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Can I return to work after my workers comp case has been settled and I have been deemed not able to return to work?

San Leandro, CA |

Can I return to work with restrictions, even if my workers’ compensation case has been settled and I have been declared permanently disabled in San Leandro?

The agreement between the 2 workers comp attorneys and the judge was that I am P&S, and unable to return to work. I have been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) to my upper right extremities. Since then I have stopped seeing the Treating Doctor. I have also recovered from my addiction to morphine and other addicting drugs which were prescribed to me.

I started meditation and exercising my right extremities and feel I can go back to work, with restrictions to lifting and pushing and pulling. Are there any penalties or lawsuits from workers’ comp if I go back to work in CA with restrictions, and if so what do I need to do to fix this problem?

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

You have stated the "agreement between the 2 attorneys and the judge" was that you are "P&S and unable to return to work" This may mean several things, in which I would need clarification in order to better answer your question.

Are you stating that you have signed settlement documents? If so, then my answer would depend on whether you signed a Stipulations with Request for Award or a Compromise and Release. Furthermore, if you settled your case based on an agreement that you are completely unable to work, in other words 100% permanently disabled, and you did NOT settle your case by Compromise and Release, then the insurance company does have the right, and probably would try to reduce the Award within 5 years from the date of injury. After that, the insurance company no longer has that right, and the Court lacks jurisdiction. You could return to work if you want.

If you resolved your case by Compromise and Release, and it has been approved by the Judge, then you could return to work if you want. Based on those 2 conditions, you may return to work without fear of the insurance company coming back to reduce your Award or compensation.


The key question I have to be able to answer your question about returning to work in California after you have been rules permanently disabled in your workers comp case is if you have a Findings & Award that is less than five years from the date of injury or a Compromise & Release.

If your Findings & Award is more than five year post-injury date or you have a Compromise & Release, it is next to impossible to have those undone if you can return to work in some capacity. If you are less than five years out and have a Findings & Award it is possible that the defendant would come in and try to show that you are less then totally and permanently disabled.

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Go back to work if you are able. Nothing will make you feel better than that. The Ins Company COULD seek to reduce an open award, but probably would not bother.


Sadly, YOUR opinion of whether you can go back to work just doesn't count.

Remember, the Employer has a written report from a doctor (maybe two, or three) stating that your work injury left you with permanent disability factors, and some of those factors left you unable to return to all pre-injury duties without any permanent restrictions.

The employer had a few weeks in which to make a special job for you to accommodate those restrictions; sounds like the employer said 'no thanks'.

"What do I need to so to fix this" depends on how you 'settled' your case.

Sounds like you signed an agreement indicating YOU 'STIPULATED' (agreed) you had a certain amount of Permanent Disability from the work injury, and that you needed medical treatment in the future ...
....THAT document is entitled "Stipulations With REquest For Award". is THAT this 'agreement between the 2 attorneys and the judge' you mention?

If so, you can go back to the doctor, tell him you've fully recovered and you need a new report showing ZERO Permanent Disability... OF COURSE YOU NEED TO PAY BACK ALL THAT PEMANENT DISABILITY MONEY received .

You cannot keep your Permanent Disability money AND have a doctor find you don't have that Permanent Disablity any longer.

The employer has NO OBLIGATION to take you back if you are not released to full duty with no restrictions.

You cannot force an employer to make a special job for you to match your restrictions.

And if you resolved your claim with a Compromise & Release Agreement, that was your 'divorce' from that employer.

Claims resolved by Compromise & RElease are closed forever, no new doctors' reports change your work status. The employer need never respond to any of your requests again.

Hope that clears things up a little.

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