Return To Work Issues
Why your North Carolina employer wants you back to work is obvious. The cost of all the benefits paid to you by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier might translate into higher insurance premiums for the following year, plus your job doesn’t get done properly while you are absent.
For you, staying at home with two-thirds of your former wages and suffering from injuries treated by care providers who are imposed to you is not exactly comfortable.
Don’t rush back to work, however, without looking at a few critical issues.
Are you absolutely certain that you have fully and definitely recovered from your injuries? If your job is physically demanding, did you take enough tests to make sure you won’t experience recurring pain or new injuries?
Do you have a written confirmation from your employer that you can return to your previous assignment? Does your employer accommodate the restrictions the doctor detailed with your release? Are you being offered a menial job, far below your abilities, education and training? Do you get the same wages and benefits you had before?
Make sure you discuss and receive the signed forms relative to your trial return-to-work. Under the North Carolina workers’ compensation law, a worker who finds out after a while that he or she can’t handle the job because injuries haven’t healed properly, can get his or her workers’ comp benefits reinstated.
What is trial return-to-work?
The greatest risk for an injured worker is to return to work only to find out, after a couple of weeks, that he or she is not up to the task. If the worker is in pain and needs additional treatment, he has lost all rights to workers’ comp benefits and risks being fired.
This is why North Carolina Workers’ Compensation rules allow a “trial” return-to-work of up to 45 days when a worker returns without restrictions, and up to 9 month with restrictions. If during the trial period the employee is forced to stop working due to an injury that was previously compensated for, regulations provide that the employer shall promptly resume payment of compensation for temporary disability.
Attorney Joseph Miller’s FREE book restores the truth about Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina. Download now: The Nine Biggest Myths About North Carolina Workplace Injuries, which answers all the questions you have about workplace injuries, claims and benefits.
Returning to work, except in the case of minor injuries, is a very serious decision that could have serious consequences if not handled properly. We can help you in this process. Contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us locally 757-455-8889 or toll-free 888-694-7994 or send us an e-mail for a FREE, no commitment discussion of your case.