If your doctor releases you to full duty work with no restrictions then you are no longer entitled to any workers’ compensation wage loss benefits as any wage loss you have is no longer related to your work injury. However, you are still entitled to medical treatment through workers’ compensation.
If your doctor releases you to work in some capacity but you cannot perform the duties of your pre-injury job, be sure to get the doctor to provide you with a written work note outlining any applicable physical restrictions (such as lifting, bending, walking, standing, etc) to take to your employer. You must then notify your employer as soon as possible that you have been released to restricted duty. Do not assume that they cannot accommodate restrictions, even if that is your employer’s policy. Remember you have the burden of proof. If your doctor releases you to full duty, you have an obligation to immediately notify your employer and return to work.
If you have any problems with working in your normal capacity, you should immediately tell your employer and contact your doctor for a return appointment to discuss the problem. If your employer is not able to accommodate your work restrictions, you are required to look for another job and document those efforts. This is true even if you expect to return to work for the employer, or if your employer still considers you as an employee. The point of the job search is to try to minimize the amount the workers’ compensation insurance carrier has to pay you and it is a requirement of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, not the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier. You may wish to consult an attorney who can make sure you are taking the appropriate steps to protect and secure benefits.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.