There are different types of injury cases and the answer depends on the type of injury case that you have and if your restrictions are temporary or permanent.
If you have been hurt at work then you have a workers' compensation case. The first thing to determine is: are the restrictions temporary or permanent. We will assume for this section that the restrictions are temporary.
Secondly, who the doctor is that gave you the temporary restrictions will matter. If it was a doctor authorized by your employer or their workers' compensation insurance company then your employer should not require you to work outside of your temporary restrictions. If the authorized workers' compensation doctor said you could work full duty, but your personal physician gave you temporary restrictions then chances are that your employer will not honor the temporary restrictions from your personal doctor.
Temporary Work Restrictions
We suggest that you keep a copy of your work restrictions in your pocket at work so if you are asked to work outside of those restrictions you have written proof of what they are. If you don't have them with you, then your supervisor may request that you still do the work not knowing specifically what your restrictions are. If your employer still insists that you work outside of your restrictions, then you should immediately report it to your human resources department and/or medical department at work. If that does not work, then consider contacting your supervisor's boss to report what is happening. No one wants you to be injured more, most especially you.
Work Not Offered Within Restrictions
If your employer is unable or unwilling to provide you with work within your restrictions then you should receive a weekly workers' compensation check-called TTD (temporary total disability). Please keep in mind that under no circumstances should you quit or resign from your job. Employers will sometimes put a lot of pressure on you that you don't want to have a "termination" on your resume. While this may be true, giving up your workers' compensation benefits and have no source of income is probably much worse than what some future employer may think about a termination. If you quit your job, you could try to file for unemployment. However, when you leave your job the burden is upon you to prove a hostile work environment or other very specific things to even have a chance at receiving unemployment. We highly recommend that you do not quit your job as it is better for your workers' compensation, potential unemployment law, and other potential claims to be fired instead of quitting.
Permanent Work Restrictions
If you have been given permanent work restrictions, then you need to provide them to your employer and notify your employer that you are ready willing and able to work within these restrictions. If they do not immediately bring you back to work within your restrictions or tell you if they are going to bring you back or not then you should consider writing a specific letter requesting accommodation. There is a correct way and some incorrect ways to do this so we can help you properly write an accommodation request letter. If your employer does not provide you with a reasonable accommodation, then they may be subject to a separate claim under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) that we can help you with.
If your employer decides that they will not bring you back to work with your permanent restrictions then you will need to consult with an experienced and qualified Iowa workers compensation attorney to protect your rights and pursue additional compensation. Your employer and their insurance company want to pay you as little money as possible and frankly don't care about you or your family. You should consider hiring someone to be on your side so you can protect your rights and not be cheated out of compensation that you deserve.
Denied Workers' Compensation Cases
If your workers' compensation case has been denied by the insurance company then you likely be treated as having been hurt outside of work which is explained below about car accidents and other personal injury matters.
Car Accident/Personal Injury
If you have been hurt outside of work, then you will likely be treated much differently than if you sustained a work injury. If you are given temporary work restrictions after a car accident or other personal injury accident then your employer may or may not bring your back to work. Overall, it is less likely that they will bring you back to work than it is after say a work-related injury. Hopefully, you will have short-term disability, sick pay or another disability policy to provide you with income should your employer not provide you with work within your temporary restrictions. If they do not offer you work, then you can consider filing for unemployment, but you have to ready willing and able to work and there are other requirements that you would have to meet to qualify. If you are considering filing for unemployment then you should consult with a qualified injury attorney who also handles unemployment law cases. We have three attorneys at our office that handle both areas of law and we offer you a consultation and review of your legal matters at no cost or risk. Just call 641-792-3595 and ask to speak with Corey, Erik or Joanie.
If your restrictions are changed from temporary to permanent, then the chances of your employer bring you back to work go down. However, you may have long term disability and/or social security disability benefits available. Also, keep in mind that depending upon whether they brought you back to work with temporary restrictions along with other factors will determine if you have a claim against your employer for a violation of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). It is a good rule of thumb that if something bad happens to your job because of an injury that you need to at least talk to a qualified Iowa attorney to find out what you may be able to do to recover for your damages.