What do you do if you’re released to go back to work after a work-related injury, but you’re really not ready to? And this happens. What do you do if your employer doesn’t have the light duty or if the doctor says, “Hey, you go back to work without restrictions,” and then you say, “Are you kidding me? I still have a cast on.”
Well, there are a number of things you can do. One is you want to paper things: you want to send emails, you want to make written notes. If you’re returned to work and the doctor is improperly talking about your restrictions, you need to talk to the doctor, “Hey, you sent me back to work. You said I could work full duty. Do you understand that I’m lifting 75-pound things and you just gave me back surgery?”
Do I want to communicate with the doctors often? Sometimes there’s a miscommunication. Don’t be fighting people. You want to get that doctor, even though it’s a comp doctor and they’re incentive is to help the employer, you want to work with them, “Hey, can you give me more restrictions? Hey, can you extend this out two weeks? Send me into PT, send me in a work hardening program.”
Sometimes they’ll send you back to light duty, and they’ll be clear about the light duty restrictions, and your employer doesn’t know it or doesn’t have a light duty, or if you have a manager that’s making you work or do things outside of your restrictions that you shouldn’t do, and you have a danger of reinjuring yourself or injuring yourself worse. In that, you have to be clear. You have to talk to the nurse case manager, you say, “Hey listen, he gave me a 15-pound weight restriction lifting and no repetitive stooping, bending, lifting, etc., and they’re making me lift 75-pound stuff. This is bogus, you can’t do that.” And then the work comp people will talk with the employer and they’ll work that out.
Don’t hurt yourself. If you’re ever sent back to work and you really can’t do it, and you’re sent back to work with a restriction that is violated and you can’t work, you need to communicate that, and you should not reinjure yourself. I don’t want you to get you fired from a job, but there’s obviously a miscommunication there, there’s a disconnect, then you need to go back and see the doctor again, then you need to talk to the employer again. Something needs to happen to make sure that you don’t lose your job, you’re treated fairly, you’re not going to reinjure yourself, and you’re getting appropriate medical care.
But if you’re sent back to work prematurely with inaccurate restrictions, you need to communicate that to the doctor. If you are sent back to work with incorrect limitations and your employer doesn’t have a light duty work, you need to communicate that to your employer, the nurse case manager, and your doctor, all three of them. You need to have everybody communicating, working in tandem, and sometimes you can do emails or written notes and stuff. Those are very important because it documents stuff in case some of this, “Oh, I know you’ve been calling me for six months about this, but I don’t know what you’re talking about.” No, you send the emails.
If none of that works and you’re getting the runaround and you need a lawyer, call me, I’m Gary Burger at Burger Law, www.burgerlaw.com. Our toll-free number is 866-599-2222, in Missouri I’m on 314-648-8348, in Illinois 618-226-4811. Call us, we’ll help you for free, we’ll answer your questions for free. If you want to hire us to get a great result in your comp case, we’ll do that too. Thank you.