Temporary Return to Work in the Auto Industry
Injuries are experienced in different ways, and there may be a dispute about when you can go back to work. There are situations in which a worker may wish to make a temporary return to work in the auto industry, and there also situations in which a worker doesn’t think going back to work is a good idea. You may be asked to undergo an independent medical exam in which the doctor will let the employer know whether he thinks you can go back to work. Even a temporary return to work in the auto industry can impact the benefits you receive, making it important to consult a skillful Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.Temporary Return to Work in the Auto Industry
Under Illinois workers’ compensation law, your employer can decide to rely on findings made at an independent medical exam. These are not truly independent exams, since the workers’ compensation insurer pays for the doctor who conducts the exam, and may choose doctors who are biased against the worker or biased towards a conservative or less protective approach to medicine. If you don’t go back to work when an independent medical exam finds you can, your temporary total disability benefits are stopped.
If you return to work, having been ordered to do so, you should let your employer know if you cannot do your job. You should follow any restrictions placed on you while you are temporarily back at work and try to see your treating doctor about your inability to work. You should be able to get temporary total disability benefits to restart once you leave work again.
Often doctors do place restrictions on what you can do when you go back to work. Where, for example, you had a laminectomy, you may be restricted to lifting up to 5 pounds. If you work in an auto manufacturing plant and your employer can’t provide you with work to address this restriction, you should be able to get temporary total disability benefits. These are equivalent to 2/3 of your average weekly wage.Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
Sometimes a worker is able to go back to work in the auto industry after being disabled, but only part-time. In that case, it may be possible for the worker to collect temporary partial disability benefits. These work like temporary total disability benefits in which you receive 2/3 of the difference between an average weekly wage and what you are currently receiving. Suppose you used to work 40 hours a week at $10/hr., yielding an average weekly wage of $400, and now you are restricted to working 20 hours a week because you are partially disabled, yielding an average weekly wage of $200. You would be able to collect temporary partial disability benefits equal to 2/3 of the difference, and these should be received in addition to your regular paycheck until you get released to work at your job without restrictions.
You should also follow doctor’s orders while temporarily returning to work. Your employer must accommodate restrictions your doctor has put in place. For example, if your doctor says you should not lift more than 5 pounds, you should not lift more than 5 pounds. Your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for following doctor’s orders, and you can be denied benefits for failing to follow doctor’s orders.
It is crucial to retain a skillful workers’ compensation attorney if you suspect you are not being paid the full amount to which you are entitled or your rights are being trampled upon by your employer. The insurer is not looking out for your interests; rather it may be trying to protect profits or assuming you won’t check on what your rights are. You need someone on your side.Consult a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago
If you are a Chicago auto worker concerned about a temporary return to work in the auto industry, a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer can help you protect your rights and benefits. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent injured workers 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.