returning to work after workplace injury

Suffering a work injury is stressful for you and your entire family.  You may be out of work and your bills mounting. 

You don’t know how you will be able to afford the medical treatment you need to recover from your injuries. This is where our work injury law firm comes in. 

The board-certified workers’ compensation lawyers at Mehta & McConnell will assist you at every step of your claim to ensure you receive all of the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to under the law.

Can I Be Forced Back to Work After an Injury?

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act and Industrial Commission Rules contain specific provisions addressing an injured worker’s return to work. 

Your employer and its insurance company must follow these steps before they can compel you to return to work.  

Your employer must offer you “suitable employment.”  There are different definitions for “suitable employment” depending on the status of your medical treatment.

If you are still actively treating for your work injury and your doctor has not placed you at maximum medical improvement, your employer can offer you light-duty work. 

Your employer must offer you light duty work that is within the work restrictions assigned by your doctor. 

With certain jobs, your doctor may have to approve a job description before you can be forced to return to work.

After you are placed at maximum medical improvement, “suitable employment” is defined as “employment that the employee is capable of performing considering the employee’s preexisting and injury-related physical and mental limitations, vocational skills, education, and experience and is located within a 50‑mile radius of the employee’s residence at the time of injury or the employee’s current residence if the employee had a legitimate reason to relocate since the date of injury.” 

No one factor will be considered exclusively in determining whether a position offered to you is “suitable employment.”  

Your employer must meet a stricter definition of “suitable employment” after you are placed at maximum medical improvement. 

If your employer has already filled your job or cannot accommodate your work restrictions, their insurance company may hire a vocational counselor to assist you with returning to work. 

Once again, there are rules the vocational counselor must follow when attempting to return you to work.  

We will protect your interests when returning to work is an issue in your case. 

We will verify your employer and the vocational counselor have followed the law when offering you a job, and we will make sure the job offered to you is one your doctors say you can do.

north carolina workers comp lawyers

Is it Worth Getting a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

You won’t pay us out of your pocket.  We will represent you on a contingency fee basis, meaning we will receive a portion of the monetary benefits we recover for you. 

The standard contingency fee in workers’ compensation cases is 25%. 

The contingency fee model is beneficial for both the attorney and the injured worker. As previously stated, you will never pay out of your pocket for our representation. 

If we don’t recover anything for you, then we don’t get paid. 

The contingency fee model gives our attorneys every reason to fight as hard as we can for you. The more we recover for you, the greater our fee.

The insurance companies have authored studies that show that injured people who retain an attorney tend to receive significantly higher recoveries than people who handle their claim on their own. 

That’s because an experienced attorney will pursue each and every type of benefit owed to you under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act.

When Should You Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney?

There are many twists and turns in a workers’ compensation claim. 

Even if the insurance company is treating you well at the beginning of your claim, it may later try to stop your benefits. 

It may deny medical treatment your doctors have recommended, or it not pay you wage loss benefits. 

The insurance company may offer to settle your case, but you may worry that they are not making you a fair offer.  

Featured Case Result

What Happened: Our client, a Service Advisor at a car dealership, sustained a large bucket handle meniscus tear in her left knee when her office chair unexpectedly moved out from under her. Our client had worked for the car dealership for a few years and had developed a loyal client base. She had a high average weekly wage due to the commissions she received. Her permanent restrictions prevented her from returning to her pre-injury job. Defendants implemented aggressive vocational rehabilitation, requiring our client to meet with her vocational counselor weekly and apply to multiple jobs per week. Vocational rehabilitation was unsuccessful in finding suitable employment for our client, especially jobs that paid close to her pre-injury wages.

Result: $125,000 Settlement

Contact Our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Mehta & McConnell

If you have questions at any step in your claim, make sure you speak with the experienced North Carolina workers’ comp lawyers at Mehta & McConnell before moving forward with your claim. 

Both of our workplace injury attorneys are board-certified by the North Carolina State Bar as experts in workers’ compensation law. 

We are happy to meet with you to have a no-obligation free consultation about your claim. 

Our work injury law firm will explain the law as it applies to your case, and we will gladly answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Let us see if we can help you increase the value of your claim in a cost-effective and efficient way. 

Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.