Recovering from a workplace injury can be frustrating and difficult. There can be medications to take, activities to avoid and countless doctor visits to schedule. Once you get through all this and are well enough to return to work, the hardest part could thankfully be behind you.
However, there could still be challenges you may need to overcome. Preparing for these can help you make this transition a little easier.
Returning to work might be something you want to do, but often, it is something people need to do for financial reasons. In fact, according to one report, half of the people who return to work after a traumatic injury have medical debt.
Even if you are collecting workers’ compensation, which covers work-related medical costs, there is still financial motivation to go back to work. These benefits generally cover about two-thirds of a person’s average weekly wage, which may not be enough to cover bills, mortgages and other regular expenses.
Adjusting to disabilities, limitations
A severe accident can leave you with chronic pain, limited mobility and other conditions that require some adjustments in your workplace.
In some cases, your doctor may say that you can return to work with restrictions. For instance, you may only be able to perform light-duty, or you may not be able to do things like lift, kneel or stand for extended periods. When you return to work, make sure you give a list of these restrictions to your employer.
If they do not follow the doctor’s orders or pressure you to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing, you can consult an attorney.
Doubts and concerns
You may not feel ready to go back to work. You might be worried that you cannot perform the way you used to, and you may not even want to work. These feelings are normal, but they can cause tremendous stress.
To protect yourself, be sure you communicate with your doctor and your employer. Be clear with your restrictions and document any exchanges you have regarding your condition and work performance. You may also consult an attorney if you feel your return to work – and termination of workers’ compensation benefits – is premature.
Going back to work after a severe accident can be challenging. However, you can better position yourself by knowing what to expect and what resources can help you through this experience.