Returning to Work After Injury: What if I’m Not Ready?

    Understanding your rights after experiencing a work injury is important. When navigating employer demands, medical clearance, workers’ compensation rights and Pennsylvania laws, an experienced attorney can guide you through the process. Frommer D’Amico offers personalized legal advice and advocacy to help you protect your rights. We are dedicated to supporting injured workers and helping individuals overcome legal challenges confidently.

    Understanding Your Rights: Returning to Work After Workers’ Comp in PA

    If you are injured on the job, you should avoid returning if you’re not ready to go back to work, unless you have been cleared by a physician to try to work. Following your doctor’s orders helps you recover and heal properly to prevent re-injury, and it enables you to put your best efforts in at work when you are ready. You have the right to seek legal counsel if your employer tries to bring you back to work before you are physically able to, or against your doctor’s advice,  or you are denied workers’ compensation rights when you qualify for them.

    Workers’ compensation helps cover lost wages and medical expenses when you experience a work injury. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act also protects employers from liability in personal injury cases, meaning you cannot file a personal injury claim when you file a workers’ compensation claim. You should talk to an attorney if your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits were modified or denied and you experience financial stress. 

    Can I Be Forced Back to Work After an Injury?

    Your employer may pressure you to return to work, but your safety is most important. Understanding your rights is important for healing and protecting your workers’ compensation benefits. While returning to work is necessary after a full recovery, you should talk to an experienced attorney if you or your doctor feel that you need more time to heal.

    What to Do When the Company Doctor and Your Personal Doctor Disagree

    You should also contact an attorney if your doctor and the company doctor disagree about your return to work. In Pennsylvania, your employer may ask you to complete an Independent Medical Examination (IME) as part of the company’s return to work policy. If the IME doctor approves you for work or light-duty tasks and sends you a Notice of Ability to Return to Work, you may potentially lose your wage loss benefits if you refuse to return to work. However, if the IME doctor provides work restrictions that differ from your treating doctor, you will face a choice of whether to return to work and risk your health, or follow your treating doctor’s advice and risk a legal battle over your wage loss benefits. This is an important time to consult with an attorney.

    If an IME doctor clears you to return to work but you don’t feel ready, you can talk to a Pennsylvania attorney. A workers’ compensation specialist can help you seek a second opinion, ensure you follow your doctor’s orders and protect your benefits. Your attorney may need to resolve disagreements with legal redress, or they may recommend an incremental return to your work responsibilities.

    Recovery and Retraining After Workplace Injuries: Important Medical Restriction Considerations

    Your doctor may give you medical restrictions that help you return to work safely. Following these restrictions during recovery and after you return to work allows you to contribute to your job safely while preventing re-injury. It also protects you from losing your workers’ compensation benefits.

    Your employer is responsible for respecting your medical restrictions in some or all of the following ways depending on your physical needs:

    • Assigning alternative work tasks
    • Modifying work responsibilities to meet your abilities
    • Restricting certain activities such as prolonged standing or sitting, heavy lifting or walking
    • Reducing hours

    Explain your typical work responsibilities to your doctor and ask them which tasks are safe to perform. Request specific restrictions in writing, and communicate with your employer before returning. Talk to a workers’ compensation specialist if your employer pressures you to perform tasks your doctor doesn’t clear you for.

    Mental Health Considerations for Workers Returning After an Injury

    Returning to work following an injury in Pennsylvania may also require emotional recovery. Resources such as therapy can support your mental health in the following ways:

    • Overcoming fear of further injury
    • Managing stress or financial concerns
    • Coping with job dissatisfaction
    • Treating mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression
    • Surrounding yourself with a supportive community

    Navigating Employer Demands and Your Readiness to Return 

    You have the right to protect your health and safety when returning to work after an injury in PA. Delaying your return until you fully heal and following your doctor’s medical restrictions on the job prevents further injury and helps you deliver your best work performance when you’re ready. Frommer D’Amico can help you navigate employer demands and protect your rights in the following ways:

    • Inform you of your rights
    • Seek a second medical opinion when you feel pressure to return to work
    • Help you meet legal requirements for workers’ compensation benefits or returning to work
    • Help you receive the proper support and work accommodations from your employer
    • Communicate with your employer, medical providers, insurance company, vocational experts and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
    • Attend hearings if necessary
    • Handle legal paperwork and claims

    Contact Frommer D’Amico to Navigate Returning to Work After Injury

    Your safety is the most important factor when returning to work after an injury. Your employer may pressure you to return to work before you’re ready, so it’s important to remain informed and stand up for yourself with legal counsel. Frommer D’Amico advocates for you so you can protect your rights, receive the workers’ compensation benefits you qualify for and return to work safely. Contact us to speak with an attorney and learn more about your rights.


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