A workers’ compensation claim was filed. You were approved by your employer’s insurer, and you have been receiving workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries that you sustained in the accident at work.
Released for full duty
Your injuries from the accident at work were of such a nature that you have missed several weeks of work. You have been seeing a doctor regularly. You go to the doctor and he or she releases you back to full duty.
The problem is you do not think that you can do full duty. You do not believe you are able to do the job that you were doing before the accident took place at work.
What options do you have? What can you do? Are you required to try and do full duty work even though you do not think you can do it? Will you lose your workers’ compensation benefits if you refuse to go back to work for your employer.
Who does the doctor favor
The truth is that some doctors favor the employer and their insurance company more than they do an injured worker. Many times, they release a worker back to full duty before the worker is truly ready. A doctor may even do this before really determining the true nature of a worker’s injuries.
On the other hand, the truth is that some doctors favor the injured worker more than the employer. These doctors are probably not going to clear you for full duty at work until they are sure that you have achieved maximum medical improvement (MMI).
If the doctor who is treating your injuries releases you to full duty, you do have to try and return to work or risk losing your workers‘ compensation benefits. If you go back to work and are not able to do your job because of your injuries, you should tell your supervisor and make an appointment with the doctor.
Ask the doctor
If you tell the doctor that you were not able to do full duty work because of your injuries and the doctor still thinks you are ready for full duty, you should ask the doctor to let you see another doctor for a second opinion. If the doctor will not agree to this, you can ask your employer’s insurance company to allow you to switch doctors. If they will not permit you to switch doctors, you can ask for an independent medical examination (IME).
The laws and procedures for challenging a doctor who has released you to full duty when you do not think you can do the job that you did before the accident are not the same in every state. It is important for you to have a workers’ compensation attorney standing with you who knows the workers’ compensation laws and procedures in your state. A workers’ compensation attorney will make sure that all of your rights are protected, and he or she will guide you through a complicated process.
- Changing Employers and Getting Workers’ Compensation (usworkerscomp.com)
- Can My Employer Ask Me to Submit to an Independent Medical Examination (usworkerscomp.com)
- What if I Want to See Another Doctor (usworkerscomp.com)