Workers’ Compensation Tips #2

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Workers’ compensation issues can be complex. This series provides the answers to some of the most common questions people ask about workers’ compensation. For more information, see our extensive frequently asked questions page.

Can my employer tell me where to get medical treatment? 

No, it is against the law for your employer to direct your medical care. You are free to seek medical care with a provider of your choosing. If you don’t know where to go, your primary care doctor is usually a good place to start. If your employer has directed your care, alert the ombudsman for injured workers at 503-378-3351.

What if my doctor takes me off of work for my injury?

The insurer has to pay you time loss (wage replacement benefits) when your doctor takes you off work for your work injury. The insurer must also pay you time loss when your doctor indicates you can do modified work, but your employer does not have modified work available and you remain off of work. You must obtain regular work restrictions from your doctor in order to be entitled to ongoing time loss benefits. In most situations, your doctor must update your work restrictions about every 30 days.

I’m doing modified work for my employer but what do I do when they give me work beyond my restrictions?

Unfortunately, this is a common problem. The best way to handle this is to have a copy of your doctor’s work restrictions with you at work. If you are asked to do work that is outside of your restrictions, politely point out that what you are being asked to do is outside your doctor’s restrictions. Make clear that you want to do modified work, but that you cannot physically do what is being asked of you. Talk with your attending physician about any problems you are having to see if the doctor can clarify or further restrict the work you are being released to. It is very important that your doctor and employer do not think you just don’t want to work. If the doctor thinks you are trying to shirk work, it creates real problems with your claim.