personal injury

Can Returning to Work Too Soon Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim?

When someone gets hurt in an auto accident or suffers another type of personal injury, it can get very expensive. Medical bills start to pile up, and missing work to recover from the injury makes things even tighter financially. If the injured person has a spouse and children and is the primary breadwinner in the household, missing an extended period of time from work can result in a financial hardship.

Facing this type of financial pressure, the desire to get back to work quickly (after suffering a personal injury) is certainly understandable. You might also be getting subtle pressure from your employer to come back, especially if they need you to make your department or the company run smoother.

Going back to work sooner than you should is not a good idea, however. In fact, you should never return to work unless and until you have clearance from your doctor. Here are a couple important reasons why that is the case:

Your Condition Could Worsen

You might feel like you are recovered enough to go back to your job, but if a doctor does not tell you it is okay to do so, there is probably a good reason for that. Your doctor knows that you need to proceed with caution, and that there might be a chance your injury will be reaggravated. If this were to happen, it could even make your condition worse than when you first got injured. This kind of setback would mean having to miss a lot more work in order to get healthy enough to return to the job.

Your Legal Claim Could be Weakened

If your injury happened because of someone else’s negligence, you should have a valid personal injury claim against the responsible party or their insurer. But if, during the midst of your claim, you decide to go back to work without being cleared by your doctor, the insurance company might use this to say that you are exaggerating the extent of your injuries and that they are not all that serious.

You might also have a problem with your claim if you re-aggravate your injuries like we talked about earlier. During an accident injury claim, an injured party has a legal obligation to mitigate their losses by getting prompt medical treatment, keeping doctor appointments, and following the advice of their doctor. If you return to the job against your doctor’s orders and your condition worsens, the insurance company might say that they are not responsible for the additional treatment you may need after getting re-injured at work.

What if the Doctor Clears Me, but I Do Not Feel Able to Go Back to Work?

Some injury victims have the opposite problem where a doctor tells them that they are fine to return to the job, but they do not feel like they are able to go back yet. In a case like this, it is best to start by speaking with your lawyer about the other options you may have. One option may be to go to another doctor and get a second opinion.

Explain your concerns and why you think it is too soon to go back to work and find out what his/her thoughts are on this. The other doctor might agree with you to hold off on work for a while, or at the very least, they might recommend various work restrictions if you do return. Be sure to fully document all of these medical visits, and if work restrictions are recommended, obtain a note from your doctor stating this, so you can give that note to your employer.

Finally, we want to point out that whatever your situation is with work, returning to work, restrictions, etc., be very careful what you say about these things on social media and in other electronic communications. Insurance companies have investigators who are very good at uncovering social media activity, and anything you say on any of these platforms could be twisted and taken out of context to undermine your claim.

The best advice is to take a break from social media for a while until you have finished with your legal claim. Or if you cannot quit cold turkey, do not post anything during this time and only use social media to keep up on what your relatives and friends are doing.

Injured in an Accident in Pennsylvania? Contact our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers

If you or someone close to you has suffered a personal injury, it is best to speak with an attorney to discuss your legal rights and options. If your injury occurred in Pittsburgh or anywhere in Pennsylvania, Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman is here to help. Call our office today at 412-567-1232 or toll-free at 866-466-5789 or message us online to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team. We look forward to serving you!