With many auto accidents and other personal injuries, it is necessary to miss some time from work in order to physically recover. With more serious injuries, the injured person might need to be out of work for several weeks or even months or longer.
Most people do not enjoy being out of work for an extended period of time. Usually, they can’t wait to get back into their regular routine of going to work, socializing with co-workers, and earning money again. In other words, they are looking for a return to normalcy.
Wanting to get back on the job as soon as possible is understandable, but what if it is too soon? If you go back to work before you should, how will it impact your personal injury claim?
When is the Right Time to Go Back to Work after an Auto Accident?
The right time to go back to work after a car accident or any other type of personal injury is only after your doctor clears you (to return) and you feel physically able to do your job again. Returning to work too early could be a big mistake for a couple of reasons:
You Might Re-Aggravate Your Injury
Although you may want to get back to work as soon as possible after an auto accident injury, your first priority should be your physical health and well-being. With this in mind, you do not want to start working again if there is a chance that your injury could get aggravated.
For example, you might feel pretty good right now, but you don’t know what physical movements might cause your injury to flare up again. If this were to happen, your recovery could take a major setback and you would probably end up being out of work for a much longer period of time. There is also the chance of re-aggravations that could result in long-term physical problems, which could even mean not being able to go back to your previous job at all.
It Could Complicate Your Personal Injury Claim
If you have filed a claim for damages from your auto accident, returning to work too soon can definitely hurt your claim. For one thing, the insurance company might see your return to work as proof that your injuries are not really as serious as you say they are, which could result in a significantly lower settlement offer. Remember that the insurance company is looking for ways to diminish the value of your claim and enhance their bottom line – and going back to work too soon gives them an opportunity to do just that.
If you go back to work and your injury gets re-aggravated, this could complicate things even further. As an injury claimant, you have a legal obligation to mitigate the effects of your injury, which essentially means following through on all of your doctor’s recommendations and doing everything necessary to get recovered or reach maximum medical improvement. If you return to work too soon and your condition gets worse, the insurance company might say that they are not responsible for any additional treatment that is required as a result.
What If My Doctor Clears Me to Go Back to Work Before I Feel Ready?
There are some injury victims that run into a different dilemma when their doctor says they are ready to return to work, but they do not feel like they are physically able to yet. In a case like this, the first thing to do is speak with your attorney about what options you may have. One possibility is that you could go to another doctor and get a second opinion. By getting a second opinion, you might be able to get your time away from work extended or at the very least, you might be able to get some work restrictions put into place.
Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions Following an Accident
While there may be some instances where you will want to get a 2nd opinion, ultimately it will benefit you to follow the doctor’s advice for the following reasons:
Provide Room for Adjustments in Treatment
By following your doctor’s guidelines and reporting back during follow-up appointments, you can provide your treating physician with an insight into what is and what isn’t working. On the basis of your feedback, doctors can customize your treatment plans, adjust meds, or explore other treatment options and alternatives. In certain cases, reporting poor reactions or challenges with certain instructions may alert doctors to other or more serious issues pertaining to your injuries or general health.
Improve Long-term Results & Function
It can be immensely important to follow your doctor’s instructions, including any guidelines provided by rehabilitation experts. While each injury and situation is unique, patients who do not follow proven recommendations after an injury may not experience the same recovery outcomes as those who did, which can include improvements in function.
A byproduct of following your doctor’s guidelines and following their advice are documentation, doctor’s notes, and medical records. These documents contain information about your medical condition, treatment plan, and any recurrent or new conditions that may develop. These documents offer a crucial perspective on your accident’s consequences, are much more reliable and verifiable than an individual’s word and can be used to augment an injury claim if one needs to be filed.
How Insurance Companies View Victims Who Stop Treatment?
In dealing with insurance adjusters, it is crucial to remember that they work for the insurer, and their objective is to do everything legally possible to minimize or deny insurance claims. If you stop undergoing treatment, insurance adjusters may contend that you are making up your injuries or exaggerating them.
Suffered a Personal Injury in Alabama? Contact Hedge Copeland for Assistance
If you or a loved one got injured because of someone else’s negligence or reckless actions, Hedge Copeland is here to help. Call our office today at (251) 432-8844 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team.