GOOD ADVICE FOR INJURED WORKERS
If you can go back to work – do it ….provided that, you do not exceed your doctor’s work restrictions resulting in further injury to you self.
If your employer offers your modified duty or an alternative job – try it. If said job is within the work restrictions provided by your doctors, even if you personally feel you cannot do the job. If you decide on your own that the doctor is wrong returning you to a certain modified duty or alternative job and refuse to return to work you will, in many instances lose your job. It would be better to go to work for a limited time (even for a few hours, one shift, one day) and see if your can do the job without injuring yourself any further. Then, at the first sign that the modified duty or alternative job is too much for you, go to your immediate supervisor and let him/her know that you cannot continue doing the job and need to return to the doctor. At that point you have made a good faith attempt to return to work, as opposed to just choosing to ignore the doctor and his or her recommendation(s).
The above points are very important as, there is no Workers’ Compensation Settlement that will compensate your for a lost job.
Document your communications with your employer (via email/text or otherwise) relating to your efforts to check on your job status, your return to work status or any other issue which may relate to your injury. You don’t want to be at the bad end of a he said/she said situation.
Document your condition/injury on a calendar with large squares to write in – keeping track of changes in your symptoms and or a new complaint or condition that may be related to your original injury, a consequence of your treatment, etc. This can be particularly helpful when discussing your matter with doctors or when discussing your matter through deposition or trial testimony.
If you obtain important information from your appointment with any doctor that you see related to your case, don’t wait, contact your attorneys.
Understand, that in the vast majority of cases the injured worker is only entitled to 104 weeks of temporary disability benefits. This is the highest bi-weekly benefit amount you will receive on your case. It is usually paid (at least in more serious injury cases) from shortly after your injury while you are unable to return to work until your injury has stabilized following a course of treatment.
Depending on an injured workers’ average weekly earnings at the time of their injury, once temporary disability benefits stop, permanent disability benefits are paid and they are often a few hundred to several hundred dollars less than temporary disability benefits. Most injured workers (again dependent on earnings rate and level of disability will only receive $290.00 per week for permanent disability, paid biweekly at $580.00 every two weeks. This can be on amazing drop in benefits, when you consider that temporary disability is payable at the rate of two-thirds (2/3) of your average weekly wage – up to over $1,600.00 per week for 2023 injures.
Be honest at all times – during depositions, talking to doctors or testifying at any hearing. If you are truthful your attorney can address the issue in the manner most beneficial to you. If you intentionally lie or conceal information to obtain workers’ compensation monies or treatment, not only are you committing a felony, but you are also tying your own lawyer’s hands behind his/her back, such that they may not be able to get you out of the mess you created.
Lack of credibility can be more damaging to your case than anything else.
Always remember, there is no stupid question for you to ask your attorney. If you are unsure or concerned about something – ask. It may be more important than you think!