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Work-related injury? You should know what happens now

When you've been hurt on the job, you may have to take some time away. In many cases, you can return to work, but you might not be able to do the things you did in the past.

After you're hurt, there will be many people who work with you to decide if it's appropriate for you to return to work or to go back to a specific job you have in mind. Some of the people that you'll work with include:

  • Claims administrators
  • Your attorney
  • Your primary physician
  • Your employer, supervisor or others in management

It's important for everyone to stay in touch throughout the process, because it may be that your doctor or a claims administrator doesn't understand exactly what it is you do or the way your injuries affect you. That's why you and your attorney should actively communicate with your physician throughout your recovery and maintain open lines of communication with your employer and claims administrator.

What happens to your job while you're recovering?

If you are able to return to the job, then there will be specific limits on what you can do as you recover. These are better known as "work restrictions." For example, someone with a back injury may be limited to lifting no more than 30 pounds for 15 minutes each hour, or they may be limited to lifting 10 pounds at any time during the day.

Keep in mind that if your doctor states that you cannot work, you will not be able to work. If you cannot do the job you used to do, ask your employer about potential positions that may be open to you in a new area. In some cases, your employer may need to fill the position and move you to a different position. Work closely with your team, including your attorney, to make sure that everything is done by the book.

What happens if you don't totally recover from your injuries?

If you don't totally recover, that doesn't necessarily mean you can't return to work. However, you will need to find a position that works for you. Your employer may have other roles that you can take over, but if not, then you may want to use workers' compensation's benefit of vocational rehabilitation to train for a new position. Your attorney, doctor and others involved in your case can help you decide what to do next.

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