A doctor checking a man’s back injury

Can Your Boss Rush You Back to Work if Your Doctor Says You’re Not Ready?

Many workers heal quickly and return to work as soon as they can, but some conditions require a longer recovery period. If your employer and their insurer are pressuring you to return to work against your doctor’s advice, it’s important to understand that certain employee rights in New York are designed to protect your interests. Our workers’ compensation lawyers at Nappa, Monterosso & Poznansky guide you through the workers’ compensation claims process and help safeguard employee rights.

You Have Rights as an Injured Worker

Dealing with a work-related injury or occupational disease can be stressful. Some injured workers are unaware of their rights and worry about being fired if they don’t return to work at the request of their employer. Unfortunately, New York is an at-will employment state meaning that if no contract exists, you can be fired for any non-discriminatory reason. You can also quit a job at any time. It is a two-way street. It follows that if your treating physician has determined that you have not reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and has not cleared you to return to work, your employer cannot force you to come back to work. You can be terminated if your employer has determined that they need to fill the position but you are not legally obligated to return to work. Importantly, if your doctor has cleared you for light duty or a modified work schedule and you refuse to return, you could risk losing your employment AND workers’ compensation benefits. If you’re unsure about your rights under New York Workers’ Compensation law, a workplace injury attorney can help you understand your rights.

A Workers’ Compensation Insurer May Order an Independent Examination

Although your treating physician has the authority to keep you from working, your employer’s insurer may pressure them to release you. Typically, insurance companies employ medical case managers who scrutinize your medical records. They may contact your treating physician to question or challenge them about your treatment and ability to go back to work.

If the insurance company disagrees with your doctor’s assessment of your condition, they can require that you see their own hand-picked doctor for an Independent Medical Exam (IME). Of course, these workers’ compensation doctors usually determine that you are well enough to return to your job. That’s why having an experienced workplace injury lawyer by your side is critical.

How Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Protect Employee Rights

Your workers’ compensation attorney can help you dispute the insurance company’s decision and guide you through the process of appealing their determination. If you’re suffering from a work-related illness such as lung disease, it’s important to hire an experienced occupational disease lawyer who understands the complexities of these types of cases.

Finding a workplace injury law firm whose practice areas focus on complex claims can give you the best chance of winning your workers’ compensation case. Having a lawyer handle claims and appeals allows you to focus on your health until you are ready to go back to work.

If Your Workplace Injury Was Caused By a Third Party

In New York, workers are generally prohibited from suing their employers, even if employer negligence played a part in an injury. However, if someone else is fully or partially responsible for an accident or injury, you may be able to bring a third-party workers’ comp claim against them.

Your occupational disease lawyer or workers’ compensation attorney can coordinate with a personal injury attorney to ensure the compensation amounts of any potential awards are maximized. Workers’ compensation lawyers and personal injury attorneys both offer free consultations, so you really have nothing to lose by contacting a workplace injury law firm. Both of these types of lawyers work on contingency, which means you’ll only owe attorneys’ fees if your claim is successful.

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in the Greater New York City Area

At Nappa, Monterosso & Poznansky, LLP, our team understands how frustrating it can be when you’ve been hurt at work and need time to fully heal. For more than 30 years, our workplace injury law firm in Staten Island has helped thousands of injured workers in the greater NYC area get the benefits they deserve. If you or a loved one prefers a multilingual attorney, partner Rolando Cubela provides legal representation for our Spanish-speaking clients. To learn more, call us at 718-273-9000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an NYC workers’ compensation lawyer.

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