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I am on work comp. I still have pain and loss of motion.If I go back to work am I stuck. Full duty is very physical

Sacramento, CA |

I fell and got great surgery on a fx,d ankle. I had recent tx on the included knee.But, because of non-wt. bear on ankle i hurt shldr. No tx for 1 month to get approval to include body part. painful. conservative tx then surgery 7-09. Still on Work Comp. Still pain. Still Decreased ROM. I work as an Occupational Therapist in Skilled Nursing/Rehab.There is only Full Duty at my position. Min. Duty is working somewhere else in company or doing clerical which is ok. However, my company is going through difficulty and can't accommodate this. My income is not sufficient on WC. I even have to pay to keep my benefits.I need to work.I didn't even get real therapy. My acts as though pulley exercises should have done it.He will ask me in 2 wks. if I am ready. I could do it . I would be in pain

That wasn't the question.They cannot accommodate min duty which I am more than glad to do. However full duty is very demanding. I could push through and be in alot of pain and still have decreased ROM and possible re-injury. The Dr did not give me real therapy just home ex with his in office therapist. He did finally give me an order for PT but it has been 2wks and still no auth. I see him in 2wks.He seems to leave it up to me if I feel ready. I need to work but probably shouldn't.I just want to get better.If I go back to work will it hamper anything?

Attorney Answers 3


An injured worker receives worker's compensation benefits if (s)he is deemed partially or totally disabled, usually by a work comp doctor. Once an injured worker returns to work, the benefits may cease. They will only commence again if the injured worker is again deemed partially or totally disabled, likely by the doctor again.

Your treating doctor should have recommended whether you're ready to return to work yet. Your doctor may have said you are capable of modified work, which you seem to describe as clerical work. If an employer offers qualifying modified work, the injured worker should accept the offer or benefits may stop.

The above answer is not "legal advice" as specified under any pertinent rules governing the Professional Responsibilities of Lawyers and should not be relied upon. An attorney-client relationship has not been established by virtue of this correspondence. Legal issues are often complex and involve local laws and facts which may not be effectively communicated without a complete consultation.

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Are you asking whether this would hinder your progress physically/medically? Because if that is your question, it is not a legal question. Otherwise, if you're asking whether you would be able to receive worker's compensation benefits still, see my previous answer.

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My general advice is that if you are able to work, you should. You'll probably be happier, feel more productive and be making more money. On the other hand, you shouldn't go back to work if you're not ready and there is increased risk of further injury. Your employer is not obligated to offer modified or alternate work. If you do return to work, it will probably end your temporary, total disabilty indemnity (TTDI). Be aware that there are strict limits on how much TTDI you can receive. It's a little complicated so consult with an attorney on this issue.

You are also limited in the amount of physical therapy you can receive. You are limited to 24 PT visits for the life of the claim. Use it if you need it but don't waste it.

At some point, the insurance carrier will probably want to have you evaluated by a Panel Qualified Medical Examiner (PQME). Before requesting a panel of 3 doctors to choose from, consult an attorney. Before selecting a doctor off of the list of 3, consult an attorney. Before actually going to a PQME, consult an attorney. These are all critical stages in the case and you don't want to make a big mistake. There are several excellent workers' comp attorneys in Sacramento. Find a good one here at or at CAAA is the association for attorneys who represent injured workes here in California. Or call me for a referral.

Good luck

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