Can I Sue Workers Comp After I’m Released to Go Back to Work?

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The Kentucky workers’ compensation system compensates employees who are injured through work-related activities. In most (but not all) cases, compensation through the workers’ compensation system is your only option. Although it is possible to claim workers’ compensation benefits after being released to return to work, a lot depends on the circumstances.

The Statute of Limitations

The general rule is that you have two years from the date of your injury, or from your last payment of TTD, whichever date is later, to file your claim. Certain exceptions may apply, including:

  • If your injury was caused by exposure to the HIV virus, you may have five years;
  • The deadline to file a claim might be extended if your employer failed to file the correct forms with the Department of Workers Claims;
  • The deadline is three years after last exposure for certain occupational diseases such as Black Lung; and
  • If you suffered a work-related repetitive motion injury, your deadline might be extended up to two years from the date that you actually discovered the condition.

Fighting Back Against a “Return to Work” Order

If your doctor clears you to return to work and you do not feel that you are ready, you can appeal the directive, and if you win the appeal you can delay your return to work. If you still have a partial disability you can request reasonable accommodations, but you may have to take a different job within your company even if it pays less. If it pays less, you can seek reduced-earnings benefits through the workers’ compensation system.

Suspension/ Modification Petitions

If you have already been awarded workers’ compensation, and your employer files a successful suspension or modification petition asking a workers’ compensation judge to cut off or lower your benefits and thereby force you back to work, you have the right to file a written answer, and both sides can present evidence at a hearing. If the two sides cannot reach a private settlement, the judge will make the decision.

Can I be Fired for Failing to Return to Work on Time?

Yes, in principle it is legal for you to be fired for failing to return to work on time, even if your doctor has not cleared you to return to work, simply because of your employer’s business needs. What your employer cannot do is fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Since it might be difficult to determine the real reason you were fired, a skilled Kentucky workers’ compensation lawyer can help you to investigate this question and prove your suspicions.

Act Quickly to Protect Your Rights

The longer you wait to address your workers’ compensation problem, the more difficult it is likely to be to resolve. Contact Kentucky personal injury lawyer Glenn Martin Hammond at (606) 437-7777, or fill out our online contact form, to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your options. And remember — there is no cost to you unless we win your claim.

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