressure all the same. Returning before you’re medically able could be a good way to reinjure yourself if you haven’t fully healed, and will certainly put your workers’ compensation benefits in jeopardy.
The real authority in your return likely rests with a physician, and the insurer is probably going to tap a known Independent Medical Examiner. They generally have the most responsibility when it comes to setting a timeline for your return. There is a bit more on the line when your doctor clears you for work. Refusing to climb back into the workforce could put your benefits into question.
Once the insurance company knows about your ability to return to work, they’re probably going to want to stop or modify payments. If you can work in a reduced capacity, you could see some compensation to bring your income closer to your previous rate of pay. If the insurer thinks you’ve made a full recovery, your benefits may come to a close. Either way, you’ll likely receive a Notice of Suspension or Modification from them.
You’re not without options if you don’t believe you’re ready to go back to work, or the temporary job is beyond your medical limits. You can request a hearing for a judge to oversee your case, and you can bring an attorney to work on your behalf.
Making sure you get the full amount that you deserve after an accident on the job may seem like a profession in itself. Know your options, so you’re not forced back to work before you’re ready.