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Workers’ Compensation and Returning to Work

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New York Workers’ Compensation and Returning to Work

Experienced NYC  Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Advocate for Workers’ Rights Upon Returning to Work

Unless permanently disabled, most workers who have spent time recovering from a work injury get to the point where it’s time to return to work.  Usually, it is your doctor who decides when you are able to return to work. In other cases, your employer might pressure you to return to work before you feel ready.  Regardless of the situation, it’s important that you understand your rights under workers’ compensation laws to make sure those rights are protected.

Proner & Proner is one of the leading NYC workers’ compensation law firms, with over 50 years’ experience fighting to get fair compensation for our injured clients.  We provide top-level legal advocacy for clients injured on the job throughout NYC’s five boroughs.

Our lawyers are available to review your case and help with any return to work issues you have once your work injury has begun to heal.  To learn more about our firm, call our office or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our team today.

NYC Workers’ Compensation and Return to Work Issues

The NYC workers’ compensation system always encourages workers to return to work as soon as they are able.  Returning to work helps your life return to a more normal rhythm and can even promote a faster recovery if you follow doctor’s orders.  However, if you return to work while continuing to collect workers’ compensation, you should speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you understand what to expect and ensure your rights are protected. 

Importantly, before returning to work, you should evaluate:

  • Whether your doctor suggests that you return to your old job,
  • Whether a “light duty” work assignment is recommended and whether your employer can accommodate that type of work,
  • Whether you have reached maximum medical improvement level, and whether that level of recovery allows you to safely continue to perform your pre-accident duties,
  • The impact of any doctor-imposed restrictions on your work.

When your doctor imposes restrictions upon your return to work, it’s important that you follow those restrictions carefully.  You should make sure to request written documentation of the restrictions from your doctor that you can provide to your employer (also keep a copy for yourself).  Once you return to work, if your employer pressures you to violate those restrictions, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.

Further, failing to report your return to work to the appropriate parties can cause future problems, such as the requirement that you reimburse the workers’ compensation insurance carrier or even fraud charges in extreme cases.

Skilled NYC Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Help Clients Returning to Work in NYC

Many workers who are injured on the job may not be able to return to the same work right away, but are able to perform some level of work.  This is known as “temporary partial disability”. In general, if your doctor says that you are able to perform a less strenuous type of work, you are required to seek out that type of work. 

In many cases, your employer may even be able to offer you a position that fits within the restrictions your doctor has ordered. Examples of restrictions that can allow you to return to work based on “partial” disability include:

  • Limitations on the amount of weight you can lift,
  • Reducing your need to perform duties that may require repetitive movement,
  • Limits on the number of consecutive hours you can work,
  • Reductions in your overall workload.

When you return to work on temporary partial disability, you may continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits.  Benefits will be available:

  • If your post-accident wages are less than your pre-accident wages, and
  • Based upon a percentage of the difference between your post-accident wages and pre-accident wages.

It is possible that your doctor may determine you will never be able to return to the same type of work.  Workers’ compensation may provide vocational training in these cases so that you can be trained to perform a different type of job.  You may be entitled to receive a workers’ compensation benefit while completing this type of retraining. Our lawyers are here to help you understand how the rules will apply in your case.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with Our Trusted NYC Workers’ Compensation Lawyers to Discuss Your Return to Work Issues

Returning to work will usually mean that your workers’ compensation benefits will be terminated or reduced.  If you have questions about your return to work, call or contact our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers today.  We offer a free initial consultation, so there is no risk in learning more about how we can help.

Frequently Asked Questions About Returning to Work and New York Workers’ Compensation Benefits

FAQ: Do I have to notify anyone if I return to work after receiving workers’ compensation benefits?

Yes. Either you or your lawyer should notify the workers’ compensation board. The insurance carrier should also be notified. You should notify these parties anytime your status at work changes—for example, if you find that your injury prevents you from continuing work after you initially returned.

FAQ: Does my employer have to allow me to return to the same position after I was out of work collecting workers’ compensation benefits?

No. While your employer is not permitted to discriminate against you or retaliate for your workers’ compensation claim, the employer is not required to keep your job open. Most employers will allow injured workers to return to work. In short, your employer does not violate any rules by assigning you to a different project or position if there is a non-workers’ compensation-based reason for doing so.

FAQ: Do I have to return to work if my doctor tells me that I can? What is a return to work letter?

Yes and no. Failing to return to work after your doctor has authorized your return to work will jeopardize your right to workers’ compensation benefits. However, you are entitled to get a second opinion if you feel that you remain unable to return to work. If you receive a “return to work” letter, that means a doctor has recommended that you return to work. Often, the letter will contain restrictions on your ability to work. If you feel unable to return to work given the restrictions, it is important that you call a lawyer immediately to avoid losing your workers’ compensation benefits.

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