Temporary Return to Work
In many cases, a work injury can render an employee unable to work for a significant period of time. These cases can quickly become even more complicated when there is doubt or disagreement about when an injured worker is able to return to work. For instance, you may be required to see a doctor chosen by the insurance company for an independent medical examination (IME) and that IME physician might say you are ready to return to work. On the other hand, you may recover faster than you thought you would and request clearance from your treating physician to return to work. Going back to work, for whatever reason, will affect your workers’ compensation benefits. If you are worried about the implications about a temporary return to work following an on-the-job accident, our seasoned Wheaton and Schaumburg workers’ compensation attorneys can investigate your case and help you figure out your next steps.Temporary Return to Work
In some workers’ compensation cases, your employer may ask you attend an IME that is performed by a physician of the employer’s choosing. If an employer asks, the employee is required to attend. An IME is typically requested in order for the employer to get an expert opinion regarding the nature and extent of your injury. The physician will likely ask you about your job, your work requirements and other activities you participate in outside of work. The doctor will also provide an opinion about whether you are at “maximum medical improvement” (MMI), which just means that you are at a point in your recovery where you likely are not going to get any better.
Unfortunately, IMEs are not always free of influence. Since the physician is chosen and being paid for by the employer, he or she may feel pressure to send you back to work before you have fully recovered. If an IME shows that you are able to go back to work and you simply do not return, the employer can stop your temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. These benefits are appropriate for an injured worker who cannot return to his or her regular job, but may be able to perform other duties on a temporary basis.
If you make a temporary return to work because of an IME but are not able to do your job properly, you should inform your supervisor that your injury is interfering with your ability to work. You should also notify your treating physician and explain to him or her how your injury is preventing you from working. In such a scenario, TTD benefits should begin again. It is important to note that if your employer is unable to give you work that meets doctor-ordered restrictions, you can still qualify for TTD benefits.Contesting an Order to Return to Work
In some cases, you may not be ready to return to work or you may genuinely not be able to work. Under Section 19(b) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, you can go to trial with the workers’ compensation insurance company. Once you file a lawsuit, it takes approximately 60 days to go to trial. An arbitrator can figure out in an expedited manner whether you should return to work. Both parties can appeal any decision that is made, and a knowledgeable work injury lawyer can help you throughout this process.
In situations where you are ready to return to work but there is no job to return to, you may have to look for other work because once your doctor releases you to work, you will no longer be entitled to TTD benefits.
While on a return to work, it is important to follow any and all restrictions your physician has put in place for that return. You should know that it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for following your doctor's orders.Seasoned Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Wheaton and Schaumburg
If you have suffered harm due to a job-related injury or illness, it is wise to consult a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer in Wheaton or Schaumburg as soon as possible. At Therman Law Offices, we are committed to helping you seek the benefits you deserve after being hurt. We proudly represent clients from Mt. Prospect, Hoffman Estates, Streamwood, Arlington Heights, Elgin, Hanover Park, Bensenville, Bartlett, Wood Dale, Bloomingdale and Roselle. For a free consultation about your case, please call us today at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.