Yes, in Wisconsin workers comps covers missed work, if an injured worker has a work-related injury or condition. As a legal and practical matter, an injury or condition is going to be considered work-related if the treating physician says so. When an injured worker has missed work with a doctor’s excuse stating that the man or woman either cannot work at all or can only work with restrictions (and the employer cannot accommodate those restrictions) he or she is halfway to receiving worker’s compensation benefits. The other half of the equation is the doctor must also state causation – the reason for the inability to work is work-related. Work-related means the injury was caused directly by an on the job traumatic incident or aggravated beyond normal progression by a traumatic accident, or the work-related condition was caused in part by on the job duties over time.
The most common reason workers compensation benefits are initially denied, even though an injured has missed work, is that the worker’s compensation insurance company is not given an off work slip by the worker’s doctor laying out that the worker cannot work and the reason is a work-related injury or condition. It sounds simple, and it is, but it has to be done. The injured worker has the responsibility to make sure the off work slip gets from the doctor’s office to the insurance adjuster and the employer. Relying on the doctor’s office is risky business. Also, while a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner can provide continuing off work slips and temporary restrictions, the ultimate work-related causation question and any permanent injury opinion can only be given by a doctor. At McCormick Law Office we advise our clients to get an off work slip at every doctor appointment before they leave the doctor’s office. Then the worker should provide a copy to the employer and the insurance adjuster.
If a doctor says an injured worker can return to work with restrictions and the employer has a job within those restrictions, the injured employee should try to do the job. Refusing to give it a try may result in worker’s compensation benefits being cutoff. If the injured worker returns to work with restrictions and finds that the restrictions are not being followed by the employer or even with the restrictions the worker cannot do the job safely or without causing further injury, then the worker should stop, report the problem to the employer and go to the doctor and tell him or her. McCormick Law Office attorneys get the best results for workers comp injured workers when there is good communication between the worker, the doctor’s office, the employer and the insurance company.