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Who decides when you can return to work after an injury?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

It will be inconvenient for you and for your employer if you get hurt at work. They will have to accommodate you if you require a leave of absence, possibly by temporarily hiring a new employee. They may also need to make changes to your job to allow you to stay at work despite your medical condition.

You will have to typically accept reduced income while you receive workers’ compensation benefits. Thankfully, workers’ compensation at least fully covers the medical care you receive, regardless of whether your condition requires surgery or physical therapy.

Eventually, your disability benefits will either end or convert to permanent benefits. What happens at that point depends on whether you can return to work or not. Who decides when a worker receiving workers’ compensation benefits must go back to work?

The doctor has the final say

The physician overseeing your medical treatment is the one who determines when you are capable of returning to work. They can provide instructions for your employer regarding limitations on the job functions you perform.

When a doctor lists accommodations that you will require, such as specific devices or frequent breaks, you can resume your previous job responsibilities with minimal absence from work. Sometimes, those accommodations don’t do enough to limit your pain or other symptoms, which you only realize after you try returning to work.

If you disagree with the decision that you are fit to return to work, you can potentially request a second opinion. Seeing another physician who determines that your symptoms would prevent you from safely performing your job could help you if you disagree with the doctor currently overseeing your treatment.

Workers’ compensation disputes can quickly become complicated

When you disagree with your employer or the medical professional providing your care about whether it’s time to return to work or what benefits and treatment you require, it can be a challenge to resolve the disagreement and get the benefits you need to fully recover from your medical condition.

Workers in Michigan facing a complicated workers’ compensation claim or who need alternative treatment may require support to navigate the workers’ compensation system and often require professional support to achieve an optimal outcome. Learning the basics about workers’ compensation benefits will help those hoping to receive benefits or currently receiving them in Michigan.