When a worker suffers an injury on the job or in some work-related accident, he or she generally enjoys medical care, wage loss compensation, and other benefits through workers' compensation. While this is welcome coverage in the moment to help address the immediate needs of the worker, the ongoing process of recovering from a workplace injury is not always as smooth an experience.
This is particularly true when it comes time for the worker to return to his or her job. Depending on the nature of the injury, the physical and mental requirements of the injured workers' previous position, and the preferences of the employer, returning to work after an injury may prove the most difficult and frustrating part of the process altogether.
If you suffered an injury on the job, make sure you clearly understand all your legal options before returning to work. Otherwise, you may find yourself stuck in a difficult situation with little recourse. Protect your rights and livelihood by carefully reviewing your workers' compensation options and building a strong legal strategy that keeps your priorities safe.
Returning to work may mean a pay cut
While your employer may find a way for you to return to your previous position at your previous pay rate, it is also possible that the employer may not reinstate you with the same income at all.
In instances where an employee returns to work in a different capacity, the new job description may come with different wages. If the wages for the returning position are lower than the wages for your previous position, you may have an opportunity to receive ongoing workers' compensation benefits to offset this loss.
However, these sorts of benefits are rarely automatic. If you do not know what benefits you deserve or can reasonably seek, you may receive much less support than you truly need. Your employer probably has greater concerns about its own bottom line than your long-term recovery, so it is always wise to scrutinize all your benefits to make sure that you get everything you should out of a workers' compensation claim.
If you return to work at the same wages as you received before the injury, it is likely that your lost wages benefits will cease. However, this does not mean that your needs are all met. Don't accept weak compensation before exploring all the options you have in detail.
Putting yourself first after an injury
Even if you have a good relationship with your employer and it provides you with strong benefits after your injury, you should never take any benefits at face value when it comes to workers' compensation. Often, you may seek more complete compensation if you know what benefits are possible. Carefully review your workers' compensation package in detail to ensure you don't miss benefits you deserve on the path to recovery.