Temporary Return to Work in the Airline Industry
Often there’s a dispute about when a worker is truly able to go back to work in the airline industry. Sometimes an airline worker wants to go back because the disability pay is less than the regular pay for work. However, in other cases, a worker doesn’t feel well enough to go back to work, but faces pressure to return from the airline. A temporary return to work in the airline industry could affect your ability to receive benefits you need. If you have questions about returning to work temporarily after an injury, it is wise to talk to a seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorney about your situation.Temporary Return to Work in the Airline Industry
If a temporary return to work is a possibility in your case, you may be asked to undergo an independent medical exam. Often, when an insurer is not sure whether a claimant is malingering, or just wants more information, they will request an independent medical exam. The insurer is the one paying for the exam. The doctors who conduct these exams tend to have a bias towards conservative treatments or against workers. You must comply with an insurer’s request for an independent medical exam.
The findings made at the independent medical exam may support you returning to work. If you don’t return to your job after the independent medical exam doctor finds that you can, the insurer is entitled to stop your benefits.
Upon returning to work, you need to follow any limitations your doctor has placed on you for the return. If you remain partially disabled, you may be able to get partial disability benefits. For example, suppose you are a baggage handler who had a spinal fusion surgery to address a disc rupture, and you now have a restriction of lifting only up to 10 pounds. In that case, you may find that you can’t go back to the same job and have to switch to a job that pays less, but allows you to work, or you may need to stay on disability. If it turns out you can’t go back to work in the airline industry and you take leave again, you may be able to go back to getting temporary total disability benefits.
It’s important to talk honestly with your doctor. You may be able to get a trial return to work period, and take leave again if you cannot do the job even with limitations.Temporary Partial Disability Benefits in the Airline Industry
Workers may be able to make a temporary return to work in the airline industry after being disabled, but may work only part-time. Under these circumstances, you may be able to get temporary partial disability benefits, which allow you to get 2/3 of the difference between what your average weekly wage was before your injury and what you are making as a part-time worker.
If you don’t think you’re getting the correct amount of compensation, it can help to talk to an experienced attorney. You may be right, and someone who understands the wage structure in your airline industry job can calculate the average weekly wage and fight for your rights as necessary.
If, for example, you used to work 40 hours each week at $15/hour ($600/week) and now, due to a disc rupture, you only work 20 hours a week at $15/hour ($300/week), you get 2/3 of the difference between the average weekly wage and what you currently make or 2/3 of $300. This disability pay is tax free.Consult a Skillful Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago
If you make a temporary return to work in the airline industry in Chicago, it’s important to be cautious. You should follow your doctor’s orders, and it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for doing so. Sometimes problems arise in connection with a temporary return to work, and a worker jeopardizes his or her benefits. Accordingly, it is wise to retain a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer to fight for your rights. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent airline workers injured in Rockford, Quincy, Champaign, and Aurora, as well as Winnebago, Adams, Kane, Sangamon, and Cook Counties. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.