Returning to Work After an Injury
In Montana workers' compensation claims, normally your doctor will complete a "Medical Status Form" after appointments. This form outlines the injured workers' physical restrictions (i.e. no lifting over 20 pounds, no kneeling, no climbing stairs, etc.). Injured workers should provide relevant medical information to their employer, so the employer can determine whether the worker can perform their time of injury job, or if the workers' physical restrictions can be accommodated in a modified position.
If your doctor releases you to return to your time of injury position, or your employer offers you a modified position that is within your restrictions, you are required to attempt to return to work. If you do not, your employer may terminate your employment, and the workers' compensation insurer will likely terminate your wage-loss benefits. Additionally, you must complete all assigned tasks that fall within your physical restrictions. However, you are not required to complete tasks that exceed your restrictions. These medical restrictions are there to protect you from re-injuring yourself, but it is up to you to abide by the restrictions. Therefore, make sure that you provide your employer with updated work status forms, and notify your employer in writing if they are asking you to exceed your restrictions.
Lastly, when returning to work after an injury, be a model employee: always be on time, never leave work early, provide as much advance notice to your employer as possible for medical appointments, be polite, and do not give your employer a reason to terminate you. Further, do not quit your job. If you quit or are terminated for reasons other than your injury, you may lose significant benefits. If you are unable to do your job because of your injury, you should immediately inform your doctor.
Unfortunately, at Murphy Law Firm, we see individuals who return to work, do everything they can given their injury, and are nonetheless terminated by their employer or lose their workers' compensation benefits.This type of termination can be discriminatory, and may violate Montana Law. Further, these workers are often eligible for significant additional workers' compensation benefits. If you or your loved one was terminated after getting injured on the job, call (406) 452-2345, or visit Murphy Law Firm today for a free consulation.