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When can I work again after falling in the workplace?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2020 | Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injuries

Falling from even a short distance on the job can put workers at risk of suffering a serious injury. And according to the National Safety Council, falls in the workplace are one of the top accidents that keep individuals out of work while they recover.

Work injuries like this are unexpected and can lead to a considerable amount of stress and many questions. It takes time to heal, but many Maryland workers might wonder: when can I go back to work?

How long will it take to heal from fall injuries?

The time it takes to heal after a serious fall depends on multiple variables.  Most importantly there is no one-size-fits-all understanding in medicine as to a healing period, as each individual heals at their own speed. However, a general understanding of healing time is best determined by the type of specific injury a worker experiences.

  • Soft tissue injuries that do not include broken bones or torn ligaments could take between one and four weeks to heal
  • A broken hip bone could take between six months and one year to heal
  • Broken or bruised ribs could take three to six weeks for recovery

Spinal or back injuries, in particular, can be more volatile – and life-changing. However, if they are not serious, these injuries can take roughly six months to regain full mobility.

Concussions are also especially common injuries that result from a fall. It could take roughly two weeks to heal, but recovery is also dependent on rest and the individual’s circumstances.

All of these injuries addressed here are some of the most common after a fall. Depending on the number of injuries a worker suffers in the event of a fall, a full recovery could take several weeks, if not months. However, all injuries should still be evaluated on a case by case basis, and speaking with a physician is the best source to discuss recovery time.

So, when can workers return to work?

The answer to that question is not so simple. A return to work depends on the limitations of the injured worker as well as the nature of the employment a worker is returning to. Desk jobs and clerical work are less physically demanding, so workers may be able to return to work in a shorter time period. Conversely, a worker may have to remain out of work for a longer period, even if the injury is less severe, if the worker has a very physically demanding job, such as construction.

If recommended by a physician, some workers may be provided light duty restrictions while still under medical care. Should an employer be able to provide accommodations, an injured worker could return to work while also receiving ongoing medical treatment. In other circumstances either a medical provider or employer may require an injured worker to reach a full recovery before they return to work.

Regardless, the many variables in these cases can make the timeline of recovery uncertain. This is why it is critical for injured workers to seek counsel when injured on the job. Worker’s Compensation benefits and laws were established to protect the injured worker. Returning to work too soon may result in further injury. Obtaining appropriate coverage and understanding a worker’s rights are essential to help cover medical bills for treating these injuries and financially supporting the family while workers recover from the accident.

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