Returning to Work After an Injury — Portland, OR

Written by Adian Martin on . Posted in Posts: Personal Injury, Posts: Workers' Compensation

Work injuries can change your life in many ways—your emotional and physical health may be impacted for the worse; you may even have a permanent partial disability.  This can make getting back to work after being injured seem impossible.

The Oregon workers' compensation laws do provide for compensation for permanent disability, and for workers' compensation vocational training to those who are eligible.  

There are also some things you can do to help yourself get back on your feet. Read on to learn more about what to expect and how to cope with injury when preparing to return to your workplace.

How Could Returning to Work Help Me?

For those with disability going back to work can be an uphill battle.  But most studies show that going back to work after an injury benefits your overall health and general well-being. 

But, this does not mean you should go back to work before you’re ready—if you are still going through medical treatment and your attending physician has not approved of modified work, you should continue your leave of absence.  Be sure to get your doctors orders or excuse form work in writing, and always follow your doctor's orders!

How Can I Prepare to Return to Work?

As you work on your recovery, do what you can to stay positive. This can feel very challenging, but try to focus on the things you can do; rather than the things you can’t. 

Rehabilitation may be a long process. Be prepared to be patient, especially after you go back to work. You may be placed in a modified job that your doctor has approved.  If a modified job is offered to you that has been approved, you must accept it or risk losing your workers' compensation pay!  

If you have questions about returning to a modified job, you should contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney.  

How Can I Plan to Return to Work?

  • Understand your rights when it comes to how your employer should help in the process and what adjustments they need to make to accommodate your new circumstances.
  • Consult with your attending physician about your return to work.
  • Come to a clear understanding with your employer about what work arrangements need to be made to facilitate your return.  These should all be in writing!
  • Your employer must be clear about:
    • Your limitations
    • What your duties and hours will be, and where you will be working
    • Your start time and pay; if you are earning less workers' compensation temporary partial disability payments should be made! 

What if I Can not Return to my Work?

If you are an injured worker in Oregon, you may qualify for workers' compensation vocational training if you have a permanent disability.  You must not be able to return to your job, or any other "suitable employment." A "suitable employment" is a job that you have the physical capacity, knowledge, skills and abilities to perform, is located where you worked, or within reasonable commuting distance of your residence, and pays at least 80% of your at injury wage.  

The vocational training rules are complicated.  If you need help with figuring out if you can get vocational assistance you should call an Oregon workers' compensation lawyer.