No matter the situation, returning to work after an injury is one of the primary goals of recovery. However, you do not want to rush back prematurely; in doing so, you could compromise the healing process and further complicate your situation.
The key is to find balance and listen to what your body is telling you.
Returning to work after an injury can be challenging on multiple levels. From a health perspective, you have to wait for your body to recover. And when you finally do recover, you may face new restrictions.
Look at things from a legal point of view; there may be an ongoing case or lawsuit connected to your injury. If this case involves your employer, this adds some additional friction to the mix.
Finally, there is the financial component. Depending on how long you have been out of work and what your medical bills look like, you may need to get back to work as soon as possible.
With so many variables involved, here are a few tips to help you make the most of the opportunity you have to return to work.
1. Listen to Your Doctor
When it comes to our medical issues, we always think we know best. Even if we have zero medical experience, it is as if we are experts on our conditions.
However, the reality is that your doctor knows best. Listen to your medical team and follow their directions
for a fast and full recovery.
2. Stay in Touch with Your Employer
While you are protected by law and allowed to take a leave of absence as you recover from your injury, it is not wise to leave your employer in the dark.
Check in occasionally and keep tabs on what is happening at work; this will strengthen your relationship with your employer and make the transition back to work easier.
3. Look Beyond Workers' Comp
"The benefits you can receive from workers comp are limited. Generally speaking, they will only cover a portion of your weekly income," Haffner Law explains
. "The amount of time for which you will be able to collect is also limited, despite the severity of your injuries. In addition, workers comp will cover the medical expenses incurred from your injuries but will not account for non-economic damages like pain and suffering."
You may have to look beyond workers' comp if you expect to pay all of your medical bills without going into massive debt. Speak with your attorney about your options.
4. Ask for Accommodations
Companies with 15 or more employees are legally obligated to accommodate injured employees
to a reasonable extent. So, once you are able to return to work, do not be afraid to ask for a little assistance in certain areas.
Assistance could look like working different hours to account for physical therapy sessions; gaining access to special equipment that lets you do your job; and receiving assistance with important, job-related tasks.
Listen to Your Body
One of the reasons returning to work is stressful is that you control so few of the variables. While you may not be able to do much about legal issues, financial challenges, and complicated medical problems, you do have the ability to listen to your body and respond accordingly.
Push yourself toward recovery without overdoing it. You will eventually return to a place where life and work feel normal again.
Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.
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