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6 Questions You Should Ask Before Returning to Work After an Accident by Patricia Santucci

1. Will I ruin my lawsuit if I return to work?

Many people believe that their legal case is over if they return to work. This simply is not true. Plaintiffs in personal injury claims have a duty to mitigate their damages, which means that they are required to take reasonable steps to minimize their losses (ie. make the best of a bad situation). Unreasonably missing time from work can actually hurt your claim. Returning to work demonstrates a good work ethic and fulfils your duty to mitigate your damages. Even if you have returned to work, you can still claim for the income that you have lost while you were off work (past loss of income). Also, you may have a reduced capacity for working as a result of your injuries, which will lead to income loss into the future.

2. If I return to work does that mean I am okay?

Returning to work does not mean that you have made a full recovery or that your injuries or symptoms have disappeared. You may be returning to work out of financial necessity, or for some other reason. At Santucci Personal Injury Law, we understand that when people return to work after an accident, they often put all of their energy into their jobs causing, other aspects of their lives to suffer (such as: family, housework, hobbies and sports). We make sure that this evidence gets to the insurance company and/or judge or opposing lawyer.

3. Will I still qualify for accident benefits if I return to work?

You are still entitled to many statutory accident benefits (no-fault benefits), even if you have returned to work. These include medical and rehabilitation benefits such as physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment. You may even attempt to return to work within the first two years without affecting your entitlement to income replacement benefits. Any income you earn simply reduces the amount of your income replacement benefit during the time that you are working.

4. Does my doctor say I can work?

In order for an economic loss claim to be successful, a Plaintiff must prove that there is a medical basis for their inability to work after an accident. Just because you were involved in an accident does not automatically entitle you to compensation for being off work. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your family doctor or other treating physician has recommended that you take time off work.

5. Will working prevent me from getting better?

It is often the case that people actually feel better once they have returned to work. If your injuries are such that they do not prevent you from working at your job (as documented by a physician), then work distraction can sometimes reduce pain. Also, if you are able, returning to work as quickly as possible after an accident can reduce the financial impact on you and your family, and it can help you get back to your normal life.

6. Can going back to work too early be detrimental to my recovery?

If you rush back to work, against doctor’s orders, you may find that you have not made a full recovery and your symptoms may worsen. Often my clients worry about what others will think of them, leading them to return to work too soon. If you return to work too quickly after an accident, you may not be able to perform your job duties well. Furthermore, you may be risking your safety (or the safety of others depending on your job). There is also a good chance that you will make your injuries worse, or delay your healing. Therefore, it is essential that you only return to work when your doctor has said it is okay to do so. Sometimes even when a doctor approves a return to work, symptoms reappear or get worse, in which case it is important to go back to your doctor for another evaluation.

Get the Best Representation

Don’t question whether you have the best representation. Contact Santucci Personal Injury Law if you have been injured in an accident.

To obtain a free consultation, please contact our office by e-mail or call (905) 667-1987.

About the Author Patricia Santucci

Patricia Santucci is a personal injury lawyer born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She holds several degrees having attended King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, McMaster University, earned a Master of Arts degree at the University of Windsor and an Ontario Teaching Degree from Teacher’s College as well as her Ontario Teaching Certificate. After graduating from the University of Alberta law school she was called to the bar in 2000. You can find Patricia on and LinkedIn or directly through this website