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What are my worker's comp rights regarding repetitive injury?

Pensacola, FL |

I have had nagging pain in my ankle from standing long periods at my job. Recently, there was a sharp pain and a pop in my ankle. I told my employer, who sent me to a doctor that concluded the injury was work related. The doctor has given guidelines for physical activity at work. These are unrealistic considering the job.
My employer told me to rest for a couple days, and let them know how I feel, but this job isn't worth permanent injury.
Am I entitled to payment for the missed work days?
What can I do if the employer doesn't follow these doctor recommended guidelines?
Truthfully, I don't feel recovery is realistic if I go back to work. I've worked at this place for many years. I know how the business works, and there's no way the doctor's recommendations can be accommodated.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Best answer

    If your employer does not or cannot accommodate the restrictions placed upon you by your authorized doctor, the employer/carrier will have to pay you temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits while you remain out of work. Issues arise when the employer alleges the work is within the restrictions and you dispute that allegation. At that point, you will need to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

  2. It sounds like your employer is avoiding reporting this claim to their insurance company. If your wages fall below 80% of your normal wages, you should be eligible for indemnity benefits, as long as your wage loss is longer than 7 days. I suggest you consult with a qualified workers compensation attorney to discuss your case in detail.

  3. I don't wish to be alarmist but you should get an aggressive Worker's Compensation lawyer as soon as possible. To be compensable as a repetitive trauma injury, you must prove distinct and unique activities in your job activities that are different from standing and walking in your ordinary life. For example, I handled a claim for a department store employee who was required to wear high heels and walk on hard floors all day long. She developed a serious foot condition requiring that's she undergo surgery. The store's workers compensation carrier fought the case for over a year but I was able to obtain a settlement in six figures for her. Definitely, you will need a lawyer for this. Secondly the FMLA or Family Medical Leave Act gives you the right to come and go from work as you please, when you're under doctor's ongoing care to try to control the condition, but the condition has an Masefield flare up without warning and make you unable to work. This is contained in 29 CFR Sec 825.202 & 825.204. But, you will need your lawyer to document a request for this type of leave and a report from the doctor with specific findings which support his opinion that you will need intermittent absences from work.
    Robert Shapiro

    The answers given are limited to the facts as given and presumed by the answer itself. Without seeing actual written documentation or having a conference to more fully explore the issues, this short answer has only limited application and should NOT be relied upon. Make sure to seek legal counsel and provide all documentation to get assistance in making informed legal choices.

  4. The first question is whether or not the doctor your employer sent you to was through workers' compensation. If so, the guidelines are what are referred to as work restrictions. If the restrictions are through an authorized workers' compensation physician then the employer is obligated to either give you work within those restrictions or explain that there is no work available within your restrictions. If the ladder is the case, then you are eligible for compensation. In addition to the above you may also be eligible for missed days depending on the length of time you missed, and the reasoning.

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  5. It's pretty black and white. If your employer authorized care, you got work restrictions, and the employer sent you home rather than accommodate them, you're entitled to lost wage benefits if you go more than 7 days out of work (there's a 7 day waiting period to exclude minor injuries with limited time missed from work). If they bring you back within 7 days they can either accommodate the restrictions at that point, or not. If they don't, you should get paid. If they do, you've got work the light duty assuming it's within your restrictions.