If you have suffered an injury at work, you probably already know too well the challenges returning to work can present. Whether it’s the pressure from your employer or your desire to return to work, you must take the time to recover until you feel better, or when your doctor says it’s okay.
Unfortunately, the traditional workers’ compensation model is often stressful to the worker, exacerbating their injuries and even putting their recovery timeline in jeopardy.
But how do you know you are ready to return to work after an injury? What steps should you take to ensure a smooth and safe return to work during and after recovery? Read on to get some invaluable tips.
How Do You Know When It Is Time to Return to Work?
Always heed what your health professional or doctor says and how your body feels. Whether you are enthusiastic about returning to work after injury or you dread it, you must be sure to go back at the right time. The worst mistake you can make is to return to the environment where you got injured before recovering well enough.
The surest way to protect your health is to listen to your doctor. Ask questions and seek timely information regarding your recovery to make a return-to-work timeline.
While consulting your doctor, be honest about what you feel when checking up with your doctor. The decision on whether or not you need more time to recover should come from a health professional.
Constantly Update Your Employer
There are laws that protect an employee’s right to privacy, especially during recovery after a workplace injury.
However, it is always a good idea to keep your employer updated on your recovery progress, especially when you are close to returning to work after an injury on the job. Your employer should not exert undue pressure on you to return to work, but you must also let them know how you feel and what your doctor has to say regarding your return-to-work timeline.
It is responsible and respectful to stay in touch with your employer or supervisor and update them on your status.
There are also more reasons to maintain communication with your place of work. For starters, they can better prepare for when you are away and when you are ready to return to the job.
Secondly, updating your employer or supervisor on your condition and capabilities will make it easier for them to find a job or position that better accommodates any health restrictions you may have in the early days of returning to work after an injury.
What if Your Employer Forces You to Return to Work Too Soon?
South Carolina law requires your employer to keep you as a worker through the period allowed by the worker’s compensation claim. This law allows you, the employee, to have all the time you need to seek medical treatment and recover before returning to work.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for some employers to pressure their workers to return to work with threats of getting fired. If you are being forced back to work after injury, it is your right to seek legal redress. The lawyers at David Aylor Law Offices can analyze your workman’s compensation and your doctor’s recommendations to build a case to protect your rights.
Your employer is not justified in stopping your worker’s compensation payments for as long as you are not recovered enough to return to work
Seek Accommodations Before Returning to Work
When you feel better, and your doctor allows you to return to work, take the time to arrange some accommodations with your employer or supervisor. You should not feel guilty about seeking lighter duties, shorter work hours, or flexible schedules. It is well within your rights to ask your employer to make your place of work safer and to consider your health while assigning duties.
In most cases, your doctor will give you temporary or permanent restrictions to protect your health at work. These restrictions should guide you while seeking accommodations at work.
For instance, depending on your injuries and nature of work, the doctor may restrict the weight of the load you can lift or how long you can work on your feet. Take these restrictions seriously and use them as a basis to negotiate ways to return to work without posing a risk to your recovery efforts.
Develop a Return-to-Work Program With Your Employer
One of the best ways to make returning to work after an injury smooth is to devise a return-to-work plan with your employer. An effective return-to-work formula benefits you, the employee, and the employer who has to accommodate you.
Most employers in Charleston, SC know the laws governing a worker returning after an injury. Therefore, to make their work easier and prevent costly legal fees, they will want to make sure to abide by the laws and regulations and to provide a safe, healthy, and productive work environment for the returning worker.
A return-to-work program is a sure way to get re-introduced to work after some time away. It should also accommodate doctor restrictions and nurture recovery, especially in the early days.
Contact David Aylor Law Offices About Your Work Injury
Work is essential, but your health and well-being are even more critical. Suffering an injury at work can be painful, even expensive, but it does not mean you must bear its weight by yourself; your employer is required to keep you safe and protected at work. When accidents happen, they should be accommodating enough as you recover and while returning to work after an injury.
Do you feel your employer is rushing you to return to work or not accommodating your situation? If so, you should find a good lawyer to protect your rights. If you are in Charleston, SC, contact David Aylor Law Offices to talk to a lawyer and get a free case review.
Workers’ Compensation FAQ
What is a return to work plan after an injury on the job?
A return to work plan is a legal policy that requires an employer to accommodate an employee returning to work after an injury by specifying restrictions on tasks that may aggravate their injuries or hinder their recovery.
Can I be fired while away on a worker’s compensation?
No. It is illegal for an employer in South Carolina to fire an employee before they are cleared to return to work by a medical professional. Employers must keep injured workers on staff for the duration of their compensation claim.
What is the maximum time for a to return to work after an injury in South Carolina?
An injured worker may take as long as 500 weeks to recover after a workplace injury. During this time, the employer is required to pay the worker’s compensation and cannot refuse them returning to work once the worker recovers from their injuries.