What Happens After Your Work Injury Treatment is Done? – The doctor says my work injury treatment is done, now what? We’ll discuss what happens to injured workers in Colorado when their company doctor discharges them from medical care and how a great workers’ compensation attorney can make all the difference.
What is maintenance care and why is it so important?
We have already covered Maximum Medical Improvement in a previous article but to quickly sum up::
- MMI means that your treating doctor feels like they have done everything they can to get you back to full health.
- Sometimes when a worker is at MMI they still need maintenance care. It’s not treatment to make your condition better, but treatment to maintain your condition.
- If your doctor recommends maintenance care then it’s important to make sure that you do it. Whether it’s taking medication, physical therapy, or exercise, if it’s what your doctor prescribes then don’t hesitate to do it.
- If you fail to pursue instructed treatment in a timely manner, the insurance company will conclude that you no longer need it and therefore cease to provide it.
What happens if I can still work normally?
Now, many times when workers are placed at MMI by the treating doctor there is a question about your working capability. If you’re able to do your job and work regularly when you’re placed at maximum medical improvement, keep working. If you want to change jobs, that may be an option, but you should talk with an attorney before you do.
What if I need reasonable accommodations?
What happens if you’re working but you’re being accommodated? You’re not able to do the whole job or maybe you’re only doing a part of it or they just have you in a lesser position. You need to talk with your employer to see if there are any real positions that you can do, with or without reasonable accommodations. Suppose part of your job is to put books away but the bookcase is tall and you’ve got restrictions that won’t physically allow you to reach overhead because of a shoulder injury.
What’s considered a reasonable accommodation? It’s not making another employee do it or telling the employer they can’t put their books so high. A reasonable accommodation would be getting you a step-stool to use so you can put the book back without raising your arm above your shoulder. That would be considered a reasonable accommodation. Again, talk with your employer. See if there are any positions available that you are capable of doing with or without reasonable accommodations under the permanent restrictions the doctor gave you.
Work Injury Treatment is Done – What if I don’t agree with the doctor’s restrictions?
Maybe you don’t agree with permanent restrictions. The doctor says, “No, I don’t think you should lift more than 15 pounds” but you know you can lift at least 25 pounds and still do your regular job. You should talk with the doctor and ask “Can you send me a test to see how much I can safely lift? I think I can lift more than 15 pounds.” Then hopefully you can get your restrictions reduced and do your regular job if your capabilities allow you to do so.
If you still have restrictions and you can’t go back to your old job then you might want to look into what additional open jobs your employer has. If they don’t have any positions for you then you’re going to need to start looking for other employment.
Are there any benefits to help me if I’m still capable of work but I have restrictions?
Looking for new employment can be daunting, especially if you’re injured and no longer able to do the kinds of work that you used to. The bad news is workers’ compensation is poorly equipped to help compensate and keep people afloat for those periods. We can’t get our client’s wage loss after MMI if they’re capable of doing some other kind of employment, even if it’s a part-time, temporary, minimum wage, job. It’s a difficult situation and unfortunately injured workers don’t get the assistance they need.
The good news is that you won’t have to go through your situation alone. Once the final admission of liability comes in, we bring in our client, we have a face-to-face discussion with them. Together, we’ll decide what benefits we agree with, which ones we don’t and we come up with an action plan to fight for either more treatment, more impairment, more benefits, or all of the above, depending on the case.
When your Work Injury Treatment is done, we’ve got you covered
If you or someone you know is injured on the job it’s important that you have access to an attorney who will guide you, advise you and help you get the most benefits. Kaplan Morell has been helping injured workers since 1997. We offer free and confidential consultations and we would love to help you. Call 303-780-7329 or visit https://kaplanmorrell.com for more information.
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