If you have suffered a back injury and intend to return to work, it is important to understand your rights and what an employer can do to help you transition back into the workplace. Although earning a living is critical, so is ensuring that recovery from a back injury is considered when returning to work.
Returning to Work
As someone fortunate enough to have the capacity to return to work, you should follow several steps to make sure going back to work goes smoothly. The next step is figuring out how much of your normal work you can take on. Your doctor may have placed limitations on the amount and type of work you can do, which means translating that to the real world.
Once you get the all-clear from your doctor to return to work, notify your employer and the workers’ compensation provider, if applicable. While this is a necessary step for workers’ compensation, it is also useful to give your employer advanced notice so he or she can make any necessary adjustments to your workload. Employers can also make reasonable adjustments to the workplace, including making ergonomic changes recommended by an occupational therapist.
You may be entitled to workers’ compensation for an extended period when you transition back to the workplace. A back injury typically requires ongoing rehabilitation or other therapies and treatments even though you have returned to work. As treatment is a medical cost, worker’s compensation benefits may cover the expense.
Restrictions & Limitations
With a back injury, your doctor may put restrictions on what you can do at work. There are a few limitations that you may face, including:
- Reduced hours
- Physical restrictions and no heavy lifting
- No activities which could cause repetitive strain
- Recommendation to get up and walk around each hour
- Supply of ergonomic equipment: Ergonomic keyboard, back support, headrest, etc
- Light work limitation
These limitations are geared towards helping to ensure that recovery continues in the workplace. Limitations are not necessarily permanent, and the treating doctor may adapt limitations and restrictions to allow you to take on more work or work for longer hours.
You may, for all intents and purposes, make a full recovery from your back injury. However, going back to your former role in full capacity may not be an option. If this is the case it may result in reduced wages due to taking a lower-paying position. Workers’ compensation may be an option if your back injury forces you to accept reduced wages when you return to work. The benefit can pay up to $380 a week for 350 weeks if the injury occurred after July 1, 2016.
Fry | Goehring can help you deal with certain issues you encounter when returning to work due to a back injury. Call today if you are facing problems with workers’ compensation or unfair treatment from an employer in Georgia.