Returning to Work After a Workplace Injury – What to Know

In most cases, an injured worker can return to his previous job and perform his regular job duties once he has achieved maximum medical improvement, and his doctor has determined that he can return to work normally or with restrictions in place while he recovers.

There are three different options for an employee to be reinstated to work:

  1. Return to work with work restrictions: The treating physician is responsible for deciding when the employee can return to work and under what conditions. Some injuries can temporarily or permanently limit the skills of the employee necessary to perform their job. If this happens, the doctor will make it known so the employer can make sure that the employee will not be exposed to situations that worsen his condition. For example, an employee who injured his back while lifting an item at work may be allowed to return to work with a lifting restraint.
  2. Full return to work while recovering from injury: If the employee’s injury or health allows him to return to work before completing his treatment, it should be the treating physician who communicates this decision. This decision will depend on the type of work, the progress of the injury, and other factors that can vary depending on each person.
  3. Return to full work after medical treatment is complete: Once you have finished receiving medical care for your injury, your doctor will state that you have achieved maximum medical improvement and may discharge you from treatment. In most cases, this involves authorization to return to full work, that is, in the capacity in which you were employed before your injury.


If you were injured on the job and need guidance on how to return to work in any way, our California workers’ compensation attorneys at Blanco and Arias can help.

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