Examples Of Medical Work Restrictions In Workers’ Comp

medical work restrictions

Work-related accidents happen all too often in Wisconsin. Every year, thousands of workers in the state get medical care for work-related accidents or occupational illnesses. If you have medical work restrictions from your workers’ compensation claim, our Wisconsin workers’ comp lawyers can review your case and answer your questions.

Overview Of Medical Work Restrictions

If you are like most employees in Wisconsin, you want to get back to work at a full salary as soon as possible. Research shows that the longer you are away from your job, the less likely you will ever return. Even if your employer is not pushing you to get back to your job, many injured parties want to return as soon as they can for the following reasons:

  • Reconnect with your fellow workers
  • Working gives you a purpose in life
  • Put the injury in the rearview mirror
  • Earn your full salary or wage

But sometimes, your work-related injuries could prevent you from returning to the same job. Your injuries could make it more challenging to do the same work you did before. However, many workers can return to work with lighter duties or medical restrictions.

Types Of Medical Work Restrictions

A medical work restriction in a workers’ comp case modifies your job duties so you can return to work. You can have a work restriction caused by a disability or a preventative work restriction.

A work restriction due to a disability is a job modification because you cannot do specific tasks. For instance, a hand and wrist injury that weakens your grip could mean you cannot lift objects more than 10 or 15 pounds.

On the other hand, a preventative work restriction is put in place to ensure you do not hurt yourself worse. For instance, you could have numbness in your hands because of vibrating tools used in the shop. While you still may be able to use those tools, putting a preventative work restriction in place would not allow you to use them. The reason is that using these tools could lead to additional nerve damage. Some typical medical work restrictions in a workers’ comp case include:

  • Not lifting objects above a certain weight
  • No kneeling or squatting
  • Only standing for a certain number of minutes before taking a break
  • Taking additional work breaks
  • Work only from a seated position
  • Work from a standing position
  • Not doing work that requires you to reach up or down
  • Not using a specific device or machine

Work Restrictions Need To Be Documented

A medical work restriction has to be created and approved by your doctor. Ensure your doctor’s documents or notes about the medical work restriction are kept. Making copies of these notes are helpful to document your case and condition. Share the copies with your company to show that you have a disability and need a work modification or restriction.

Critically, your doctor needs to understand what your job is and the physical demands it has. Also, your doctor must understand your physical limitations and injury. Then, your doctor can devise the appropriate medical work restriction you need to stay safe and improve.

What If You Are Not Ready To Return To Work?

Your doctor could say that you are ready to go back to work on light duty or with restrictions. But what if you are not ready to go back to work? You still could be in pain and unable to do even limited work.

However, if your doctor recommends returning to work, you should try, even if you are not 100% ready. Going back to work with restrictions ensures you will continue receiving your workers’ compensation benefits.

The Employer Is Not Required To Rehire You

If you are injured at work, state law does not require that your company hires you back. It is against the law for the company to terminate you for filing for workers’ comp, but they do not have to keep that position open for you. However, if the company has suitable employment for you within your limitations, the company should offer the job to you. If your company does not bring you back into this situation, you have the right to file for compensation of wages.

If your company tries to force you back to work before you are physically ready, you should speak to a workers’ compensation attorney. Your employer could be violating your rights.

Reduced Earnings For Part-Time Work

Your company is not required to compensate you the same as what you received before your injury if you are now working part-time. That same is true if you are on restricted or light duty. So, you could return to the job, still injured, and get compensated less than before. The good news is you could receive temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits to make up for the shortfall.

When Should You Notify Your Employer About Your Injury?

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) states that you should inform your employer within 30 days of your workplace injury. If it is an occupational disease, you should provide notice within 30 days of knowing about the illness. However, if you do not give notice within 30 days, you can still give notice within two years of the date of injury or onset of the illness.

If you give notice within two years and the company was misled because of the delay in notice, you still could receive benefits. The two-year limit is not applicable if the company knew or should have known about your injury.

Contact Our Wisconsin Workers’ Comp Lawyers Today

Were you injured on the job recently? You could receive workers’ compensation benefits for your medical expenses and lost earnings. You also could qualify for work restrictions and light duty until you return to health. Contact our Wisconsin workers’ comp lawyers at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf for help with your case, so please call (414) 257-2667.

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