What to Do If Re-injured After Returning to Work | Texas Workers' Comp Laws
Getting injured at work and having to file a workers' compensation claim with the employer's insurance company can be very stressful for employees.
In many cases, the employer may want the worker to return to work as soon as possible, which might not give injured workers the time they need to recover completely. Sometimes, it is the injured employees themselves who are anxious to return to work.
When an employee who was injured on the job returns to work too soon, there is always a chance that they will re-injure themselves, which can cause further problems. Workers sometimes end up returning to work before they are ready because of the fear that they will no longer receive workers' comp benefits.
If an employee feels that their rights are being violated by being forced to resume job duties before they have healed, or if they get re-injured after returning to work too quickly, they should speak to a Dallas workers comp law office. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is ready to go to war for clients who have suffered workplace injuries in Dallas, Texas.
When Should an Injured Employee Return to Work After an Injury?
It is easy for an injured worker to underestimate a workplace injury and decide that it is time to go back to work. Usually, staying at home can start causing employees to feel anxious about their jobs, and they end up taking shortcuts in their physical therapy.
However, this is not advisable. Whenever a worker has suffered work-related injuries, it is best to wait for the green light from their doctor before resuming any job tasks. When a worker is receiving workers' compensation insurance benefits, their health should always be more important than the needs of their employer or insurance company.
If an employee receiving workers' comp feels that their doctor is taking too long to release them after a work injury, they can approach a lawyer and discuss their workers' comp injury case. There is always the possibility that doctors are working on behalf of the insurer that employs them, in which case workers need a good attorney to fight for their legal rights.
Can Workers File a Second Workers' Compensation Claim After Another Injury?
When a worker returns to work too soon after a work-related injury, there is a high chance that they will be re-injured on the job. An injury weakens the body, leaving it prone to further injury. Also, after spending a long time away from work, some of the essential skills needed to avoid injuries may be forgotten, making a workplace injury more likely.
In either case, workers will be left wondering whether they can file another workers' compensation claim so soon after the first one. The short answer is yes. If a doctor releases a worker to return to work, and they are injured again, they can file another workers' comp claim.
However, each case is different in that, at times, the employee may be able to continue with the same claim they opened before, or they may need to file a new claim from scratch. If the injury is unrelated to the first claim, a new workers' compensation claim is required. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also provide information on situations like getting injured at work by another employee.
In other cases, if the employee has simply aggravated the already existing injury, they need to check if their initial benefits are still open or if they need to file a new claim. Some workers' compensation benefits may remain open for longer periods, such as when receiving temporary total disability benefits.
There is always the risk that the employer and their insurance company will not be willing to cover the same injury again, in which case it is best to seek the advice of a lawyer before filing a second injury claim.
Work Restrictions When Receiving Workers' Compensation Benefits
When returning to work after an injury, many workers find that their doctor clears them for duty only after imposing certain work/medical restrictions on them. These restrictions mean that while the employee will not necessarily be doing completely new job tasks, they will be required to work according to a modified duty plan for some time.
Work restrictions may be imposed because the worker is still going through physical therapy after undergoing surgery, or they may be permanent restrictions that the worker will have to observe for the rest of their lives.
The following are some of the common work restrictions that many workers go through after they return to work:
Only doing sedentary work
Avoiding emotional stress
Restricted to light duty and modified work
Staying away from uneven ground
Not doing work that involves squatting or kneeling
Avoiding lifting heavy objects or doing heavy work
How to Prevent Re-injury After Returning to Work
When returning to work, employees need to do all that they can to avoid re-injuring themselves. The following are some of the steps they can take:
Follow Doctor's Orders
It is very important to follow the advice of the doctor responsible for their medical care, even if they feel fine or think that the injury is only minor. Healing injuries takes time, and the doctor will know the best way to avoid aggravating the injury.
Ergonomic Training, Job Conditioning, and Reconditioning
When resuming a regular job, it is important to keep an eye on how the worker does their everyday duties. Things like ergonomics play an important role in avoiding workplace injuries. Sometimes, if the way the employee was working before puts them at risk of injury, some job conditioning and reconditioning may be required.
Basic self-care techniques, such as stretching, massaging sore or stiff joints, and taking regular breaks, can go a long way in ensuring that employees work safer and avoid future injuries.
Tips for Injured Workers About to Return to Work
The following are some great tips for workers to remember when returning to full duty after a work injury:
Confirm with the doctor that the worker is physically ready to resume work.
Contact the employer and make sure everything has been approved.
Sign a return to work form and any other forms that may be necessary before starting normal duties.
Maintain proper documentation at all times in case a second claim is required soon after the first one.
Hire a good lawyer if the decision to return to work is not in the worker's best interests.
A Workers' Compensation Attorney Can Assist with Second Injury Cases
The successful return to work of an employee who was injured on the job is always a great thing to see. However, it must be done the right way, with full approval from the doctor, and in the best interests of the employee. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help with questions like, "Can I be fired for an injury outside of work?"
A good workers' compensation lawyer can ensure that injured workers receive the medical care they need, the workers' compensation benefits they are entitled to, and enough time to heal before returning to work.
When the only option is to go to war, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is ready to offer its clients a free consultation to discuss their workers' compensation claim.