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Can my employer make me return to work if I am still in pain?

Not all injuries are as obvious to the outside world as broken bones and stitches. Injuries can still linger even if they do not look painful on the outside. While an injured employee is at home recovering they can receive workers' compensation benefits. While in recovery employees often feel pressured by their employer to get back to work as soon as possible. Sometimes the pain can be too much or even dangerous to endure. Here's what injured people should know about returning to work after an accident.

You do not have to return to work without a doctor's consent

If your doctor does not think that it is in your best interest to return to work then you are not required to go back. Many people try to fight an injury and only make it worse. Your doctor will let you know when they think that you are healed. If your employer is still pressuring you then give them a doctor's note stating that you are unfit to return to work.

You might have to return to work if your employer provides modifications

If you are injured and unable to do your regular job then your employer might offer some job restrictions or modifications so that you can still work. One example is if you normally stand for your job then they could offer you to sit during your workday instead.

If your doctor gives the blessing that you can do the job then you would need to return to work. Fortunately many employers can modify a position for you in order to make you comfortable. Employers can also provide vocational rehabilitation.

Vocational rehabilitation includes special training to get you back to work. This training is typically free for you and paid by your employer's workers' compensation insurance. If your old position will no longer work then vocational training services can even find you a new position at another company that better fits your work requirements. Here are some possible examples:

  • Onsite training
  • Skills analysis and testing
  • Assistance with job searching
  • Resume and application help
  • Interview practice
  • Wage assessment evaluation and more

You do not have to return to work if you have a permanent disability

If you cannot fully recover from an injury then you might consider looking into permanent disability benefits. In order to qualify for permanent disability in Colorado you must not be eligible to work at your current job or any other position for over a year. Permanent total disability benefits are paid to you by the government. You will earn 2/3 of the average weekly wage of your old paycheck.

If you are recovering from an injury at work then you should file a workers' compensation claim. Contact an attorney experienced in workers' compensation to get the best out of your claim.

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