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Returning to work after a work-related accident


Many workplace injuries force employees to take time off work to recuperate. At some point, the victims recover and return to work. While the act of returning to work may sound easy, there is a process involved and people who need to be informed. In addition, some people may be concerned about returning to work before they are physically ready and are afraid of losing their benefits should they experience flare-ups. Here are some things employees should know before returning to their job after a work-related accident.

Many victims may find it easier to receive workers' compensation payments rather than return to work. However, if a physician has released the injured employee to return to work, then the employee must do so or risk losing his or her job. A return to work means more pay and possibly raises and promotions as well.

The majority of employees lose their workers' compensation benefits when they return to work. However, if the employee is returning to work on a part-time basis or must take a lower-paying job due to disability, then he or she may still receive some benefits. In some cases, the injury has not fully healed when the employee returns to work. However, he or she can still receive medical treatment for the injury and even lost wages should the injury keep the victim from work at times.

An employer has no obligation to keep the job available for the injured employee; however, some must offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave for injured employees. If the employee ends up losing his or her job, unemployment insurance then becomes an option.

Communication is also key. By keeping in touch with their employers and informing the insurance carrier and Workers Compensation Board of their medical status, injured employees have a better chance of success upon their return to work.

Source: New York State Workers' Compensation Board, "Answers to Your Questions About Returning to Work," accessed Nov. 1, 2014

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