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How Going Back to Work Too Soon Could Hurt Your New Jersey Personal Injury Claim

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on December 11, 2023  in Personal Injury News. Updated on January 10, 2024

back to work date on calendar

Many injured victims want to get back to work as soon as possible. They cannot afford to lose even one paycheck or miss work for just a few days.

These financial concerns may cause some injured victims to return to work too soon. Going back to work too quickly can cause their injuries to worsen and affect their ability to recover compensation from the liable party.

Lynch Law Firm’s experienced New Jersey personal injury attorneys discuss the problems with going back to work too quickly after an injury. We explain when a victim should consider returning to work and what to do if you disagree with your doctor’s assessment of your injuries.

No upfront fees or legal obligations. Call today: (800) 518-0508.

The Problems With Returning to Work Too Soon

There are two main problems with going back to work too soon after an injury:

  • You could make your injuries worse, thereby lengthening your recovery.
  • The insurance company could use your return to work as an excuse to reduce the value of your claim or even deny it altogether.

Making Your Injuries Worse

Doctors have good reasons for instructing you not to go back to work. Too much physical activity could cause you to aggravate your injuries. For example, too much movement could cause a stitch to pop out. Too much activity, such as heavy lifting, standing for long periods, or sitting in an office chair, could cause inflammation of a soft-tissue injury, such as a back injury.

Another factor you may not consider is that your injury may prevent you from using your arms or legs as you normally would. You may need to use other muscles to compensate. This puts unusual strain on other muscles, which could cause another injury.

Some people try to push through the pain or discomfort they feel, assuming they can simply get used to it. However, pain and discomfort could be signs your injury is getting worse.

While there are often many aspects of treatment, such as surgery or physical therapy, rest is also an important component. Your body needs time to heal before you can go back to your pre-injury routine.

Reducing the Value of Your Claim

Once you go back to work, the liable insurance company may say your injuries have healed. The way they see it, you would not be able to go back to work if you were still injured.

They are likely to see a quick return to work as proof that you are not as badly injured as you or your doctors stated. This could hurt the value of your claim. The insurance company may even deny your claim, saying you were never injured in the first place.

Disregarding the doctor’s orders can hurt your credibility, which is vital during an insurance claim or lawsuit.

Returning to work too quickly can hurt your claim in much the same way as stopping your medical treatment.

When Should Injured Victims Go Back to Work?

The general rule is you should go back to work when your doctors say you are physically able to do your job and not before. Doctors determine when patients can go back to work based on numerous factors, such as:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • Your response to treatment
  • Feedback you give doctors in follow-up appointments
  • How your injury is likely to affect your ability to do your job
  • The type of work you do
  • And more

What if Your Doctor Clears You To Return to Work, But You Are Not Ready?

There are times when doctors say patients are ready to go back to work, but the patient disagrees. You may even go back to work and find that the job is too physically demanding. Doing your job may cause severe physical exhaustion. Some tasks may be dangerous simply because you are too injured to perform them safely.

If you disagree with your doctor’s assessment, you should discuss your concerns with him or her. It is possible there are symptoms he or she does not know about, and reporting these symptoms could change the doctor’s opinion. If you return to work, but your symptoms worsen, tell your doctor immediately. He or she may decide that you need more time off or that you should work fewer hours to allow your injuries to heal.

You may also want to get a second opinion about when you should go back to work. Another doctor might reach a different conclusion.

If your doctor says you need to go back to work and you do not take reasonable steps, like seeking another opinion or talking to the doctor about it, the insurance company may call your credibility into question.

Can Your Employer Fire You For Not Going Back?

Your employer may be within its rights to terminate your employment if you do not return to work when the doctor clears you to return. Employers are typically not required to hold your job open until you are ready to go back to work.

This is why you need to be careful to report all your symptoms, including worsening symptoms, to your doctor throughout your recovery. This may help prevent a situation where your doctor clears you to go back to work, but you are not physically able to do so.

Contact Lynch Law Firm After a Personal Injury

Are you dealing with an injury caused by the negligence of another?

Our experienced lawyers have been helping injured victims in New Jersey for decades, securing millions in compensation on their behalf. We guide victims through the legal process, helping them navigate a difficult time in their lives.

Our attorneys operate on contingency, which means there are no upfront costs or obligations. We do not get paid unless our clients get paid.

Call us today to learn more: (800) 518-0508.

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