Injured workers often want to return to work quickly after an injury because of bills to pay and because they enjoy their work. Some however have ongoing difficulties which cause limitations.
The most important consideration for returning to work after an injury is medical advice. It is always very important to talk to your doctor about returning to work and what you can or cannot do if you return to work.
WorkCover will require your doctor to sign-off on a ”return to work” or ”suitable duties” program before you are able to commence work again after an injury. If your doctor agrees with your return to work, you have an obligation to try to do so and to follow the doctor’s recommendations.
You may hear the term ”obligation to mitigate your losses” and this is one such obligation.
If you fail to mitigate your losses, in this case make an attempt at the suitable duties program, then WorkCover may suspend your benefits or close your claim. It can also affect any possible future common law negligence claim for personal injuries compensation.
If you return to work and you are having difficulties, it is best to:
1. Stop and tell your supervisor. Ask for alternative duties;
2. Contact your WorkCover officer and advise them of the difficulties you are having; and
3. Make an appointment with your doctor and explain what happened and why you were having difficulties with the suitable duties.
This way everyone is informed and if there are any changes that need to be made to the suitable duties program, these can be done quickly.
If your employer is requiring you to act outside the suitable duties program, then you have a right to advise them that such directions are beyond the suitable duties. If this causes any problems, you should immediately telephone your WorkCover officer to discuss.
Essentially, the most important thing to remember is that a person returning to work after an injury should follow medical advice. If any problems or difficulties arise, discuss with your employer, then WorkCover and if necessary also consult with your doctor. For more advice, talk to one of our Brisbane lawyers today.