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Returning to work after a work injury

When an employee is injured on-the-job, it is often in his or her best interest to take the necessary steps to recover and eventually return to work. For some, this could mean a lengthy recovery process that requires medical treatment and rehabilitation. In matters of permanent or temporary disabilities, workers may have to take an extended leave of absence from work. In order to offset the financial hardships the recovery could cost, workers' compensation is often filed for. However, these benefits could end when the injured worker is able to work again.

Returning to work after a work injury could have some effects, causing workers' compensation benefits to cease. While it is rational to understand that these benefits will not last forever, some employees may be concerned about these benefits being stopped too soon. In order to determine whether this will occur, injured workers should consider factors regarding the injury suffered, treatment plans and current capabilities in and out of the workplace.

If an employee returns to work after an injury and he or she is still experiencing wage loss due to injury, then the employee could still receive wage loss benefits. These benefits will most likely be a lesser amount than the amount he or she was receiving prior to returning to work.

Wage loss benefits provide benefits to workers that suffered temporary or permanent disabilities following a work accident. This could prevent the individual from being able to carry out the same tasks when they return to work, thus causing a change in work assignment. This situation could also reduce the amount of hours the employee is able to work each day or week, causing them to make less than what they were making prior to the work accident. Wage loss benefits seek to fill that gap.

Injured workers who are currently receiving workers' compensation benefits should understand how these benefits could change when they are able to return to work. This could help the employee assess whether he or she is receiving enough compensation from this benefit. Moreover, it could establish whether it was properly stopped. No matter the situation, injured employees should seek guidance about their rights in the matter.

Source: Injury.findlaw.com, "Workers' Comp Benefits and Returning to Work," accessed July 20, 2015

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