You've got a lot of questions and we don't have a lot of space here. We also don't have all of the facts. I recommend you find a good L.A. W.C. attorney and make an appointment to sit down and go through all of your questions with him.
Within limits, you have the right to pick your own doctor. if you're treating with a company doctor and don't have confidence in him, talk to that lawyer about changing doctors.
Find a good lawyer here at www.avvo.com or at www.caaa.org. CAAA is the association for attorneys here in CA who represent injured workers. Or you can call me for a referral.
You get an Attorney, and you ask all these questions.
We offer general concepts, but you should give ALL your facts to a licensed Attorney in your state before you RELY upon any legal advice.
If you were in Illinois, no your case would not be closed. your WC wages would stop if your employer provides light duty and you woudl continue to seek medical care until you are released back to full duty and/or the light duty is made permanent. If you are reinjured on this job, report it and see your doctor so the event is documented properly.
Again in Illinois, if the employer does not give light duty, than you would continue getting WC payments and could qualify for vocational rehabilitation (assisted job search and possibly retraining) to find work within your permanent restrictions.
Since you are not in Illinois, you woudl be wise to consult an experienced WC attorney to learn how CA addresses yoru questions. Good luck/
If you re-injure yourself report it to the employer. Technically, an employer can let you go if you are unable to return to work in a reasonable time period and your position is necessary to the ongoing operation of the business - this is a complex analysis and is best handled by consulting with an attorney. In WC you should retain an attorney.
NO your case is not closed when you return to work.
YES they can try to push you out the door.
IF YOU are reinjured, you tell the supervisor you are rushing right back to the same jerk -eh, clinician -- that stated you could perform this job safely now. AND YOU DONT finish your shift, you rush right back to that same doctor and YOU write in the notes for your chart performing as directed by treating doctor resulted in re-injury.
NOW: you must get a new treating physician from this insurer's medical provider network. Getting a Certified Specialist Attorney would solve that, which is why all suggested this. In interviewing attorneys, make certain you are speaking with the attorney who will be arranging for this new treating doctor...never sign blank forms from a paralegal visitng the house. you'll be worse off than you are now.
With a torn disc displacing a nerve, you are going to have think seriously about another job. Lifting Patients should be avoided for the rest of your life with a bulging disc causing nerve root impingement.
When a doctor writes that you can never return to lifting patients, the job can say they have no openings that would never require you to lift a patient so you cannot work there....it will feel like the employer or insurer are pushing you 'out the door' but really its your nerve root impingement that sent you out the door.
No, an employer has no obligation to make a special new job just for you with no lifting requirements.
So, search for a certified specialist attorney that likes to take cases in Los Angeles, and is very familiar with the very few docs on each Medical Provider Network near you in LA who will let you heal before you try to return to light (or full) duty. And think about being in the field in a position where you never lift patients (ventipuncture? billing coder? Pulmonary Therapist? Pharmacy Tech?)