If you have been injured or become ill due to a work-related accident, you may be temporarily unable to perform the necessary tasks of your job. If you have to miss work because of a work injury, you may file a workers’ compensation claim to obtain reimbursement for medical expenses, and at least a portion of lost wages.
Once you have begun to heal, your physician may clear you to return to work. In many cases, however, this return is accompanied by multiple restrictions, put in place to prevent you from further injury or illness. These restrictions may come in the form of job modification, transitional work, or alternative job duties.
Depending on the type and severity of your injury, rehabilitation may be required for weeks, months, or even years. Until you are fully healed, it may be impossible to perform your previous job duties at the same level. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot perform them at all, however. Your employer can modify certain tasks to lower the physical strain on your body, for example. Although certain functions of your job might change with modification, the position itself remains the same. A Boston workers’ comp attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured on the job.
If you are still unable to return to your job on a full-time basis, or at full capacity, you may be able to perform light-duty, transitional work until you are completely healed. If your employer has a position available that meets your physician’s restrictions, you may qualify for transitional work in a) your position, but with reduced hours, or b) a lower-stress position. As you heal, your hours can be increased and/or you can be returned to your regular job duties/position.
There are many positives to transitional work. Namely, it allows an injured employee to re-enter the workforce in a safe, healthy manner. However, it’s not uncommon for employers to bring injured employees back—through transitional work or job modification—too soon, in an attempt to reduce their workers’ comp exposure. The same is true of job modification scenarios. If you believe you were pressured to return to work before you were ready, and you have been injured as a result, a MA workers’ comp attorney can help you recover damages.
There are typically three parties involved with job modification and transitional work arrangements—the employee, the physician, and the employer. When all three parties are in agreement that the employee should return to work in a modified or transitional capacity, and all requirements are adhered to, these arrangements typically benefit everyone involved. There are instances, however, in which the employer believes that the employee is “milking” the situation, and that the physician is “going along with it.” In such cases, the employer may pressure the employee to return to work before he/she is ready. Continue reading