Are fifteen-year-old work restrictions still valid?

by Teresa

I injured my shoulder at work 15 years ago. I have had 3 operations on my shoulder and still suffer pain. I was awarded workman's compensation in VA. I was released to go back to work under specific restrictions without any date that my restrictions would be lifted.

The company has respected these restrictions, but now I have a new boss that says the restrictions no longer apply. He has me doing work that causes me a great deal of pain. Even though my Dr's note is 15 years old, my problem with my shoulder still continues. Can a company do this? What is the time limit on medical work restrictions? What are my options? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Are fifteen-year-old work restrictions still valid?":

Teresa (VA):

There really isn't a time limitation on medical work restrictions. Once you reached a level of maximum medical improvement (MMI) you were probably shortly thereafter released to return to work.

If you are in pain it's incumbent upon you to seek medical care. Because your pain is still work-related you have a right to seek medical care under your employer's workers compensation insurance. Ask your workers comp representative to give you the names of several doctors. Go and see them. If a doctor determines you are unable to work because of your injury you may be entitled to further workers compensation benefits. If your pain is debilitating you may be entitled to a disability settlement award.

The State of Virginia is an "at-will" employment state. This means absent an employment contract your employer has a right to terminate your employment for just about any reason. He can't though fire you for filing a workers compensation claim.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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