After a workplace injury, many injured workers prioritize returning to work and do not focus on appropriate medical restrictions. The workers’ compensation insurance companies often encourage quick return to work as well because it minimizes their wage loss benefit costs. However, not all workers fare well when they go back to work without restrictions.
What are medical restrictions?
Medical restrictions are limitations on the actions you can perform in everyday life, including at your job. They are also called physical restrictions, doctor restrictions, or just restrictions. Medical restrictions apply to everything you do. In other words, do not follow your restrictions at work but violate them while at home. During a workers’ compensation case, the insurance company may try to catch you violating your restrictions by sending out a private investigator to conduct surveillance. Violating restrictions may show to the insurer or the judge that you are not as injured as you claim.
Are medical restrictions required when you return to work?
No, you are not required to have medical restrictions when you return to work after an injury. Depending on your injury, you may completely heal in a short time. If, however, you are not sure if you are 100% or you anticipate having difficulty performing some of your job duties, you should discuss restrictions with your doctor and your employer.
Does a doctor have to give you the restrictions?
Usually a doctor does have to write you a note that lists the restrictions. If you go to your employer on your own and say you have restrictions, your employer will probably request a doctor’s note anyway. You should provide the doctor’s note to the employer, the insurance company, any other doctors you see, and your lawyer.
Sometimes your restrictions may be very obvious due to the nature of your workplace injury. In that case, protect yourself by getting a doctor’s note anyway, just in case your employer wants you to perform tasks that violate the restrictions.
If you feel ready to work beyond your restrictions, should you?
No, you should not work beyond your restrictions without your doctor’s permission and an updated doctor’s note. Unfortunately, the insurance company may find out and attempt to end your benefits. Even if you feel healthy and ready to return to your former duties, your doctor may have medical reasons for maintaining the restrictions longer than you think necessary.
Do you have permanent or temporary medical restrictions due to a workplace injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.