Can I Get a Settlement from Workers’ Compensation If I Go Back to Work?

For anyone hurt at work, workers’ compensation benefits can provide much-needed finances in a time of need. And while you may feel better getting back to work, it’s essential to make sure that you are in a condition to do so. 

Your employer’s plan for getting you back to work may not be in your best interest. They may be under pressure to have someone in your position or no longer wish to pay out the benefits in your absence. No matter the reason, it is not up to the employer to tell you when to go back to work. If you are being pressured to return to work, get a workers’ compensation attorney involved. 

when to return to work workers comp

How Do I Know When to Go Back to Work? 

It may seem simple, but the best practice for returning to work is to return when you are ready. Often, this means being cleared by a doctor to return to work. Being physically prepared to continue working will help ensure that you can stay at work and don’t hit any setbacks in your physical health. 

If you return to work too early, you could be putting yourself in jeopardy. For example, you may not perform the job to the best of your ability, and your employer could give you a warning or even fire you. And even if you can perform to a high enough standard, going back too soon can put an additional strain on your body, causing a related injury that could put you out of commission even longer. 

If you re-injure yourself, you likely came off of workers’ compensation benefits already. Getting back on them for a related injury resets the process and may be more complicated than it needs to be in terms of reinstating your benefits. 

Since workers’ compensation benefits are available to those who are unable to perform job duties for a certain period, you would be unable to seek a settlement through workers’ compensation in many scenarios. 

In addition to your physical condition, you will want to ensure that you can mentally return to work as well. Similar to your physical health, if you are not mentally prepared for the workload and workday, you could find yourself in hot water with your employer. Your physical and mental health can be very closely linked – medical professionals can assist you through this process to help ensure that you can return to work on several levels. 

Will Returning to Work Affect My Workers’ Compensation Settlement? 

If you received severe injuries in your work injury and are still receiving treatment, you may be seeking a settlement from the insurance company. In this scenario, returning to work could signal to the insurance company that you are not entitled to higher compensation, as you were well enough to return to work. 

construction worker workers comp

Typically, you will need to reach a certain level of physical improvement before returning to work. A medical professional can help determine if you are healthy enough to return to work. A doctor can also determine if you have reached a point of improvement that is permanently limited – you will not be able to return to your previous 100%. This new limited level of improvement is your Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).

If you have been cleared to return to work and have not, you will want to return as soon as possible. Deciding not to work when you can could result in the loss of your workers’ compensation benefits. There is some grace period for some situations, but you will want to be communicating with your employer and doing what you can to return to work.

Can I Get Workers’ Compensation if I Go Back to Work with Restrictions? 

It may be determined that you can return to work, but you have permanent restrictions on the type of work you can do – MMI. This may mean that you will be offered a job that doesn’t have the same pay scale as your last job. If you would earn less in the new position, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits to bridge that gap.

Again, a doctor will determine what your MMI is. If you are then cleared to work under those circumstances, workers’ compensation can help you. 

Having a Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorney on your side during the entire process is a best practice. From the moment you are injured, your employer and the insurance company are unlikely to be working in your best interest. 

Tabak Law has experience working with workers’ compensation cases in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin. Contact the team today to speak to someone about your situation at 800-245-1430.

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