If you are released to return to work full duty then you should at least attempt to return to work, even if you do not feel able to do so. If you try to work and cannot perform your job duties, advise your employer if you experience additional pain while working. If you are “written up,” for failing to perform certain physical activities due to your injuries you should obtain a copy of that report, and immediately forward a copy of it to your attorney.
If you have not exhausted all medical options available to enable you to work at your pre-injury level, then you should request to return to the workers’ compensation physician. Explain to the doctor what occurred when you performed a particular activity at work, and why you feel that you need more time off to recuperate. If the doctor recommends additional treatment to help you improve function and directs you to postpone returning to work, then you are entitled to receive continued temporary disability benefits.
If the insurance carrier ignores your request, then you may seek a second opinion through your health insurance, to determine whether you need additional treatment. Remember, you are only entitled to receive temporary disability if you are unable to work and are receiving active medical treatment. Your attorney may utilize the office note of your second opinion doctor to file a “Motion for Medical and Temporary Disability Benefits.” The downside to using a treating medical doctor is that it is difficult and expensive to persuade a doctor with an active medical practice to testify in Court on your behalf. However, at least obtaining such a report can get your attorney in front of a Judge of Compensation, to discuss your injuries.
If you do not have health insurance, then your attorney may send you to an independent medical examiner, although that doctor would not render medical treatment. Such experts may charge up to $600 for an examination and a written report regarding your injuries and treatment recommendations. The benefit of using an independent medical examiner is that he usually has more experienced testifying in Court, and it is practically easier and less expensive to get such an expert into the courthouse, as opposed to a doctor who treats patients on a daily basis.