What are my workers’ compensation rights during recovery?

Suffering an injury at work is always stressful, as it can lead to uncertainty about how quick the recovery will be. There are also emotional and financial impacts on you and your family. You may also doubt whether you will be given help and support by your employer while you are in the recovery process.

In the state of California, there is a great deal of support in place for injured workers. Many who get injured on the job still may be confused about their rights during their recoveries, as well as the process for returning back to work.

Staying at home or returning to work — how is it decided?

After your injury or illness, a medical professional will assess your health and make a determination on whether you need to stay at home to recover or return to work. You also could be assigned to work on certain low-impact tasks. This decision will also be made through communication with your employer.

What will my situation be while I am recovering?

While you are recovering, your physician will need to send a report to the workers' compensation administrator. If it's determined that you can work — even with limited duties or part-time — they will need to outline very specific limitations. This may mean that you are unable to partake in any physical activity at all, but can work at administrative tasks.

What if my employer is non-compliant?

As an injured worker in California, you have legal protections against discrimination from your employer. Therefore, your employer cannot give you any work that goes beyond the restrictions put in place by your physician. Employers can also not pressure or punish you for not returning to work if your doctor determines that you are not ready.

If you have been injured at work in California, it is important to equip yourself with knowledge of your rights. There are many ways that your employer can violate your rights, making it important that you are aware when it happens.

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