re-injured after returning to work

Returning to work after an injury is a significant milestone.

However, for some individuals, the recovery process and journey back to the workplace can take an unexpected turn when they find themselves facing a re-injury. 

If you have recently been re-injured after returning to work in Arkansas, it’s important to know what to do and how this could affect your rights and recovery moving forward.

Use our guide below to learn more and contact us today to see how the Cottrell Law Office can help you.  

When to Return to Work After a Lump Sum Settlement

A common question people have after sustaining a workplace injury and obtaining a settlement payment is when to return to work. 

While there is no universal answer to this question, below are a few tips to help you determine when the time might be right for you to return to work: 

  • Adhere to your provider’s advice throughout your recovery regarding any rehabilitation exercises or therapies; 
  • Consult with your healthcare provider to assess your physical readiness to return to the workplace; 
  • Listen to your body and recognize your own limitations; 
  • Review the terms of your settlement agreement, if any, that may describe any conditions or limitations on your return to work; and
  • Consult with legal counsel if you have questions or concerns about handling your situation. 

Many are eager to get back in the swing of things. However, it’s important to remember that if you return to work after a workers’ comp injury too quickly, you risk re-injury, which can result not only in additional pain and expense but also further time away from work while you recover from your new injuries.

How to Pursue Another Workers’ Comp Settlement After Returning to Work and Sustaining Another Injury

Under Arkansas’s workers’ compensation system, workers’ comp coverage is paid by employers at no cost to the employee. This coverage will pay for reasonably necessary medical care and provide other compensation if you sustain an on-the-job injury. 

Generally speaking, workers’ compensation will also apply to workers who are re-injured after returning to work, even if they have already received a settlement for the original injury.

However, to qualify for these benefits, there are certain steps you will need to take, including:  

  • Reporting your re-injury to your employer as soon as possible; 
  • Seeking assessment and treatment from an approved medical provider; 
  • Complying with any treatment and rehabilitation requirements provided by your medical provider; and 
  • Completing all necessary paperwork and cooperating with your employer and their workers’ compensation carrier in a timely manner throughout the process. 

Although you may be entitled to workers’ compensation after a re-injury, failure to comply with the proper steps and requirements can result in a denial of benefits. 

Pre-Existing Injury vs. Re-Injury

Generally speaking, workers’ compensation does not provide benefits for pre-existing injuries that did not arise in the course of your job duties.

As such, some employers may attempt to deny a re-injury claim on the basis that the subsequent injury was pre-existing. 

Notably, however, if your re-injury was the result of a new accident that occurred after you had recovered from the original injury and returned to work, you may have valid grounds to appeal this denial.

Thus, if the subsequent accident caused new injuries or an aggravation or worsening of your original injury, you may still be entitled to pursue additional workers’ compensation benefits through a separate claim. 

If you believe that your claim after re-injury has been wrongfully denied, speak with an experienced Arkansas personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your rights and options today. 

Cottrell Law Office: Your Trusted Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Navigating the aftermath of any injury can be a painful, emotional, and stressful process.

However, things can feel especially disheartening when you’ve been re-injured after finally recovering from your initial injury and returning to work.

While the process is not always easy, know you don’t have to go through this alone. At the Cottrell Law Office, we have more than 32 years of experience helping our clients in Arkansas and the surrounding areas as they move forward after their injuries.

When you’re ready to discuss your recovery, call us to schedule your free consultation and see what our team can do for you.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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