Can Returning to Work Too Soon Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim?
Getting injured in an accident can take a major financial toll on victims and their families. Medical bills can pile up quickly and being out of work for an extended period of time makes matters even worse. Missing a lot of work is not only difficult financially; it can also be hard for an injured person by disrupting their normal routine.
Under these circumstances, it is understandable that someone who has suffered a personal injury would want to get back on the job as soon as possible. But what if it is too soon?
What if you are still experiencing pain and other symptoms from your injuries? What if your doctor has not cleared you to go back to work yet? Can this hurt your personal injury claim?
The short answer to that question is, “yes.” If you are involved in a legal claim because another party caused your injury, returning to work too soon could hurt the value of your claim. And not only that, doing this could also be very detrimental to your health and well-being.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is here to help. Call us today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 for a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team.
Returning to Work After a Personal Injury
It is always best not to go back to work until you have clearance from your physician or another medical professional. You might feel like you are ready to return, but if your doctor says it is not time yet, then you should follow their directive. Along these same lines, if your doctor clears you for limited work with restrictions on your duties, make sure to abide by these recommendations as well.
If you decide to return to work after a personal injury without medical clearance, the insurance company might claim that your injury is not really as severe as you say it is. After all, how bad could it really be if you are going back to work so soon?
Keep in mind that although an insurance company adjuster might be friendly and courteous and act like they are on your side, their primary loyalty is to their employer, and their primary goal is to pay out as little as possible for your claim. They might dispute the severity of your injury no matter what you do, so why give them any additional reasons to do so?
Another thing that could happen if you go back to work sooner than you are able is that you could re-aggravate your injuries. This is one of the worst possible outcomes as it could set your recovery back for several weeks or even months. If this occurs and your condition becomes more severe as a result, the insurance company might try to deny coverage for any doctor visits and other medical treatment you received because of it.
Limit Your Activities When You are Out of Work
It is important to stress that you should be following your doctor’s orders not only with regards to when to return to work, but also the activities you participate in when you are not working. Your recovery is your top priority, so if your doctor tells you not to do any strenuous physical activity for a certain period of time, take their advice seriously and follow it.
You should also be sure to limit your social media activity until your claim has been settled. Posts of you having a good time with family and friends, for example, could be used by the insurance company to say that your injuries are not really all that serious. Comments made online about the accident could hurt your case as well. This is why it is best to refrain from posting anything online until your case is concluded.
If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence and you are filing an injury claim against them, you have certain legal duties that you must uphold. Among the most important being your obligation to mitigate your losses by seeking medical treatment as soon as possible after the injury and following your doctor’s recommendations.
If you wait too long to go see a doctor in the first place, the other side might argue that the injury was not related to the accident, or that it was not all that serious at the time of the accident. If you fail to adhere to the physical restrictions your doctor has given you and your injury gets worse, the other side might argue that they are not responsible for the additional medical expenses and other losses you incurred as a result.
Ways to Help Your Accident Injury Claim
There are number of things you can do to help ensure your injury claim goes smoothly:
Attend all Medical Appointments
Keep all of the appointments you have with medical and health professionals to the best of your ability. This includes appointments with your primary doctor as well as physical therapy and rehabilitation sessions.
Visit Recommended Specialists
If your primary doctor recommends that you see a specialist, it is very important to make a prompt appointment and go in to see them as soon as possible. Failure to do so could cause the other side’s insurer to question whether or not you are really doing all you can to recover.
Follow through on Recommended Treatment Plans
If your doctor or specialist prescribes various medications, procedures, and other types of treatment, follow their recommendations. There are times when you may want to seek a second opinion before going through with something. For example, this could come up if a specialist is recommending a major surgery. But in general, you should follow through with prescribed treatments unless you have a good medical reason for not doing so.
Adhere to Medical Restrictions
As we’ve talked about earlier, do not participate in any activities that your doctor says you are not ready for. Insurance companies have been known to perform surveillance on injury claimants, and if they see you are doing things you are not supposed to be doing, this could be used as a basis to diminish the value of your claim or deny it altogether.
Stay in Touch with Your Medical Provider
Throughout your treatment and recovery process, keep close contact with your doctor and notify them promptly if your condition seems to be getting worse.
Preserve all Medical Documentation
Keep records of all of your doctor appointments, treatments, therapy sessions, prescriptions taken, medical bills incurred, etc. It would also be a good idea to keep a medical journal tracking your progress, the level of pain you are suffering each day, and improvements and setbacks you are experiencing. All of this can be used to help substantiate your injury claim.
Retain Skilled Legal Counsel
After being injured in an accident, you will most likely be dealing with a large insurance company whose goal is to pay you as little as possible for your losses. In a situation like this, it makes sense to have a strong legal advocate in your corner who is fighting to protect your best interests.
Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance with Your Personal Injury
If you or someone close to has suffered a personal injury in West Virginia, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is ready to go to work for you. Message us online or call us today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.