There are two pressing financial factors that tend to affect those who have recently been hurt on the job in California. The first is the cost of medical care, which can be significant if an individual’s injury or medical condition is particularly severe. The second is the possibility of lost wages because someone cannot do their job as normal due to their medical condition.
The California workers’ compensation program helps to reduce that financial stress on employees by providing them with benefits. Workers can typically receive full medical coverage for necessary treatment and disability benefits until they can return to work. However, many injured workers find themselves disagreeing with their employers about whether they are ready to go back to work or not. How much treatment should someone receive before they have to return to work?
Their condition should be better or manageable
For someone to return to work after receiving treatment for a work-acquired medical condition, they generally need to have responded to treatment well. If a medical professional believes that a worker no longer has symptoms that limit their professional functions or that the worker has achieved maximum medical improvement for their condition, they will submit paperwork to the state.
Therefore, there is no set amount of treatment or a specific amount of time after which a worker must return to work. Instead, it is the doctor’s interpretation of their medical condition that ultimately decides whether they are ready to go back to work or not. Sometimes medical professionals overlook or downplay the significance of certain symptoms, like lingering pain for the worker.
When a worker does not agree with the assertion that they are ready to go back to work, they can potentially ask for a second opinion that will involve an in-depth evaluation of their symptoms and functional abilities with a qualified medical evaluator (QME). If a worker can return to their job with certain accommodations, they will generally need to do so.
In cases where an employer will not accommodate an injured worker or where a return to work begins worsening their condition again, the case may require additional review. Understanding the rules that determine when a worker must go back to their job after an injury can help them more effectively navigate the workers’ compensation system and focus on their medical recovery.