The Effect of Returning to Work After a Workman’s Comp Claim

When an employee returns to work after being injured, if the employee receives wages equal to or greater than he or she was earning prior to the injury, then it is likely workers’ compensation benefits will be stopped. If, however, the employee is still experiencing a wage loss due to his or her injury, he or she may continue to receive wage loss benefits, although the benefits will most likely be for a lesser amount.

Unlike the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which requires the employer to reinstate the employee to the same or similar position upon returning to work, workers’ compensation has no such broad requirements. Workers’ compensation, a type of insurance, is regulated by state laws, most of which do not require reinstatement after workers’ comp leave. However, many state laws require employers to offer rehabilitation and retraining services to workers injured on the job.

Most states provide different types of wage loss benefits. Two types of benefits that may be available are “temporary partial” and “temporary total” benefits. Temporary partial disability benefits are payable to an employee who has experienced a work injury and is temporarily disabled, but is still able to earn some wages despite a temporary disability. These benefits are generally payable based on a percentage difference between the employee’s pre- and post-injury earnings.

Temporary total disability benefits are generally payable to injured employees who are temporarily prohibited from working, in any capacity, as result of the work injury. These benefits are, in some jurisdictions, payable based upon a percentage of the pre-injury wages of the injured employee.

Temporary partial and temporary total benefits are by no means an exhaustive list of the types of benefits that employees may be entitled to, and they may not be available in every jurisdiction or may not be payable for the type of disability sustained. They are described here merely as an example of the type of wage benefits that are available and how a return to work may affect the ability to obtain those benefits.

Remember, if there is any change in an employee’s work status while he or she is receiving workers’ compensation benefits, the employer or the insurer should be notified immediately, as well as the employee’s attorney. Failure to do so may have adverse effects on the employee’s right to receive benefits.

If you have been injured at work and would like information about possible remedies, please do not hesitate to contact the Northland Injury Law firm for a free consultation at 816-400-4878. An attorney experienced in the field of worker’s compensation law will be ready to advise you of your options and counsel you through this difficult time.

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