A Los Angeles County school teacher was given his job back after the school had denied him for two years to return to work. The special-needs teacher injured his hip in a fall at work and had to have a hip replacement. Eventually, his doctor said he could return to work with restriction as he was still under temporary disability. The school’s doctor didn’t clear him to come back saying that he needed to complete his rehabilitation.
After healing and finishing rehab, his doctor cleared him to return to work again with restrictions, but this time, the doctor declared his disability permanent and stationary meaning that he had completed his rehab and was not going to improve with more treatment. The doctor also said he had a permanent disability that would require restricts at work.
He requested to return to work, but the school district still refused. The teacher sued, and the court recently awarded him over $900,000 back pay (including attorney fees and court costs) and ordered the school district to reinstate his position.
Temporary Disability v. Permanent Disability
When an injured worker enters treatment, a doctor can either declare him unable to work or release him to go back to work with certain restrictions. California worker’s compensation law requires that the employer either allow the injured person to come back to work with the restrictions or stay home and receive two-thirds pay.
However, once the doctor says that the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement and that his conditions is permanent and stationary—meaning he is not going to get better under the same treatment—then the employer has to allow the person to come back to work if the restrictions are such that they don’t interfere with his ability to do his job.
Return to Work
Under California WC laws, an employer must attempt in good faith to accommodate any restriction when the doctor releases him or her back to work. If they still refuse, they can be held liable for back pay and even more if the case has to go to court. If the limitations set by the doctor prohibit the employee from doing his or her job, then the WC insurance company has to pay supplemental job displacement benefits, which are vouchers that can be used for job training and tools and equipment needed for training.
Do I Need an Attorney?
California WC rules do not require the injured worker to get an attorney, and many injured workers go it alone. If the injuries are slight and the medical bills are being paid, an attorney may not be needed. However, if the injuries are more substantial and there is time missed from work, then talking to an attorney is a good idea.
Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer:
Remember, the WC agent doesn’t work for you or even your employer, he or she works for the private insurance company. Their job is to pay as little as allowed. So it would be good to at least speak to an attorney who understands WC law and how the system works.
Call the attorneys at the Law office of Alice A. Strömbom, we understand what you are going through and can help you get the WC system working in your favor—which is the way it was meant to be. We can help you through all that you will face in going through a work-related injury. Our Sacramento Workers’ Comp lawyer will help by:
- Working with medical professionals so you receive the proper medical treatment
- Challenging insurance companies
- Fighting to defend your rights to receiving medical care
- Making sure that all the proper paperwork is filled out to make sure the process is done correctly
Call us at (916) 444-7557, or contact us online and get someone working for you.