Returning to work after workers' comp can be daunting, especially if you are not sure you have healed enough to return to your job duties. In Pennsylvania, as part of the workers’ compensation process, and as part of your employer’s own workers' comp return to work policy, you may be asked to go to an IME (Independent Medical Examination).
If an IME or treating doctor decides you can return to your job or to some light-duty work, you will be sent a Notice of Ability to Return to Work. This notice should appear before you get any job offer from your employer and before you return to work. The Notice of Ability to Return to Work is filed any time your medical condition is considered changed enough to warrant a return to work.
After you receive a Notice of Ability to Return to Work, your employer may file a Petition to Terminate, Modify or Suspend Benefits. You may be offered a light job at your place of work. Before your workers’ compensation benefits are suspended or cut off, and before you return to work after a workers' comp injury, a judge will generally examine the case.
When you’re returning to work after a workers’ comp claim, and you’re still healing, a doctor may recommend light-duty work. If your job usually requires standing or carrying heavy objects, you may be told to work at a desk. Before accepting this job, make sure your doctor approves the activities you will need to take on as part of the job. If your light-duty work pays less than your regular job, you may still qualify for partial benefits.
When to Call an Attorney
As soon as you are asked to go to an IME or you see your employer or their insurer considering evaluating your ability to return to work, you will want to consult with My Comp Lawyers. Returning to work too early can cause suspension of your workers’ compensation benefits and can put you at risk of re-injury or other complications. Contact My Comp Lawyers to find out how to protect your benefits.