When Returning to Work, Make Sure to Check with Your Physician!
Returning to work after sustaining a work injury isn’t necessarily a cut-and-dry process. Every person heals at their own pace, and depending on the extent of your injury, you may need more time than someone else. However, in many cases, in order to continue receiving benefits you will need to return to work. This can be troublesome for some people, especially since workers’ comp law does not require that you’re pain-free or symptom-free prior to returning to work.
But keep this mind: While you might have to return to work, you may not have to return to the exact job you were working before your injury. If you’re still suffering from pain or other symptoms, there’s a good chance your physician has placed workplace restrictions on you. This means you will need to be given work that does not aggravate your injuries.
If your employer is willing to accommodate your restrictions, it’s important to discuss the details of your new job description with your physician. That way they can determine whether or not you are fit for that kind of work.
In many situations, your employer will be required to provide a formal job description for your doctor to approve before you can return to work. This will help ensure that you will continue to recover and not make your injuries worse after returning to your job. Working with your doctor and employer will help your transition back into the workplace go as smoothly as possible.
Don’t unnecessarily aggravate your injuries! Check with your doctor to make sure you are fit to return to work. If you have questions about your workers’ comp claim, be sure to contact the experienced attorneys at Oxner + Permar for a free consultation.
What Happens If My Employer Refuses to Acknowledge My Workers’ Comp Claim?
This is a totally reasonable concern. Not all employers are thrilled at the thought of having to be responsible (even in part) for your workplace injury. They might resist and even try to say that your claim is ridiculous and holds no water. They might refuse to follow the proper procedures that go along with your workers’ compensation claim.
Fortunately, your employer is required to acknowledge your claim. When they do so, if they wish to make the case that they are not liable for your claim, they must present that case to the Industrial Commission. They will do this by filing Form 61, which will detail the exact reason for their denial of liability.
If your claim is denied by the insurance company, you may request a hearing before the Industrial Commission. You can do this by submitting a Form 33. This is a request for a hearing. During your hearing, your case will be reevaluated and a final verdict will be reached.
This may seem like a long process, and often times it can be. But don’t worry; you will not be billed by medical providers during this time. Medical providers can only bill you after it has finally been determined that you are not compensable by workers’ compensation.
If you have any questions about filing Form 33 to request a hearing, or about your employer’s refusal to acknowledge your claim, don’t hesitate to contact one of our attorneys. With more than $275 million and awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar has the experience to get you the benefits you deserve.
Is My Employer Allowed to Terminate Me Following a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Filing a workman’s comp claim takes courage, and I understand. Often, clients express concern that their employers might try to fire them. This is a natural worry for some employees. The good news is that typically, employers will not terminate an injured worker after he or she has been hurt on the job.
It is important to know, however, that based on North Carolina employment laws, filing a claim does not ultimately protect you from being fired—so it is true that there is a possibility you could lose your job. If an employer does terminate you, based on the filing of a workers’ compensation claim, there is a good chance that you have a viable retaliation claim against the employer. Make sure you have someone looking out for you and your rights—someone who thoroughly understands North Carolina workers’ compensation laws and how to make wrongs right if you’ve been injured on the job. Don’t feel intimidated into not filing the workman’s comp claim that you rightly deserve. With a team like Oxner + Permar, you’ll have years of experience and successful litigation on your side.
Throughout your employment, be sure to never give your employer a reason to let you go. Show up on time. Perform your job well. Address your supervisor in a professional manner. If you find that your employer does terminate you after you’ve filed a claim, remember: You don’t need to fight alone.
Take every precaution to prevent you employer from terminating you following your workers’ compensation claim—including hiring an attorney for support.
If you’ve lost your job after a work injury, it might feel like you’re completely out of options—especially if your employer has told you that you’re no longer eligible for workman’s compensation. Often, an employer will tell an employee that they are no longer entitled to workers compensation, hoping that the employee will forget about the claim. This simply is not true: you are entitled to workers’ compensation even if you have been terminated from your job. So don’t give up!
Another thing to watch out for is that some insurance companies will try to tell you your claim will close once treatment has ended. Also not true. The only way a claim can close or settle is by your voluntary agreement via a compromise with the insurance company.
At Oxner + Permar, we understand that these problems can be difficult to navigate without professional help. If you’re unsure of anything regarding your case, be sure to contact an attorney. With more than $275 million in workers’ compensation awards and settlements, we’ve got the experience to help our clients navigate their way through misinformation and make sure that their rights are being protected.
If you’ve sustained a work injury, be careful as not everyone has your best interests at heart. Make sure you’ve got people who are fighting for you and protecting your rights.
A Positive Attitude and Good Relationships Can Go a Long Way
Dealing with a long line of medical professionals and insurers after sustaining a work injury comes with a huge amount of stress—especially when you’ve sustained traumatic brain injury or a closed head injury. There’s nothing worse than having to take time out of your day to deal with doctor’s visits, particularly when it feels like you’re not making any progress, or that the doctor is not doing enough.
However, it’s essential that you maintain a good relationship with your doctors and remain on top of your care.
Some people think that an MRI or CT alone can prove that they were injured and the extent of that injury. In actuality, with traumatic brain injury cases or closed head injuries, often times even using examinations like MRIs and CT scans offers little to no objective evidence to show the injury. Therefore, when describing your injury, your credibility is very important. How do you ensure you have credibility? Be consistent about your medical complaints and concerns in medical records. These, of course, come from consistent medical visits in which any doctor at any time can see the consistency of your complaints over time.
The process of these multiple doctor’s appointments can be long and arduous; however, it’s important to keep a positive and friendly attitude. It is common for the doctor’s testimony to be taken in regards to your case, and they may not be willing to support your claim if you’ve been combative or taken your frustrations out on them. Maintaining a positive relationship with your doctor is the best way to get their support when it comes to supporting your claim.
Even though the road to recovery can be long and arduous, be sure to maintain a good relationship with those who are going to be your allies on your workers’ compensation claim.