Recovering from a work injuryAugust 12, 2011
Recovering from an injury can be a lengthy process, depending on the type and extent of the injury. For a sprain or minor fracture, you may be off for only a couple of days. For a serious injury or for work-related stress or depression, you may be off for many weeks or months.
The key to a successful recovery is to follow your doctor’s advice. Your doctor may prescribe medication or physiotherapy. If you are advised to undergo physiotherapy exercises, it is important that you follow instructions. Being lax in the completion of your exercises may delay your recovery. Similarly, putting too much strain on yourself and trying to do more than has been advised may make your injury worse.
For many types of injury, your doctor will recommend staying active. It may be easier and less painful to sitting down at home but this will mean that muscles are not worked and this may worsen depression from lack of activity. Light exercise will speed your recovery and will keep you active.
You may be prescribed pain killers and/or anti-inflammatories. These will help your natural recovery. In some cases, your doctor may suggest surgery. This is common for injuries such as a slipped disc.
After an injury at work, the prospect of returning to work can seem intimidating. You may have been off for some time and may be worried about what you’ve missed and how you’re going to catch up. You may also still be suffering from your injury and may be worried about it will affect your duties. And you may also be worried that whatever caused your injury has not been addressed and you could be injured again. Most employers will hold a ‘back to work’ meeting to discuss your return to work. Employers are legally obliged to assist you in your rehabilitation. This could mean that when you return, your duties are reduced or changed, either temporarily or permanently. Your employer may also need to make adaptations, such as moving you to a downstairs workspace if you have mobility issues. If your employer fails to make the adaptations you need to work, this may be considered as disability discrimination.
Perhaps the most important factor is that whatever caused your injury has been addressed and that both you and other workers are protected from future accidents.
Your injury may prevent you from returning to your previous job or in fact to any job. If this is the case, the lost earnings should be taken into consideration in any claim for compensation that you choose to submit. An experienced solicitor will be able to assess the compensation payment that you can expect to receive. A less experienced solicitor or claims management company may go for an out-of-court settlement in order to speed up the process but the result of this may be that you end up with a smaller compensation payment than the extent of your injuries warrants. A solicitor with years of expertise will also pursue medical evidence early on in order to add weight to your claim and may pursue an interim payment for more serious injuries that will require home adaptations and personal care.