Workplace injuries can range from minor, short-term injuries to severe, long-term disabilities. While workers’ compensation will help you cover the cost of your medical bills and helps replace some of your income while you recover, what happens when you’re ready to return to work? In most instances, employers are expected to provide reasonable accommodations for their employees if their workplace injuries progress to a true disability. Here’s what you need to know about those accommodations so you can better advocate for yourself and your personal needs.
Your Injury Must Qualify as a Disability
Under workers’ compensation, you’re entitled to a portion of your regular wages until you’re able to return to work as normal. This assumes that your injuries are ones that heal and won’t impact your ability to perform your regular duties without significant modifications. Though your employer can offer you modified job duties and reasonable accommodations to help you come back to work sooner, they’re not required to, and many will simply wait until you’re healed and can resume your job at 100% capacity.
However, if your injury progresses to a full disability, meaning it gets worse while you’re recovering and qualifies as a disability or is considered a true disability at the time you apply for your workers’ compensation claim, your employer may be required to provide reasonable accommodations so you can go back to work.
What Counts as Reasonable Accommodations?
The exact types of reasonable accommodations offered by your employer will vary by the industry and the extent of your disability. However, many employers offer the following types of accommodations to disabled workers:
- Requiring less heavy lifting
- Providing seating for jobs that are normally performed while standing
- Providing ergonomic workstations when appropriate
- Making physical changes to the facility to align with ADA best practices
- Moving the injured employee to a different department or position
- Allowing time off for appointments and other necessary obligations arising from your injury
The key lies in the fact that all accommodations must be reasonable. That means they shouldn’t put undue strain on your employer or your coworkers. For example, your employer is not required to create a new role for you where there wasn’t one.
What Can You Do if Your Employer Refuses Accommodations?
Having your employer refuse to accommodate your disability when you know that you can return to work and be a productive team member with a few modifications can be frustrating at best. Though it can feel like you’re caught between a rock and a hard place, there’s always hope. The best thing you can do is speak with an experienced workers’ compensation and injury attorney as soon as possible. They’ll be able to review your situation and your employer’s response to help you figure out what types of accommodations you’re entitled to and how you can get them.
Reasonable Accommodations Can Help You Get Back to Work
Reasonable accommodations can help you get back to doing the job you love after your injury. However, if your employer is refusing to accommodate your disability, it’s okay to fight back. Let the team at Anesi Ozmon, LTD. help. Contact us to schedule a consultation or call (312) 766-1875 today. Our experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys will review your case and work on your behalf to get you the help you deserve.