returning to work after a car accident

Can Returning to Work Too Soon Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim?

Getting back to normal after a personal injury is a time-consuming process, which is why so many people jump back into regular life before they are truly ready. Unfortunately, forcing yourself back to “normal” too soon can impact your healing and even your personal injury claim. Learn more about how to protect your personal injury claim during this transition.

Have you suffered a personal injury because of someone else’s negligence? You’re not alone. We’re here to help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 800-574-4332 to set up a consultation.

Scrutiny from Insurance Companies

When you’re injured by someone else, your claim is typically taken over by their insurance company. This is good, because insurance companies are much more likely to have the money needed to pay out your settlement. It’s also bad, though, because insurance companies spend a lot of resources trying to avoid paying out claims.

After an injury, you can expect everything you do to be scrutinized by the insurance company. They want to find any evidence that you are not as injured as you claim, since this evidence allows them to deny a settlement completely or decrease what they are willing to pay.

This extends to your work habits. If you’re asking for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering, but you’re back to work weeks earlier than expected, they may push back.

What Happens If You Go Back to Work Too Soon?

This is even more relevant if you go back to work earlier than your doctor explicitly recommends. If your doctor says you’ll be out of work for at least one month and you go back in one week, that isn’t just a sign that your injury is healing better than expected. It’s a sign that you don’t take your recovery seriously, and the insurance company will claim that they shouldn’t have to pay for your medical bills and expenses if you are putting your health at risk.

Of course, this is an unfair assessment—people go to work earlier than recommended because they have bills to pay and other obligations to meet. However, that is how the insurance company will look at your return to work.

Long-Term Health and Financial Effects

Not only can returning to work too early affect your settlement, it can be a serious detriment to your health. When you first return to work, you may feel physically fine and healthy. As you continue to push yourself each day, you could actually be worsening your current injuries or hindering the healing process. This might allow you to get back to work immediately, but the long-term health issues you cause could take you out of the workforce earlier than expected.

Of course, this decision also impacts your personal injury claim. If you go back to work and you suddenly stop making progress on your recovery, the insurance company will ask questions. They’ll wonder if you are hurting your chances at recovery by working, and if so, they may refuse to pay for further treatment. They might claim that they are only responsible for paying for injuries caused by their client, not injuries caused by your insistence on returning to work early.

Assume You Are Under Investigation

You’re the victim in this, but the insurance company doesn’t look at it the same way. Remember, you have opposing goals. Yours is to get a full and fair settlement for your injury. Theirs is to give away as little of their money as possible while protecting themselves from a lawsuit.

Because of this, it’s likely that you will be under investigation during your claim. They are looking for any signs that your injury is fraudulent, overblown, or drawn out. Whenever you make a decision, whether it’s ignoring your doctor’s advice or trying out a new sport when you’re healing from a leg injury, consider how it will look to the insurance company.

Prove Your Commitment to Healing

Following your doctor’s orders shows your commitment to healing. Part of proving your claim to the insurance company is showing that you are just a regular accident victim who wants to get back to normal life as soon as possible. If you skip doctor’s appointments or ignore their treatment recommendations, that’s a red flag to the insurance company. It may look like you are intentionally dragging the healing process out to spend more time away from work or get more money from the insurance company.

Your goal is to heal, return to your regular life, and hold the liable party accountable. Sticking to your doctor’s orders is a key part of reaching all of these goals.

Avoid Mistakes That Call Your Credibility into Question

When you are seeking compensation from an insurance company, know that your credibility is on the line. They are looking for any sign that your claim isn’t what you say it is. Missing a doctor’s appointment is a simple mistake, one that any of us can make. However, to an insurance company, it’s a mistake that weakens your credibility as a victim. If you must miss an appointment, call ahead of time and reschedule it so you don’t have a negative mark on your medical record.

Don’t Lower Your Claim’s Value

Not only is sticking to your doctor’s orders key for the healing process, it is crucial if you want to get the maximum amount of money for your claim. Remember, the insurance company will do whatever they can to offer you less money. Imagine this: your doctor recommends weekly physical therapy appointments to assist in healing. They also give you a strict medication protocol to control your pain.

Avoid These Issues with the Help of an Attorney

We understand that this is a tough position to be in. It is hard to be off of work and not know how your upcoming bills will be paid. However, ignoring your doctor’s advice can hurt you physically and financially. It is important to find a personal injury attorney you trust. We can help you navigate these challenging times, and we’ll fight for a prompt, full, and fair settlement that lets you meet your obligations while still protecting your health.

Contact Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Today

A personal injury can leave you with a pile of medical bills, lost income, property damage, and plenty of stress. That’s why it’s important to connect with a reliable personal injury attorney as soon as possible and start the claims process. At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, we have extensive experience holding insurance companies accountable and fighting for our clients’ right to a fair settlement. Get started now by calling us at 800-574-4332 or contacting us online.

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