Firm-Wide blog

Do Not Leave Your Job If You Are Injured at Work!

By Burg Simpson
January 13, 2015
3 min read

When you are injured at work, and the injured worker opens a Workers’ Compensation claim, one of the most important steps is the first doctor’s appointment to determine the doctor’s work recommendations. The doctor may say that you can go back to work immediately or that you can return to work under limited physical activity. It is very important that you follow their work guidelines or at least try to the best of your ability. If you miss work or quit, it could drastically impact your case.

If you have been injured at work, it is very common that you will not be able to return to your regular job, especially if your job requires a lot of physical activity like a mover, delivery driver, or restocker. In cases like these, the doctor will commonly clear you for “light work duty” and give you guidelines for what you can and cannot do. These may be things like: “Cannot lift over 15 pounds” or “Must remain seated for the majority of work”. Usually, your company will assign you some alternate work from your usual job that fits these requirements. You may be answering phones, counting inventory, or doing anything else that needs to be done without physical activity.

It is very common for me to see clients who have been assigned to light work duty and are very frustrated with the job they have to do. It is probably something you have not been trained for and sometimes it can feel like “busy work” or a job that feels meaningless. I understand why people want to quit when they are used to a particular line of work and end up forced to do work they hate, but it is critically important that you do not quit your job while you have a Workers’ Compensation claim. If you quit, the insurance company can throw out your claim for temporary disability, and you will not be paid for your lost time.

So if you can’t quit, what should you do? First of all, you need to follow the doctor’s recommendations for weight and movement restrictions. If the doctor has told you that you cannot lift more than 25 pounds and you are seen lifting a 50-pound box, your claim could be denied or reduced. Even worse, you could re-injure yourself, and the insurance company will blame you for violating the doctor’s order. Second, you need to make an attempt to work in the capacity you have been cleared for. If the doctor has told you that you can return to “full work duty” (your previous job), then you must show up and make an attempt to work. Even if you think you can’t do it, show up and try to work as well as you can without re-injury. You can return to your doctor and request a different work evaluation if you can’t do full work duty, but until you are reclassified, you must keep working in the capacity you are cleared for. Finally, the doctor’s restrictions on your movement and lifting also apply to your life outside of work. Do not lift anything over your weight limit, even off the job, because proof of you doing so could also impact your case very negatively.

Most Workers’ Compensation attorneys (myself included) will evaluate your case for free, all it takes is a call. If you have been hurt and want someone to fight for you, call me at 303-792-5595, or submit a request by clicking the button on the right side of the page to have someone from our office contact you.

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