How Violating Medical Work Restrictions Can Jeopardize Your Workers’ Comp
So, you were injured on the job. You may be able to go back to work if you have a light-duty assignment and medical work restrictions. But, what should you do if your employer violates your work restrictions? A medical work restriction is not optional for your company. Your employer must respect your limitations. It is a grave safety matter if the employer pushes you to perform work you cannot physically do. It also is a violation of your rights.
Below is important information about work restrictions after an injury and how your employer violating your medical restrictions can affect a workers’ compensation claim. Talk to Green Bay workers’ comp attorneys Gillick, Wicht, & Graf immediately if you think your employer is violating your medical work restrictions. You could be entitled to additional compensation.
Medical Work Restriction Overview
A medical work restriction is a change to your job tasks caused by the injury. The injury may not be healed yet or could be a long-term disability. There are two kinds of medical work restrictions:
A disability work restriction is a change to your job tasks caused by a physical inability to do the work. For instance, a back injury could prevent you from lifting objects weighing 25 pounds or more.
A prophylactic work restriction ensures you do not further injure yourself. For instance, you could have carpel tunnel syndrome from typing all day. It may be possible for you to continue to type for eight hours, but it could injure you further.
Doing Unauthorized Work Can Harm Your Health
If you have filed a Wisconsin workers’ comp claim, you have the right to do only work your doctor says you can. When an employer tries to make you do work that is beyond your ability, you could damage your health. The last thing you want to do after a workplace injury is to perform work that exacerbates your injuries.
If your physician has you on work restrictions, it is critical to follow those limitations. First, let your employer know what your restrictions are. Then, try to perform the work the doctor authorizes you to do. If you cannot do those tasks, talk to your doctor about updating your medical work restrictions.
Talk To Your Doctor About Medical Work Restrictions
After the injury, you will likely see your doctor in regular appointments. You should remind your physician to provide updated work restrictions. This also may be called a Report of Workability. This document is for your employer, so they know if you can work. In addition, this document tells them the tasks you can and cannot do if you can work.
A common medical work restriction may state something like ‘cannot lift items more than 10 pounds,’ or ‘do not perform work that involves repetitive use of the hands. You should ensure the work restrictions are logical according to your job. For example, if you operate a forklift but need to take prescription pain medication, your limitation should state you cannot use heavy machinery.
Work Restrictions Need To Be Documented
It is primarily the role of your doctor to document that your workplace injury requires medical work restrictions. The better the medical professional documents the case, the more likely your employer will honor them. When your doctor approves you to return to work with medical restrictions, ensure everything is clearly laid out in the documentation. Common examples of medical work restrictions after an injury are:
- A modified work schedule. An example would be working a four-hour day instead of eight hours.
- Work that only involves sitting in front of a computer or workstation.
- No lifting objects over a certain weight.
- Other limitations on physical activity on the job.
Tell Your Employer If There Are Violations
If you are supposed to do light duty, the best course of action with the employer depends on the situation. Sometimes your supervisor may simply order you by mistake to do work you cannot do because of medical limitations. If you think the company assigned you tasks by accident, talk to your manager about your restrictions. Show them documentation from your doctor detailing your medical work restrictions.
If the problem is not addressed immediately, inform HR in writing that this is a violation of your work restrictions. Remember that you do not need to perform work that violates what your doctor said you can do during your recovery.
Steps To Remedy The Work Restriction Violation
If you were assigned light duty after your injury and your company is not complying, take these steps:
- Talk to your manager or HR department immediately.
- If that does not work, contact your workers’ comp case manager at the insurance company.
- Next, talk to your doctor to see if they will enhance your restrictions. This could make it harder for the company to violate your medical work restrictions.
- You also can ask the doctor to provide more details about your work restrictions. This can reduce ambiguity about what your company should and should not do.
If the employer violates your work restrictions and you cannot reach an agreement, it is time to talk to a Green Bay workers’ comp attorney. Your attorney knows how to negotiate with employers and insurance companies to get you the work agreement and compensation you deserve.
Contact Green Bay Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Now
Being injured at work can throw your life into chaos. You cannot do your job and get paid. Who will pay the mortgage and all the bills? Workers’ compensation is designed to pay you during your recovery so you can keep the bills paid and a roof over your head.
Yes, you can file a claim on your own. But many injured workers are not familiar with Wisconsin workers’ comp laws. They may not know how to negotiate with insurance companies. The last thing you want to do is get less compensation than you deserve.
Our Green Bay workers’ compensation attorneys can help with your claim in Green Bay, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Appleton, Brookfield, Fon du Lac, Kenosha, Madison, Manitowoc, Menomonee Falls, New Berlin, Oshkosh, and Wisconsin Rapids. Contact Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf today to safeguard your rights: (414) 257-2667.