Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
Claiming workers’ compensation and getting the treatment and coverage you need can be stressful. While receiving workers’ comp., you may be anxious to get back to work – or your doctor may tell you that you should return to work earlier than you might expect. In either case, going back to work after an injury can leave you more vulnerable for additional injuries. If you face another injury after returning to work from workers’ compensation, what should you do? Fayetteville AR workers’ compensation lawyer Ken Kieklak explains.
Should I File Another Workers’ Compensation Claim if I Face Another Injury at Work?
After coming back to work from an injury, you may be at a higher risk for additional injuries. If your injury is still not back to 100%, you could re-injure yourself because of weaknesses from the first injury. Additionally, taking time off work might let your skills dull, leading to injuries while you get back into the swing of things. In most cases, your second injury case will work like the first one did, and you will need to file another workers’ compensation claim.
Depending on the injuries and how they occurred, the case might be unrelated to your first case. If that happens, the new claim will need to start from scratch as a fresh workers’ comp. filing. You will go through many of the same processes, except this time you’ll have the experience of going through this once already. Even if you think you can handle the claim on your own, it might still be in your best interests to work with a lawyer.
If your workplace injury is related to the last injury, your case could be more complex. The second case may need to be filed as part of a new case, but if you merely aggravated your initial injury, you may be able to tack on the medical care to your existing claim. If the claim is still open and workers’ comp. is still paying for your medical care, it may not take a new claim to get additional medical care covered. However, if your claim is already closed or paid-off in a settlement, you might need to open a new claim to get the medical care covered.
In any case, you should speak with a lawyer about filing a second claim for reinjury. Employers and their insurance companies may be less willing to cover your injuries again, and they may work to deny your workers’ comp. claim or force you to quit rather than pay the claim as they should.
When Should I Return to Work after an Injury?
One of your biggest issues while you’re on workers’ comp. might be the question of when to go back to work. Many workers want to stop staying at home and get back to work. These workers may feel that their injury is not severe enough to keep them from earning their paycheck, and they may want to return to work sooner than they really should. On the flipside, many workers may hesitate to go back to work, even after their doctor tells them it’s time.
Returning to work before your injuries have healed greatly increases the risk of reinjuring yourself or aggravating the initial injury. Even if the injury is technically healed, you may need to reenter the workforce slowly to avoid additional harm. When you seek medical care for your workplace injuries, your doctor’s primary concern should be your health and well-being, not the bottom line for the insurance company. Your doctor should not send you back to work before you are ready.
It may be important to seek a second medical opinion in some cases. You may be able to have your primary care physician changed out for another physician on your employer’s approved physician list if you do not think your doctor has your best interests at heart. You may also be able to file a request to use a doctor of your choice if you think that your doctor is sending you back to work too soon.
If you think your doctor is waiting too long to send you to work, you should speak with a lawyer. Sometimes doctors work to protect themselves and the insurance companies that pay them, and they may be overly cautious about sending people back to work. If you are being unfairly kept from work, you may be able to settle your case or close out the claim and return to work on your own time. Your attorney can help you understand your options and how you can progress your case and return to work as soon as possible.
Fighting Workers’ Comp. Decisions
If your doctor and employer try to deny your claims or send you back to work before you are ready, talk to a lawyer. You may be able to appeal workers’ compensation decisions that affect your case, such as decisions about whether to continue paying workers’ comp. benefits or whether to cut you off and send you back to work. A Fayetteville workers’ compensation appeals lawyer like Ken Kieklak can help with your case.
Call Our Fayetteville Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Reinjury and Second Injury Cases
If you suffered a second on-the-job injury or reinjured yourself after returning to work from another workers’ compensation claim, talk to a lawyer immediately about how to file your second workers’ comp. claim or re-open your first claim. If you disagree with your doctor’s decision to send you back to work, talk to a lawyer about appealing their decision. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, may be able to file your claim or file for a workers’ compensation hearing to get your claim processed and get you benefits for a reinjury or second injury. For a free legal consultation on your case, call Fayetteville workers’ comp. lawyer Ken Kieklak today at 479-251-7767.
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