After suffering a workplace injury, illness or condition in Stockton and throughout California, the workers' compensation benefits process can be both intimidating and confusing. There are various aspects that should be understood from the start. One is how restrictions factor in. Workers who can get back to work for their employer after the injury should be aware that there are certain requirements based on whether they are deemed able to work with or without restrictions.
For workers who can work with restrictions, this means the primary treating physician states that the person can continue to work or remain at work with certain limitations. The work the employer gives must fit into those restrictions. Examples of how the worker can be accommodated include changing tasks, giving the worker extra time to complete the tasks or giving the worker equipment that will assist in completing the tasks. If work that fits into the worker's abilities is not available, the worker is not required to work and will not lose workers' compensation eligibility.
When the worker is deemed able to work without restrictions, the physician will say that the worker can remain at work or get back to work without limitations. The employer is usually required to give the worker the job he or she had before the injury at the same pay. The worker might be required to take the job to maintain employment. This can happen at any juncture in the process after the injury.
In some instances, the employer might violate the work restrictions. The employer must be given the physician's report as to what the worker can and cannot do. If the work assignment violates the restrictions, the worker does not need to do it. The worker must explain to the employer how the work violates the restrictions. It is wise to do this in writing. If the employer threatens the employee's job for not taking the work, this could violate the law. When there is no work available that fits into the work restrictions, worker should receive total disability benefits.
A workplace accident in which a worker is injured can be one of the most contentious challenges the worker will face. Oftentimes, employers are reluctant to allow a worker the time he or she needs to recover and do not want to follow the rules. For those who are dealing with these issues, having legal help to get the workers' compensation benefits they are entitled to may help.