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I have a workers' compensation claim. Can they force me to come back to work?

It's your body, and you are the only one who knows what it feels like.  Just because your employer, or even a doctor, says that you are ready to return to work, doesn't always mean that you are.  Sometimes, doctors can get it wrong just like the rest of us.

 

When you have been injured on the job and your doctor says you are not able to work, your employer cannot force you.  They have to follow whatever instructions and restrictions the doctor has given you.  However, this goes both ways.  If the doctor says you can go back to work and has given you a full-duty release, your employer can then tell you that you must report back to work.  If you don't, they can claim that you have refused their offer of suitable employment and try to stop paying your benefits.  For injured workers, the threat of losing their weekly compensation check AND their job can be enough to bully them back onto the job - but only if they don't know their rights.

 

But what if you really still can't work, despite what the doctor said?  What if your pain or other symptoms prevent you from doing your job safely or effectively?  It is not unusual for a doctor to miss something, or get a diagnosis wrong.  Some doctors don't believe in certain treatments, when other doctors use them all the time with good results.  Remember, the doctor providing your care in a workers' compensation case is the doctor hired and paid by your employer's workers compensation insurance company.  Not surprisingly, many of these doctors tend to find that injured workers are ready to return to work when in fact they are not.  They also might opt for treatment methods that are less expensive instead of ones which might be more effective in order to keep costs down for the insurance company.  Sometimes, medical providers just do not spend as much time and effort on workers compensation patients as they do on their "regular" patients.

 

Just because the doctor has released you doesn't mean you don't have any options.  The law allows an injured worker to request a second opinion, and in most cases the insurance company must provide one if it is requested.  An experienced workers compensation attorney can help you obtain a second opinion from another doctor, get the treatment you need, and make sure that you are not being forced back to work before you are fully healed.

 

If you are being told you have to return to work or risk losing your benefits, don't give up - give us a call.  We will go over your claim with you, and give you our opinion on what you should do.  If you decide to hire Miller Law Firm, you can be confident that someone is fighting for your legal rights so you can focus on getting healthy.  You won't have to worry about paying any legal fees until your case is over, and you won't pay any fees at all unless you receive your benefits.  Contact Miller Law Firm's Raleigh office at 919-348-4361 to schedule your consultation with one of our attorneys at no cost.  

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