Returning to Work After an Injury
Employees can encounter thousands of different types of injuries and illnesses as a result of their employment, including:
- Muscle tears and strains
- Broken and fractured bones
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Exposure to toxins
- Amputation or partial amputation
A New Jersey workers’ comp lawyer can review the nature and extent of your work-related injury and determine how and when it is appropriate to return to work.
Things to Consider Before Returning to Work
With some work-related injuries, employees can fully recover and return to their original job fairly quickly. On the other side of the spectrum, some employees become permanently disabled and cannot return to any form of employment. In between these two extremes are the remaining New Jersey employees suffering from some form of employment-based injury or illness. Injured employees should consider many factors before returning to work, including:
- Medical Attention: Receiving all necessary prescribed medical treatments and services is crucial, including occupational and physical therapy, before attempting to return to work.
- Release for Limited Duties: In some cases, an employee will be released from medical care to return to limited employment duties. Discussing any such return with a New Jersey workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible is very important. If released for limited work duties, employees must check with their employer to confirm whether they have work that complies with the medical restrictions. Under New Jersey law, an employer is not allowed to terminate workers’ compensation benefits unless employment with limited duties is made available.
- Maximum Medical Improvement: When an injured employee receives medical treatment to the extent that further treatment will not provide additional relief or improvement, it is known as maximum medical improvement. At that point, the employee may be authorized to return to work. If you believe that it is too soon to return to your prior employment duties and that by doing so you risk further injury, illness or medical complications, you should discuss your concerns and the possibility of obtaining a second opinion with your New Jersey workers’ comp lawyer.
- Employer Communication: As you prepare to return to work after an injury, it is important to communicate with your employer to confirm acknowledgment of the nature and extent of your injuries, as well as existence of a transitional plan, if medically necessary, that involves lighter duties. If the injury requires you to accept a lower-paying position, you may be able to obtain reimbursement for the lost wages from workers’ compensation.
Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. is Prepared to Help You Today
It can be difficult to know when it is appropriate to return to work after a serious injury. While you may want to return to work as soon as possible, balancing concerns with any medical-related issues is important. Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. can help you decide when to return and whether you can handle your prior job description. Contact our office today to learn more and to file a workers’ compensation claim.