Workers' Compensation: What if the trial of work doesn't work out?

Question: What should I do if I tried to go back to work before treatment was finished and I can’t physically handle the job?

Answer: Let’s take a case where the worker has suffered two different types of injuries from a single incident.

And know this, it is complicated. Which is why you probably need a lawyer.

Here would be my advice if for instance the incident caused both a physical and a serious emotional injury. [Emotional in the sense of it being a psychological injury.]

You suffered two types of injuries. A physical injury and a psychological one. Which means you should have had two types of doctors treating your condition. The first would be a medical doctor treating your physical injuries and the second treating you for psychological/psychiatric problems.

Work injuries such as yours require both doctors to release you to return to work. One is not enough. So let's start here with a few questions:

  1. Did any doctor release you to return to work?
  2. If so when?
  3. At that time were you still in counseling or under the direction of a psychiatrist?

The second part of this blog has to do with the healing period, which it does not appear to me that you have finished. The healing period is that period when doctors are still treating you and expect significant improvement. I would venture to say your counselor expects substantial improvement to continue. And so you're not likely out of the healing period and should be getting a workers' compensation weekly benefit check.

Healing periods can start, then stop and then restart. There is no limit on how many you can have. Sometimes a doctor wants to see how well you'll do back at work, and releases you to a trial of work. But if it doesn't work out, then the doctor can take you off of work again. You just need the doctor to write it out as a work excuse.

Which leads me to that counselor and psychiatrist. You need to ask them about taking you back off of work. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be engaged in the process, but don’t just waste their time.

Your lawyer will need to know who is currently treating you, what they are treating you for, what medications you are taking, how often you see your doctors, which of your doctors has released you to return to work, when they released you, under what conditions they released you, whether you were released for a trial of work or on a permanent basis and what your current problems are.

The list: 

  1. Your lawyer will need to know who is currently treating you,
  2. what they are treating you for,
  3. what medications you are taking,
  4. how often you see your doctors,
  5. which of your doctors has released you to return to work,
  6. when did they release you,
  7. under what conditions they released you,
  8. whether you were released for a trial of work or on a permanent basis and what your current problems are.

It is complicated.

Does this make sense? If you still have questions, and you don’t already have a lawyer, call us. Otherwise ask your lawyer.
Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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