Visitor Question

Workers comp wants me to return to work ten days after surgery?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Floence, Kentucky)

I work for retail setting isles and planograms for our store. I stepped down off a ladder and turned, and tore my meniscus. I spend an entire month dealing with workers comp claims before being scheduled for surgery on my meniscus tear. I had surgery 10 days ago and have already had physical therapy (PT), which started 4 days after surgery.

My Dr gave me modifications of NO ACTIVITY for the following: Lifting, Carrying, Pushing/pulling, squatting, bending, twisting, operating heavy equipment, and climbing ladders and scaffolding. I also must use my crutch and continue my PT (4 more weeks).

I can’t bear a lot of weight on my left leg for it’s still very painful and I am taking pain meds for comfort. On my work note in bold letters it states, “PAIN MEDICATION SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN DURING WORK HOURS, WHILE DRIVING OR OPERATING ANY EQUIPMENT.”

I’m so stressed that I’m being forced to return to work with modifying restrictions when I haven’t even partially healed. Any suggestions to what I can do? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

Ask your employer for a written detailed description of your job and its specific duties. Take the description back to your treating physician. Ask the physician to more specifically identify the types of work duties you are able to perform, and those you are not. Also ask your physician to call your employer and discuss the matter.

Kentucky’s Workers Compensation laws state, when as a result of a workplace injury the worker is unable to perform work for which he or she has previous training or experience, he or she is entitled to vocational rehabilitation services, including retraining and job placement, as may be reasonably necessary to restore the worker to suitable employment.

Kentucky Revised Statutes, Section 342.710

The Department of Workers’ Claims employs specialists (Ombudsman) to assist workers who are not represented by an attorney. However, these specialists cannot provide legal advice or act as your legal representative. You can reach a Ombudsman by e-mail at or you can call them at 800-554-8601.

No one can force you to return to work. However, if you choose not to return your employer is permitted to dismiss you and hire another worker to fill your spot.

Learn more here: Returning to Work After an Injury

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

Best of luck,


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