How I return to work

After an injury or illness, returning to work safely and promptly can help in your recovery. It can also help you avoid financial losses from being off work. After you are hurt on the job, several people will work with you to decide when you are ready to return to work and what work you will do. These people include:

  • Your primary treating doctor
  • Your employer (supervisors or other in management)
  • The claims administrator
  • Your attorney, if you have one.

It is important that everyone stay in close contact throughout the process. You should actively communicate with your treating doctor, your employer and the claims administrator about:

  • The work you did before you were injured
  • Your medical condition and the kinds of work you can do now
  • The kinds of work your employer could make available to you or whether your job duties can be changed during your recovery.

Employers are also provided with incentives to get injured employees back to work as quickly as possible.

What if there is a disagreement about my rights to these benefits?

At some point during your claim, you or the claims administrator might disagree with what your treating physician reports about your injury or treatment. When there is a disagreement, you may be evaluated by a qualified medical evaluator (QME). To qualify as a QME, a physician must meet additional educational and licensing requirements. They must also pass a test and participate in ongoing education on the workers' compensation evaluation process. If you have an attorney, your attorney and your claims administrator might agree on a doctor to resolve medical disputes. This doctor is called an agreed medical evaluator (AME).

Want to learn more? Find it in the guidebook

Did you know?

  • You can contact the Information and Assistance Unit if you have questions or call the DWC Information Services Center at 1-800-736-7401 to speak to a live representative.
  • Your doctor will report to your claims administrator about your ability to return to work. You will receive an offer to return to regular, alternative or modified work - or not - from your employer, depending on what the doctor's report says.
  • You have a right to review the doctor's report. If you are not offered work and you have permanent disability, you are entitled to supplemental job displacement benefits.

Questions workers have:

March 2023