Getting pushed back to work while dealing with serious pain?

by Eugene
(Monroe, Louisiana)

In November 2013 I was hit head-on in an automotive accident while at work. The collision resulted in injuries to my knee, back, and shoulder. I recently had surgery on my shoulder in August 2014, but it did not work to relieve my pain.

I still have pain in my back, shoulder and knee. The doctor says there is nothing they can do with surgery. I'm in pain daily, especially when I'm doing normal activities such as cleaning around the house. I take medication that makes me drowsy. But I have a hard time sleeping, therefore I am on medication from my psych doctor.

Workers' compensation assigned a vocational manager and they're trying to force me back to work, but my medical doctor keeps putting me on light duty. How can I work while I'm in pain and while taking this medication that makes me drowsy? My doctor doesn't understand how much serious pain I'm in, and he cannot control it. What can I do?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Getting pushed back to work while dealing with serious pain?":

Eugene (Monroe, Louisiana):

Ask your workers' compensation claims adjuster to give you the name of another insurance company approved doctor. Tell the adjuster you want a second opinion. You have that right.

It is clear you don't believe your present doctor is sensitive to your medical needs. Hopefully a second doctor’s evaluation of your injuries and your lessened ability to work will be more persuasive to your employer and to the insurance company

If that doesn't work, you may be in a precarious position. Unless you are represented by a union which can intercede on your behalf, or you are working pursuant to a written contract of employment, you may have to agree to the light duty work, albeit in pain and while drowsy.

Otherwise you may have to seek alternate employment. Without a written contract of employment or union appellate rights, your employer is legally permitted to either modify your work duties to a level the employer and doctor feel are appropriate, or terminate your employment.

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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