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Work Injury

What if my doctor says I can return to light work while I am being treating for an injury?

By July 14, 2021No Comments

You need to immediately advise your employer if your doctor has returned you to work with restrictions. You should obtain a copy of the doctor’s work script and furnish it to your employer.

If your employer is able to accommodate the doctor’s restrictions, you need to return to work. If your employer is not able to accommodate those restrictions, you are entitled to continuing disability benefits until the doctor has discharged you from her care.

It is important if you are informed of a return-to-work status by your doctor, that you report this to your employer.

If you don’t get in contact with your employer, they may decide that you have voluntarily abandoned your position, which would cause you to lose your job and would also cause problems in terms of applying for unemployment benefits.

What Happens When My Treatment Is Finished and The Doctor Places Me at Maximum Medical Improvement?

If you have retained an attorney to represent you in your workers’ compensation case, the attorney, if they haven’t done so already, would file a claim petition with the NJ Division of Workers’ Compensation.

That document set forth basic information about you, your employer, the insurance company, where the accident happened, how the accident happened, and the type of injuries you sustained.

Your injuries might be orthopedic in nature, neurological in nature, or pulmonary in nature, for example, but there needs to be basic information set forth on the claim petition.

This includes your job title, who the injury was reported to, whether they provided medical treatment for your work injury, and the circumstances surrounding you, your employer, and the work accident. 

It is a pretty simple form that is used. Once it is filed with the Division of Workers Compensation, the court has the authority to hear your case. When a claim petition is filed, the insurance company will either refer the claim to their in-house attorney or an outside attorney for the purposes of filing an answer to the claim petition.

The defense attorney will investigate the matter to confirm that you were an employee and that you did get hurt at work, and they will answer the claim petition. When they answer the claim petition, they may accept that you have an injury covered by workers’ compensation. 

Sometimes, after you file a claim petition, the claim will be denied and therefore, you have a fully contested workers’ compensation claim. In either case, there is a medical investigation done by your attorney and the insurance company.

This can take a considerable amount of time to finish because if there is an extensive medical treatment and are numerous doctors, you have to get all the medical records.

When your attorney has all the medical records and has sufficient information about your injuries and pre-existing conditions, if applicable, your attorney will send you to an expert medical witness for the purposes of reviewing the medical records, examining you, and writing a report, setting forth multiple factors and rendering an opinion on whether your injury was work related.

If so, they will comment on the nature and extent of your disability. 

The insurance company will do the exact same thing. They will forward all their medical records to their expert medical witness or witnesses who will also review the records, have you go to their office for a physical examination, and then write a report for the insurance company.

Is There A Time Limit For How Long I Can Receive Temporary Disability Benefits While Under Active Treatment?

You can receive temporary disability benefits for a very long time. The maximum length of time is 400 weeks and most cases are resolved before 400 weeks have passed, either by way of medical treatment or the matter has been resolved in court before the 400 weeks is up.

What Information Should I Share With My Doctor After A Work Injury?

You should be truthful and accurate about all circumstances surrounding your accident. You should also be truthful and accurate about any pre-existing medical conditions that you may have.

Even if you re-injure the same body part, you want to disclose this to the doctors. It happens quite frequently where someone may not disclose that information to the doctor.

Ultimately, that prior condition will most likely be revealed and if it appears that you are not being truthful during the claim, it is going to hurt your credibility and could certainly hurt your claim. 

My advice to all of my clients is to provide complete, truthful, and accurate medical information to the insurance company and to the treating physicians. You cause more problems by withholding information than revealing information.

In fact, sometimes pre-existing medical conditions may ultimately help your workers’ compensation case. It is of utmost importance that everything is accurate when dealing with the insurance company and the doctors.

For more information on Return To Light Work During Ongoing Treatment, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (908) 200-2297 today.