It is fairly common for injured workers to start to feel restless while waiting for their workers’ compensation claims to conclude. Most people want to return to work sooner than later because they liked their job. The only reason they aren’t working is that they had a workplace accident that made continuing their job unsafe for the time being.
If you’re in the same position, then you’re probably wondering if you can go back to work without jeopardizing your workers’ compensation claim. The answer is yes, but only sometimes. It depends on how you return to work and if you were authorized to do it.
Reaching Your Maximum Medical Improvement
For the most part, your treating physician will not want you to return to any form of work until you have reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI). This occurs when you are not expected to heal any further from your work injury, even if you had infinite time and unlimited medical resources. When you do reach your MMI, your treating physician will evaluate you to see what sort of work you can safely complete. At that point, you can return to work under their instructions, with their permission, and without hurting your chances of getting a workers’ compensation settlement or continued benefits.
You could also be approved for light-duty work before you reach your MMI. For example, your treating physician might think it is safe for you to start a desk job at your company whereas you had before worked in a position that demanded physicality, such as hefting products or just walking around or standing for hours each day. The key here is once again whether or not you had gained approval to return work from your treating physician.
Working on Your Own Accord
If you decide you want to return to work or find employment at another company, and you did not get express permission from your treating physician, then your workers’ compensation claim will likely be jeopardized. The insurance company could argue that you must be exaggerating or fabricating your injuries if you are working before you were permitted by a trained medical professional. It would be difficult to defend your position, too.
The bottom line is that you should not seek employment or complete any type of work when you have a pending workers’ compensation claim unless your treating physician approves of it. Even if you are struggling financially because your wage replacement benefits are inadequate, you must resist the temptation to find money through side work of any sort. It is not worth the risk of losing your chances of securing a lump-sum settlement.
To learn more about how to get a workers’ comp settlement in Kentucky while also returning to work, request a complimentary consultation with the attorneys of Kentucky Injury Law Center. We’re here to make your life easier through reliable legal counsel and representation.