One of the worst things about the workers compensation process is that you’re not working with you’re own doctor. You’re working with a doctor chosen by your employer and affiliated with your employer. That means that your doctor may not be working in your best interests.
That doctor might well tell you that you’re fine to return to work even while you’re still suffering from extreme pain or disabilities. They might ignore every concern you raise about returning to work.
And if you don’t go back when the doctor orders you to go back, you could lose your workers compensation benefits. Many people return to work before they’ve reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), so it’s not even unusual.
Some particularly unscrupulous doctors may even reduce the amount of restrictions you should really be laboring under for your health so that you are returned to full duty, or so that your “light duty” isn’t really very light at all. This can mean an inability to return to full health. You can exacerbate your injuries, or even take on additional injuries.This is in addition to many of the dirty tricks that employers play around light duty, such as making work particularly onerous in the hopes that they can encourage you to quit.
To make matters worse, the on-staff medical case managers at the insurance company will often raise questions about your ability to work or your need for certain treatments.
Fortunately, you do have the right to get a second opinion, though you usually have to pay the doctor who provides the second opinion yourself. By the time this happens, it might also be wise to secure a workers compensation attorney. You may need help negotiating your case.
Sometimes the employee tries to push the doctor into letting them return to work before they’re ready. Don’t do this! It will backfire if you become incapacitated as a result of this decision.
If you’re starting to feel like your employers and doctors are acting against your best interests, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. Employers hold the power. Obtaining a lawyer can help to equalize the situation and can help you prevent abuses.