While you are recovering from a recent injury, you are, of course, concerned about how this will affect your ability to continue working. Whether you were injured while on the job or during your personal time, it will be vital you work as closely as possible with your employer during your recovery process. While some may be more cooperative and understanding than others, take the following actions to ensure all goes well as you work your way back to your job.
Don’t Go Back Too Early
For starters, don’t go back to work until you have been cleared by your doctor to resume activities. If you rush back to the job, you will likely suffer a setback that could have you out of work even longer. Should your employer pressure you during this time, refer them to your doctor, and also don’t rule out speaking with an attorney to understand your rights.
Create a Return to Work Plan
Once you realize you will soon be able to go back to work, contact your employer and create a Return to Work Plan. This plan should be very specific, focusing on what you can and cannot do based on your doctor’s recommendations. For example, it should include what you can and cannot do, as well as an acknowledgment by your employer that they understand these restrictions and will observe them to the best of their ability. If you encounter problems along the way, consult with a personal injury lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation law. Most personal injury lawyers have experience with this transition and will be able to guide you through the process. In addition, they may be able to work with your doctor to get the appropriate documentation to support your return to work plan.
Document Your Employer’s Actions
Once you are preparing to return to work or have already returned, make sure you document anything that may indicate a potential problem with your current arrangement. This is especially important if your employer does anything that could be construed as discriminatory or as punishing you for being restricted in your duties. When documenting anything, write down the date and location, what occurred, and the names of anyone who may have witnessed the event.
Be Polite Yet Firm
Finally, be polite yet firm with your employer when you are under restrictions on the job. While most employers will be understanding, others may grow impatient and try to force you into getting back to your normal duties sooner than you should. If this happens, politely remind them of your situation by keeping a copy of the restrictions they agreed to earlier.
By using common sense, good judgment, and understanding your legal rights in these situations, you and your employer can work together to make your return to work following an injury less stressful for everyone.