What happens if my job wants me to EXCEED my doctor’s restrictions?

Frequently, a Worker’s Compensation insurance company will hire a nurse case manager to get the treating doctor to release the employee back to work faster than the doctor might otherwise think prudent.

Doctors are under pressure from these nurses and the insurance companies that pay their bills. Insurance companies are very good at delaying bills, denying treatment, and otherwise interfering with reasonable and related medical care.

However, the Abrams Landau team has also seen another disturbing trend. That trend is when employers have injured workers do activities that exceed the restrictions that doctors placed to promote recovery from their injury.

An injury can have detrimental effects on the body especially if not taken care of during recovery. It is important to follow your doctor’s regulations, otherwise it can combat progress.

A simple example is when an employee has been released to lift no more than 10 pounds or overhead reaching and must take breaks every hour. If the employee’s boss asks them to lift more than 20 pounds, gets things on high shelves, and doesn’t allow breaks, this is recorded on videotape. The videotape evidence is presented to the doctor and tells them the patient is not. “compliant with medical treatment. ”

This is an avenue that insurance companies use to cut off benefits to otherwise deserving, innocent claimants. Other times, employers will ask (even demand) that an injured worker do more than the doctors release them to, or risk losing their job. This is shortsighted, because if the injured worker goes back off work, they may be entitled to a full compensation check, instead of a temporary partial disability (“TPD”) check, which is usually less money than a full TTD check.

Another reason that an employer sometimes pushes the injured worker is to get them to quit. If a worker quits a job, then they may not be eligible for any more weekly wage loss compensation. This is because the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission might look at them as though they have “voluntarily” removed themselves from the labor market.

“Voluntary” removal can lead to a cessation of the weekly checks under an Award. So, what can an injured worker do? They can follow their doctor’s instructions.

If a task that’s being asked of them exceeds restrictions or limitations, their first call should not be to their lawyer, but to the doctor (or at least the doctor’s office), so that there is a record of this issue.

The doctor may reiterate the restrictions, and then the employee has cover if they decline to do the task. Furthermore, the doctor may indicate that doing so would increase the injury, and lead to a reversal of the surgery or other treatment.

If you have a permanent injury and significant restrictions from your doctor, and you are unsure as to your legal rights, please contact us at (703) 796–9055 or email frontdesk@landaulawshop.com