I'm often asked if an injured worker can go back to work after a work injury.
The answer is generally YES as long as the job does not violate any of the injured worker's work restrictions. So, if your work injuries limit lifting to 20 pounds, you should not look for or take a job that requires lifting more than 20 pounds.
The job can be with any employer. If you're interested in returning to work for your employer but can't do the job that hurt you, the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act has a provision that facilitates re-employment of an injured worker. Go here for a summary WC Act return to work provision.
Returning work after a work injury will likely decrease the workers' compensation money benefits your are receiving. However, the benefits of returning to work at an appropriate job usually outweighs the loss of any money benefits. Some of those benefits are the following:
- A regular wage that is significantly higher than your workers' compensation money benefits.
- Benefits like medical insurance.
- The satisfaction of working again.
I think planning on returning to work is an important part of recovering from a work injury. In fact, when I have a new workers' compensation client, I usually counsel them to do what they can to return to work as soon as possible.