What if my doctor sends me back to work “full duty” but I am still hurting?

This post was updated August 2020 to include information about returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workplace accidents or illnesses happen to any employee, whether they work in an industrial setting or in an office. These accidents can take many different forms and can happen despite taking any necessary safety precautions. If the injury happened at work, you are entitled to compensation, regardless of fault.

return to work workers' compensation

Get Medical Help

If you’ve been injured on the job, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to evaluate the severity of your injury. Your own health should be your first priority, so always follow your doctor’s advice and stick to their prescribed treatment plan.

If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, do not return to work. Call your healthcare provider as soon as possible and follow their instructions on getting tested and treated.

Returning to Work After Recovering from COVID-19

According to the CDC, employees that have had COVID-19 should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers. This criterion includes:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset
  • At least 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms have improved.

Hire An Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act says that your employer is responsible for your medical expenses and two-thirds of lost wages for an injury received in the workplace, as well as compensation for permanent injury, death benefits payable to spouses or next of kin, or even a lump sum settlement.

A workers’ compensation attorney will be able to help you get the right settlement for your case. Contact our team today if you’ve been injured at work.

workers' compensation

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

If your doctor has sent you back to work with some restrictions, has not yet placed you at “maximum medical improvement” (MMI), and has approved your job description, then failing to return to work as instructed might lead to the termination of your wage replacement benefits.  

In this scenario, it is best to go to your job and try working, paying close attention to how you feel physically. If you try to do the work and find your body is not ready yet, make an appointment as soon as possible with your doctor. Explain to him or her the pain you are experiencing, and what activities cause this pain.

Your doctor will either tell you the pain is normal and a part of recovery, or will give you restrictions. If you feel your doctor is not listening to you or does not seem to have any sympathy, you are entitled to request a change of your doctor or a second opinion. This is a process that requires going through the Industrial Commission, and your experienced North Carolina worker’s compensation attorney can help you through this process.

If your doctor has placed you at MMI, released you from care, and assigned you permanent restrictions, you are entitled to what is called an “Independent Medical Examination” or “IME.”  

This is a full-day process that involves multiple physical tests to determine your exact restrictions, and thus what jobs you can and cannot do. 

Undergoing an IME can be strenuous and nerve-racking, but we can help. We understand the remedies available for injuries that happen on the job, so give us a call today at 704-512-0606 to schedule your free consultation.

return to work covid-19