Should I Go to Work if I Am Still Hurt From a Work-related Incident?
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In Indiana, employers cannot require injured workers to do job tasks that exceed their medical limitations as prescribed by their treating physician. But to reduce the costs of worker injuries, some employers try to rush employees back before they have adequately recovered from a work injury.
If you have questions about your rights under the workers’ compensation system and want to know if you should go back to work while still experiencing the effects of a work injury, turn to Klezmer Maudlin, PC. Our seasoned workers’ compensation attorneys have helped injured workers across Indiana and the greater Louisville region and can do the same for you.
Read on to learn more protected their rights under the law, and contact us today to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney about your unique situation.
Why Choose Klezmer Maudlin PC for Legal Help After a Workplace Injury?
While employers understand that worker injuries are inevitable, they have an interest in ensuring that employees who suffer an injury or illness in the course and scope of their job return to work as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, this means that some employers demand that injured workers continue working or come back to work when the worker is still treating and rehabilitating their injury. You deserve tenacious legal representation if an employer is trying to make you do work you cannot safely perform due to medical restrictions from a work injury or occupational illness.
Workers across Indiana turn to Klezmer Maudlin, PC to protect their rights under the law because:
- Our legal team has more than 100 years of combined experience handling a wide range of workers’ comp-related legal matters.
- Our firm serves clients throughout Indiana from offices in Indianapolis, Jefferson, Lafayette, and New Harmony/Evansville. Our attorneys can practice in Kentucky and are proud to serve clients in the greater Louisville area.
- We wrote the book on workers’ compensation in Indiana—literally. TheIndiana Workers’ Compensation Practice Manualserves as a primary resource for lawyers throughout the state to help them understand workers’ compensation law and the state workers’ compensation system. Our attorneys regularly speak at various seminars and functions to share their knowledge and insight into Indiana workers’ compensation law.
What Are Your Rights Under the Workers’ Compensation System After a Workplace Accident or Incident?
The workers’ compensation system may provide you with benefits after a workplace injury or illness. These benefits include payment of all reasonable and necessary medical treatments and rehabilitation of your work-related injury or illness.
In addition, if you miss days from work or if you earn less income because you take a part-time or light-duty role within your medical restrictions, you could receive further benefits such, as:
- Temporary total disability benefits: TTD benefits provide partial wage replacement equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage over the year leading up to your injury, subject to a maximum cap. These benefits continue until you return to work, reach maximum medical improvement of your work injury, refuse a medical examination or a limited duty role, or receive 500 weeks of benefits.
- Temporary partial disability benefits: If you return to a part-time or light-duty role while recovering from a work injury and earn less than you did before your injury, you could receive TPD benefits. These cover two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury average weekly wage and the lower income you now earn in a modified duty position. These benefits last until you reach maximum medical improvement, begin earning as much as or more than your pre-injury average weekly wage, or after 300 weeks of receiving benefits. Any weeks you received temporary total disability benefits count against this 300-week limit.
At some point, your work injury will reach maximum medical improvement—the moment when your treating physician expects that further treatment will not improve your condition. When it does, workers’ comp could begin paying permanent partial or total disability benefits if your injuries leave you with the permanent loss of use of a body part or bodily function.
About Workplace Accidents in Indiana
According to the Indiana Department of Labor, in 2020, the state experienced 3.1 injuries/illnesses per 100 full-time workers. In other words, an estimated 73,800 workers in Indiana suffered a non-fatal recordable injury or illness that year. About 1.1 injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers resulted in one or more days away from work, while another 0.8 injuries/illnesses per 100 full-time workers resulted in one or more days with job transfer or restriction. Employees spent a median of 11 days away from work due to injuries and illnesses.
Injured workers have a right to the benefits guaranteed to them under the law. If your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer denies your workers’ comp claim or terminates your benefits and demands you return to work, you can dispute their decision by filing a claim with the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board.
However, you must file any claim with the board within two years of your injury or two years from the date you last received workers’ compensation benefits. This limited window makes it important to discuss your situation with an experienced Indiana workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
Work-related Incidents and Injuries That Klezmer Maudlin PC Can Help You With
At Klezmer Maudlin, PC, we fight to protect the health and safety of clients who suffered workplace injuries such as:
- Construction accidents
- Service industry accidents
- Forklift accidents
- Warehouse/factory accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Third-party negligence accidents
Our firm will fight to make sure you are not forced back to work before you have fully recovered from debilitating injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Ligament sprains and tears
- Muscle or tendon strains and tears
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Overexertion injuries
- Severe lacerations, abrasions, or avulsions
- Herniated disc injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Hearing or vision loss
- Internal injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Crush injuries
- Burn injuries
- Electrocution injuries
- Traumatic amputation, potentially followed by reattachment surgery
Fighting Back When Your Employer or Its Insurer Demands You Return to Work After an On-the-Job Injury
Your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer want you to return to work as soon as possible after a work injury. The longer you spend out of work, the more wage benefits your employer and its insurer will have to pay you. Because your employer and its insurer have the right to select your doctor for treating your work injury, they can put pressure on certifying you to return to duty, even if you feel like you cannot do some of the functions of your job because of your injury.
Without aggressive legal representation in your corner, you may feel pressured into returning to work before your injury has fully healed.
When you turn to Klezmer Maudlin, PC for help with your workers’ compensation claim, our firm will fight to keep you from returning to duty before you have made a sufficient medical recovery. If necessary, we can help you obtain independent medical examinations showing that you continue to suffer from limitations due to your injuries. We can also file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board to contest your employer’s efforts to prematurely force you back to work.
What To Do After Suffering Injuries in a Work-related Accident or Incident
After a workplace injury or illness, you need to act quickly and carefully to allow yourself to recover fully before returning to your job.
To do so, take the following steps:
- Gather and preserve any evidence from the workplace accident or incident that injured you, such as accident scene/photos or videos and written statements from co-workers and eyewitnesses.
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and instructions to the letter. If you put off certain treatments or fail to follow instructions, your employer may conclude that you have recovered from your injury and can return to work.
- Keep copies of the medical records of your injury and its treatment.
- Avoid posting photos or videos of yourself on social media during your recovery.
Finally, talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer with Klezmer Maudlin, PC as soon as possible to understand your rights and how to get the benefits you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions About Going Back to Work After an On-the-Job Injury
Here are the answers to some of the questions our clients most frequently ask us about going back to work after an on-the-job injury.
Can my employer require me to continue working after a workplace injury?
After you have suffered a work-related injury, you will begin treatment with a doctor selected by your employer. This doctor will establish your medical limitations and work restrictions.
These may include limitations on the maximum weight you can lift, the amount of time your employer can require you to stand or sit, the maximum distance you can walk in a day, and the number of hours you can work in a day or a week. If your employer has a part-time or light-duty role that falls within your medical restrictions, it can require you to return to work in that role.
You could lose your workers’ compensation benefits if you refuse a modified duty role that complies with your medical restrictions. However, your employer cannot require you to perform work or job tasks that exceed your medical limitations. In addition, once your treating doctor certifies you fit to return to full duty, your employer can require you to return to your pre-injury role.
Can my employer fire me while I take time off work to recover from a work injury or occupational illness?
An employer may not terminate an employee in retaliation for the employee filing a workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, if you have sought workers’ comp and your doctor determines you cannot yet perform any work duties, your employer may not terminate you to retaliate against you for obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. However, your employer can terminate you for other lawful reasons, including as discipline for pre-injury misconduct, or if you cannot perform the essential functions of your job with accommodations and your employer needs to fill your role to continue operations.
What should I do if my employer is violating my medical restrictions?
If your employer forces you to perform tasks beyond your light-duty restrictions, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney with Klezmer Maudlin, PC as soon as possible. In many cases, you might resolve the situation by notifying your supervisor or your supervisor’s supervisor about the light duty violation.
Our firm can also contact your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer, as the insurer has an interest in making sure you do not worsen your injury and require additional treatment. If necessary, we can pursue a claim on your behalf with the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board.
Can I get compensated if I need to take time off work to attend a medical appointment or undergo a medical procedure?
Yes. Under Indiana Code §22-3-3-4, employers must pay workers for the time they missed from work while attending a medical appointment or procedure. The law also requires employers to reimburse workers for certain reasonable travel expenses if they must travel outside the county of their employment to obtain requested or required medical care.
Reach out to Klezmer Maudlin PC to Learn More About Your Rights Under the Workers’ Compensation System After Suffering a Work-related Injury
Do not let your employer or their insurance provider pressure you to work after an on-the-job injury or occupational illness. Contact Klezmer Maudlin, PC for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about how our Indiana workers’ compensation attorneys can defend your rights under state law as you recover from a debilitating work injury or illness. Call us at (317) 569-9644 or fill out the contact form on our website today.
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