Getting injured at work will impact your life in many ways. Of course, your health should be your top priority, so it is important to get the medical care you need to recover from your work injury. After you file your claim for workers’ compensation benefits, you may wonder whether or not you must return to work with the same employer, doing the same job you were doing when you were injured. It may be a good idea to continue working for your employer after your injury, but it is not absolutely necessary for you to do so to remain eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
If you have questions regarding your workers’ compensation case, our attorneys at Kneisler and Schondel can help. The attorneys at our office have many years of experience handling California workers’ compensation cases and have successfully handled cases with a wide range of issues. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to meet with an attorney to discuss your case.
Returning to Work While Still Receiving Medical Treatment
In some point in your case, your medical provider may recommend that you return work with limitations. You may be given work restrictions such as lifting restrictions or you may be given a requirement of no repetitive work. You may wish to return to work if your employer is offering you a position that accommodates the restrictions your doctor provides.
If your employer is unable to offer you work that meets your doctor’s restrictions however, you will then become eligible for Total Temporary Disability (TTD) benefits. You cannot be forced to return to work in a position that does not accommodate your work restrictions put in place by your treating physician.
If your doctor states that you can return to work without any restrictions, generally, your employer must give you the same type of job and level of pay that you had prior to your work injury. Your employer cannot legally fire you due to your work injury, as that is against the law. If you believe you were fired due to your work injury, you should let your attorney know about that right away.
If you refuse to accept a suitable modified job offered by your employer, you may potentially lose out on some workers’ compensation benefits. This is because your employer is not required to pay temporary total disability for you to be off-work if your doctor says that you can return to work (with certain restrictions) and your employer is able to accommodate those restrictions and provide work for you. If you accept the job and it turns out that your employer is not respecting your limitations and is requiring you to do work outside of your restrictions, then you should let your attorney know immediately.
Accepting a Light Duty Job with Your Employer
If your medical condition is stable and it is determined that you will have permanent disability as a result of your work injury, there are special rules your employer must follow when offering you suitable modified work. If you are offered a modified job which is genuinely within your restrictions, the offer must be made in writing and it must be expected to last twelve months or more. It also must be within a reasonable commuting distance from your home. You have 30 days to accept such an offer. If you do not respond within the 30-day time limit, your employer can rescind the offer. Another thing to keep in mind is that if your employer offers you a suitable job within your restriction limits, they do not have to offer you a supplemental job displacement benefit, even if you did not accept the job offer.
What If My Employer Does Not Offer Me a Job?
If your employer does not offer you a suitable modified job, and your medical condition is not yet stable, you will likely be eligible to receive TTD benefits. Additionally, if you were injured in 2013 or later and your employer does not offer you alternative or modified work and you have a permanent partial disability, you will likely be eligible for a supplemental job displacement voucher. This is a benefit that you can use for training, education, or skill enhancement at certain eligible schools. The money can be used to pay for fees and tuition, as well as books or tools that are required. You may also be eligible for a return-to-work supplement benefit if your injury occurred in 2013 or later. Contact us at (707) 542-5132 or fill out our online contact form.