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Nassau County Workplace Accidents

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Suffering an injury in a workplace accident often requires the injured worker to take a significant amount of time off work to recover. But “recovery” is not as straightforward of a concept as it seems. The longer a worker is away from their job, the harder it is to return. It is also not always clear when a worker has recovered enough to be able to perform at least some of their former job duties. Complicating the issue even further is that returning to work prematurely can compromise workers’ compensation benefits, which are a lifeline for many injured workers. If you’re thinking about returning to work, you should consider speaking with a Nassau County workplace accident attorney before making a decision. 

When to Return to Work 

Whether and when you should return to work depends a great deal upon the circumstances of your case, your workers’ compensation insurance, and your employer’s return-to-work policies. However, your medical team should be able to give you a pretty good idea of when you can return to work and which kinds of tasks you are safely able to perform. Doctors who specialize in workers’ compensation cases are particularly adept at crafting step-by-step return-to-work plans tailored to their patients’ specific circumstances. 

Is There a Point That You Have to Return to Work? 

In some cases, you may have no choice but to return to work — or at least to show that you are making a good-faith effort to secure employment. When an injured worker has a temporary partial disability (i.e., has lost some ability to work and earn full wages on a temporary basis), the Workers’ Compensation Board may require them to look for work that they can perform within their medical restrictions. This is known as “labor market attachment.” 

The purpose of this policy is to prevent injured workers from relying solely on workers’ compensation benefits when they have some capacity to work. If the Workers’ Compensation Board finds that a worker is insufficiently “attached” to the labor market, it may halt the payment of lost wage benefits until the worker shows attachment. There are several ways a worker who is required to show attachment can do so, including: 

  • Engaging in an independent job search that is timely, diligent, and persistent
  • Participating actively in a job-placement service
  • Participating actively in vocational rehabilitation through a Board-approved program
  • Participating actively in a job retraining program 
  • Attending an accredited educational institution full-time to pursue employment 

If you believe you are not required to show labor market attachment or are looking for help demonstrating labor market attachment, please contact a Nassau County workplace accident attorney

How Returning to Work Could Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits 

Most injured workers are eager (and also a bit nervous) to return to work after a workplace accident. But doing so comes with risks — including the risk of further injury, the risk of setting back the recovery process, and the risk of losing valuable workers’ compensation benefits. The impact of returning to work varies by the benefit at issue. Returning to work generally has no impact on an injured worker’s medical benefits, which continue to be paid indefinitely so long as they are medically necessary. However, returning to work has more significant impacts on lost wage benefits. If the worker returns to work and earns as much as they did before the injury, their lost wage benefits will cease. If they return to work and make less than they did before the injury (e.g., by taking a different job, working part-time, or performing different duties), they may still qualify for reduced earnings benefits. If the worker returns to work but is occasionally absent due to the work-related injury (e.g., by attending medically necessary doctors’ appointments), the worker may also be entitled to intermittent lost time benefits. 

Things to Keep in Mind When Returning to Work

The best way to make an informed decision about when to return to work is by knowing the risks and rewards. Below are some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when deciding whether to return to work. To talk through them and discuss how they might apply in your case, please contact a Nassau County workplace accident attorney

Your Employer Is Not Required to Hold Your Job for You

New York workers’ compensation law does not require employers to keep injured workers’ positions open while they are out recovering. However, employers may be required to do so if the employee is taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. 

You Are Entitled to Reasonable Accommodations 

Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), employers with 15 or more employees are legally required to provide reasonable accommodations that help disabled employees do their jobs. Generally, a reasonable accommodation is any modification to a job or the work environment that permits a disabled employee to perform the essential functions of their job. In the workers’ compensation context, a “reasonable accommodation” could include a prohibition on being required to perform job duties that are contrary to the injured workers’ medical condition. 

Discrimination Against Disabled Workers Is Illegal 

Employees with disabilities are covered under federal civil rights law, which prohibits discrimination and harassment against protected groups. While petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents generally are not actionable under civil rights law, conduct that creates a hostile work environment for disabled employees is prohibited. 

Speak to a Nassau County Workplace Accident Attorney About Whether Returning to Work Is Right for You

Returning to work after suffering a workplace accident is a fraught decision and one that requires weighing multiple risks and rewards. The best way to determine whether returning to work is right for you — including the impact it will have on your workers’ compensation benefits — is to speak to an experienced attorney. For more information, please contact an experienced workplace accident lawyer at Turley Redmond & Rosasco by using our online form or calling 516-745-5666.

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