In California, many workers who have been injured at work will be requested to return to work despite the absence of full recovery from the work-related injury. Keep in mind that the return to work request is neither illegal nor inhumane per se because studies have shown that returning to work can have a positive impact on full recovery and rehabilitation.
What then can you do? You have four options that you can discuss with the concerned healthcare professionals, such as your workers’ compensation doctor and occupational therapist at any of the Healthpointe clinics (such as the Long Beach one near Signal Hill, Carson, Seal Beach, Lakewood, Bellflower, Compton, Hawaiian Gardens, and Los Alamitos). Your vigilance in these matters can spell the difference between successfully returning to work and getting another work-related injury.
First, you have to tell your doctor that you are not confident about returning to work considering your apparent physical and mental limitations. You have to be specific about your symptoms that prevent your satisfactory performance of your duties in your former job. You should specifically state the job duties that you will be unable to perform, too.
Second, you can return to a full duty at work especially when your workers’ compensation doctor still insists on it. You may benefit from it although you have to take certain precautions including contacting your lawyer before your actual return to work. Your lawyer may discuss the possibility of an incremental return to work program, which will allow you to slowly return to full duty in your job. You can then decrease the risks for yet another work-related injury or for the aggravation of your present injury.
Third, if you have returned to work yet you cannot perform your duties or your work injury has reasserted itself, you have to contact your lawyer, too. You will be able to discuss your options about proving your continuing injury and, thus, inability to return to the job with the expectation of satisfactory performance. You may even be able to change your workers’ compensation doctor or your lawyer may obtain an independent medical evaluation.
Fourth, you have to follow the restrictions set in your return to work order. For example, your employer may offer a light duty job in compliance with the doctor’s light duty restrictions. For your own protection, you must not exceed the restrictions since your work-related injury can worsen and your legal standing can be adversely affected.
Keep these tips in mind and your return to work may just prove productive.
Come to any of the Healthpointe clinics, such as the one in Ontario near Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Montclair, and Chino for more information about occupational therapy.
Healthpointe is a leading multidisciplinary healthcare organization offering a full range of medical services in practice locations throughout Southern California (Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County). Healthpointe has locations situated in over 10 cities in Southern California including Ontario, which is conveniently located by Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Montclair, and Chino. As a highly regarded musculoskeletal group, we have a personal investment in the highest level of service, and we are proud of our record of excellence over the last four decades with private patients, injured workers, urgent care, personal injuries, and professional and non-professional athletes. Leading our organization is a dynamic team of healthcare professionals who continually strive to be at the forefront of medical innovation and healthcare service delivery. For more information, a complete list of services, and Healthpointe locations, visit Healthpointe.net.