Following a workplace accident, most people want to get healed up and back to the job as soon as possible. Of course, rushing back before you are physically ready to return to work could be a major mistake. You need to take the time that is necessary to make sure that you are healthy enough to get back to the office. Reaggravation of an injury/medical condition is always an area of concern.
This raises an important question: Who decides if you are ready to return to work after an accident in California? It is a complicated question—a number of different people play a role in the process. Here, our Fresno workers’ compensation attorney provides a guide to returning to the workplace after filing for benefits.
You, Your Doctor, Your Employer, and the Claims Administrator Play a Role
Returning to the job after a workers’ compensation claim has the potential to be a complicated matter. While that is not always the case—sometimes everyone is on the same page—there can sometimes be disputes over whether or not an employee is truly ready to return to work. As explained by the California Department of Industrial Relations, the following parties all have a role to play in the process:
- The injured worker;
- The injured worker’s attorney;
- The injured worker’s doctor;
- The employer; and
- The claims administrator.
Light-Duty Work May Provide for a Smooth Transition
There are plenty of circumstances in which an employee can return to the workplace—but not necessarily in their pre-injury capacity, at least not initially. In this type of circumstance, a light-duty assignment could provide a smooth and effective transition. Light duty work comes in a wide variety of different forms. In effect, light duty work is simply an accommodation to a job to make it more safe for an employee who is recovering from an injury or otherwise dealing with an impairment. It could be a reduced schedule, a less physically-demanding alternative position, or an excuse from performing certain tasks.
A Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME) May Resolve Disagreements
If there is a disagreement regarding whether or not a worker is ready to return to their job, the matter may be referred to a Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME). Simply put, a QME is an “independent” medical professional who examines an injured worker and makes their own assessment about the individual’s medical status. If you have been referred to a QME because your employer wants you to return to work, an experienced Fresno, CA workers’ comp lawyer will protect your rights.
Call Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Compensation Attorney TodayJoseph C. Yrulegui is a workers’ comp lawyer with deep experience helping clients find solutions. If you have any questions or concerns about returning to work after an injury, we can provide reliable guidance and support. Contact our legal team today for a strictly private initial consultation. With a law office in Fresno, we handle workers’ comp disputes throughout all of Fresno County.