At times, work-related injuries can be very serious and necessitate that the employee takes some time off from work, though certain injuries are not as serious and do not impact the worker’s job performance. A worker could suffer a foot injury while at work, but their job performance dictates that they use their hands and intellect. In this event, most injured employees who have ended up with a work-related injury or sickness that does not impact their job performance tend to wonder if they really need to file a workers’ compensation claim, and take time off from work.
There are times when an employee is injured and decides not to report their work-related injury to their employer because they don’t see a point in doing so, or they believe that their injury is not qualifying, because it doesn’t affect their ability to perform work well. Instead of filing a workers’ comp claim, these injured employees will just seek medical help through their health insurance provider. These employees need to understand that even if they do not need to take time off of work, they can still have the opportunity to seek workers’ compensation benefits if they are eligible.
Getting Injured Workers Back To Work In Texas
As injured employees are recovering from their work-related injuries, Texas is a big proponent of encouraging these employees to stay employed in some kind of capacity. Texas strongly encourages bosses to take a proactive attitude in fulfilling a Return to Work Program for injured workers. Return to Work Programs are used to offer recovering injured employees alternative work assignments, or “light duty” options with a reduced compensation, while they are recovering from their work-related injury. While a worker is recovering from their work-related injury or sickness, there are many reasons why the worker should stay engaged in their job:
- Getting the injured employee back into the workforce as quickly as possible
- Keeps the injured employee engaged in their work
- Upholds worker morale
- Maintains the injured worker’s income
- Diminishes the amount of social benefits (welfare, disability benefits, etc.) that injured employee may have to use during recover; and
- Ensures that the injured worker has taxable income.
Getting Medical Benefits Through Workers’ Compensation
If an employee is able to keep on working regardless of their work-related injury or illness, the employee will not necessarily need income benefits through workers’ compensation due to the fact that the employee is still able to do their job, or the possibility of an alternative work assignment for pay. But in the event that a work-related injury or sickness doesn’t necessitate that the injured employee take time off of work, this doesn’t mean that getting medical treatment for the injury isn’t making the injured worker spend money out of their own pocket.
An injured worker can still recover workers’ compensation benefits to cover hospital bills, even if they don’t need to take time off from work. However, an injured worker that does not need to preserve their income, does not need to apply for income benefits, this way injured workers who truly need income benefits will be able to apply through the Texas workers’ compensation system. Injured employees in Texas need to only take the proper amount of time to seek the medical care they need to recover from their work-related injury or ailment. Taking off more time from work than the employee needs to recover, could risk the employee being terminated or ending up with their workers’ compensation claim denied.
Injured Workers Should Discuss Their Options With Their Employers
Most people don’t want to take time away from their job, because they feel helpless and useless if they have to be away too long. When an employee is injured on the job, but in such a way that they can still work in some capacity, they should discuss situation with their employer. A simple conversation between the worker and employer can encourage the employer to look for alternative ways that the injured worker can still be at work, while they recover. In order to make sure that the employee is still engaged with their work and earning an income while recovering from their injury, the employer can find alternative work assignments or a “light duty” version of the employee’s job.
Sometimes, in order for the worker to perform alternative work assignment, the employer will require clearing from a designated doctor to ensure the safety of the individual. If the doctor decides that the worker is capable of taking on the alternative assignment without making the injured worker’s injury worse, then the worker may return to work during their recovery period. The injured employee’s situation can then be monitored occasionally to ensure that the worker’s condition allows them to continue working.