Given a deadline to return to work, now what?

This is one of the most frequent questions I get from my clients, because it is a frequent tactic used by insurance companies to either: 1) cut off your benefit checks in accepted cases, or 2) show that you are capable of working in denied cases. If you don’t already have an attorney, and you have been given a request or demand that you return to work, now is probably a good time to seek counsel. The decision whether or not to go back to work can have a huge impact on the course of your workers’ compensation claim.

If you have an accepted case and are being paid weekly indemnity checks (typically 2/3 of your Average Weekly Wage), then there are only two ways that an insurance company can stop payment of these checks. The Industrial Commission can order that payments are stopped by granting a “Form 24” application, or you can return to work. Some of the things you need to consider before making this decision include:

  • Is the position offered “suitable“? You will need an attorney to help you determine this.
  • Do you want to do the job they are offering you?
  • Can you medically do the job they are offering you?
  • Do you want to return to work for this employer?
  • Can you afford to keep living off of your weekly indemnity checks?
  • Do you anticipate that the employer is offering you this job merely so they can fire you after you return?
  • Do you have personal knowledge of how your employer has treated other workers in similar situations?

In a denied case, you will not be receiving any type of indemnity checks from the insurance company. You may or may not have accepted a position with another employer that falls within your medical restrictions. You will be feeling a lot of pressure to accept the position offered. Again, tread lightly here and seek the advice of an attorney.

As mentioned before, the decision you make here will have a huge impact on your case. If you have received a request to return to work, I suggest you contact a workers’ compensation attorney to help you decide what to do.