Law Office of Howard J. Stevens APC
Over 40 Years Of Experience In Workers’ Compensation

Who decides when an injured employee can return to work? 

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2023 | Returning to Work

Workers who get hurt on the job may qualify for certain benefits. The California workers’ compensation system helps support injured employees by providing no-cost medical coverage and even disability benefits. 

Workers may receive wage replacement benefits until they can return to work. Often, a worker who is still struggling with ongoing symptoms will question the decision to have them return to their job. Who ultimately has control over when a worker returns to their employment? 

Multiple parties have input in such decisions

Employers might theoretically rush someone back to work to minimize the costs related to their claim. Resuming the same work could potentially worsen someone’s condition. Therefore, other parties also play a role in decisions about getting an injured employee back on the job. 

The physician who oversees someone’s care significantly influences decisions about someone’s work abilities. They determine how likely someone is to recover and what impact their return to work may have on their symptoms. The claims administrator may review the situation to decide if a decision is appropriate. 

Employers can also play a role in the decision. If they are able to accommodate a worker with functional limitations, they may be able to adjust someone’s job based on medical recommendations to get them back to work as quickly as possible. The injured worker and the attorney representing them can also influence the outcome of this process.

Occasionally, when there are disagreements about a worker’s support needs and ability to return to their job, a thorough evaluation may be necessary. That evaluation can help validate claims of ongoing symptoms and determine what accommodations that worker requires. Understanding who influences the outcome of a workers’ compensation claim may help an employee better advocate for themselves during their recovery.