Returning to Work After an Injury

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 19-Dec-2017

If you were injured in a workplace accident, it’s critically important that you receive necessary medical attention and take the time off needed to heal and recover. While this may be easier said than done, it’s important that you don’t ignore your injuries, otherwise you could end up unable to return to work because your injuries worsen.

Understandably, employers and employees must pay attention to workplace safety and employers must understand the costs of workplace accidents. When workers are injured regularly, these accidents not only affect workers’ bottom lines because workers’ comp pays less than employees’ regular wages, they cost employers money because they can affect insurance rates.

“The longer an injured employee is absent from the workplace, the higher the costs will be to you [the employer] and your carrier,” according to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. What are these costs the Board speaks of? These employer costs include the following:

  • Lost productivity,
  • Decreased morale,
  • Increased workers’ comp premiums,
  • Overtime as other employees pick up the slack, and
  • Costs associated with hiring and training new employees to replace the injured employee.

Due to the high costs of injured workers, the Board and employers have taken measures to make the transition back to work as easy as possible. The Board says that early assistance in helping injured workers return to work is “essential” to a Return to Work Program, and we have to agree that it is very helpful.

According to the Board, research shows:

  • After a six-month absence, there’s only a 50% chance that an injured employee will come back to work, and that number is reduced to 25% after a one-year absence.
  • Through early outreach assistance, injured employees can maintain a positive connection to their workplace.

In order for an employer to have a successful RTW program, they must commit to welcoming employees back to work in a safe and timely manner, and they must maintain open and ongoing communication with their injured employees, beginning right after the injury takes place and throughout the employee’s recovery.

To learn more about workers’ compensation and the RTW program, contact our firm to meet with a New York workers’ compensation lawyer for free!