Problems getting paid after on-the-job hand injury...

by Vincent
(Bakersfield, CA)

I work for a property management company in California. I sliced open the top of my right hand reaching into a trash can. After I went to the Dr I was told it would take 2 weeks to heal. I am not allowed to use my right hand for 5 days, then put on a 5 lb lifting limit for 10 days.

The Dr said I could work with those restrictions, but my direct supervisor told me the company wants me to take the time to rest and fully heal. I was also told that I would be paid 100%. They where not sure if the company first aid was going to pay my medical bills, or workers' comp, but I was told I would receive my normal pay check.

My injury was on 10-1-2014 and on 10-15-14 I turned in my time sheet. I was then told that I would only be getting paid for 1 hour, and workers' comp will handle the rest. As a side note, I get paid the 18th, so they waited until 3 days before I got paid to tell me I'm not getting that even legal?

My questions are: Will workers' comp pay me if a doctor said I can work, but the company won't allow me to, even when there's plenty of light duty work to do? Also, can a company promise to pay at 100% and then 3 days before pay day decide not to pay me?

I did ask multiple times to come in and work, and was told every time to go home and relax. Thanks for any info you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Problems getting paid after on-the-job hand injury...":

Vincent (Bakersfield, CA):

You are in a precarious position. You should be paid by workers' compensation for the time you can't work pursuant to a doctor's orders.

For your employer not to allow you to work seems rather harsh. While as an employee you work at the discretion of your employer, if your employer won't permit you to work, then technically you aren't losing any income due to the injury.

Go over the head of your employer. Speak directly with the claims adjuster assigned to your claim. Explain the doctor has certified you to return to work, albeit modified duty. Further explain you are ready, willing, and able to work. While there is no guarantee the insurance adjuster will see it your way, you should at least try.

Finally, employers are not permitted by law to terminate the employment of a worker because he or she filed a workers' comp claim. In this case, there is a good argument you were effectively terminated as a direct result of filing your claim.

If that's the case, seek the advice and counsel of an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Most won't charge for an initial office consultation. If your attorney is able to prove you were illegally terminated from your employment, you may be entitled to damages beyond your normal compensation.

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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