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Posted in Uncategorized on June 6, 2022
If you sustain an injury at work, you will likely be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your medical bills and a major portion of your lost wages. However, what happens if your employer starts to get antsy and tries to get you to come back to work? What if they demand that you come back to work?
Here, we want to discuss whether or not your boss or supervisor can force you to come back to work after sustaining an on-the-job injury.
If you sustain an on-the-job injury in Arizona, your employer does not have the authority to force you to return to work before a doctor releases you to do so. Any employer or supervisor who harasses or threatens an injured worker will likely find themselves in violation of Arizona’s workers’ compensation laws.
We completely understand that individuals may feel pressured to go back to work, even if an employer does not directly ask them to do so. Often, this is out of a sense of duty or guilt, particularly if an individual likes their coworkers, company, or supervisors. This is especially true for individuals who work for a smaller company that may be left in a crunch after a person sustains an injury. However, no individual should return to work before they are cleared by their doctor.
If an individual returns to work before their doctor says they have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), this will likely jeopardize their ability to recover further compensation through the workers’ comp system. MMI is the point where any further medical treatment is unlikely to improve a person’s condition. Sometimes, this means an individual has fully recovered, but this could mean that a person has sustained some sort of disability, and they are unlikely to reach a full recovery. Either way, a doctor may determine that further medical care will not change the situation.
If an individual goes back to work before they have reached this point, this will be taken as a sign by the insurance carrier that a person has not sustained as severe of an injury as originally thought. Any further medical treatment for the workplace injury will not be paid for by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Additionally, if a person was receiving supplemental income through the workers’ compensation system because they could not work due to their injury, they will also stop receiving these benefits.
If you or somebody you love has sustained a workplace injury, you should be entitled to full workers’ compensation benefits in Arizona. However, we understand that there is often pressure to return to work from the company or a supervisor.
We encourage you to reach out to a skilled Phoenix work injury lawyer as soon as possible. You should not be pressured to come back to work before your doctor releases you, and your employer knows this. It could be in violation of the law to try to force you to come back to work before your doctor says you have reached MMI. In order to ensure that you receive all compensation you are entitled to, let your attorney investigate the claim and handle all communication with the insurance carrier and your employer.