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My doctor won't release me to work Illinois

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  • My doctor won't release me to work Illinois

    I live in Illinois and am on WC due to pulled abdominal muscles from an injury at work when I was 6 mo.pregnant. At this point I have not had further testing to see if anything is major wrong because I was pregnant and could not receive therapy or treatment. One week before the baby was born I went to a final OB/GYN doctors visit ( Not WC doctor due to speciality) and the WC nurse was talking like as soon as the baby was born that my case would be closed. I went back to my doctor and asked if he signed off on my healing and he stated he would not for at least 6 weeks until post-partum was complete then I could be assessed if there was any further damage that may need therapy. I E-mailed the nurse and let her know the situation and informed her of my next appt. so she could get the correct info. The WC nurse did not show up for that exam and I had the baby the next day. WC stopped paying immediately. I phoned them and let them know I did not recieve a release to work and they said that I would have to go back to the doctor for a follow up visit with the WC nurse and that I had an appt. with a WC neurologist 4 weeks after my baby was born. The WC nurse came to my OB/GYN appt. and my doctor said I was NOT to be re-assessed by another doctor until post-partum was complete in 6 weeks and that I was not released to go back to work. I got a phone call today stating that I have to go to the WC neurologist even though I will not be compltely healed from my delivery and it is against my current doctors orders.
    IS this legal to force me to see another doctor when I am being told by the doctor that has treated my WC case from the start that I will not be healed enough to see a WC specialist? It seems that they just want to close the case as opposed to making sure that I am healed totally from my pregnancy first before being evaluated for the inital injury.

    Secondly, WC was not compensating me at the rate they were supposed to during my entire injury. They were paying like 40% instead of 66% and my work was paying the rest because of a miscommunication. I was receiving 50% from my work for STD. Is workers comp supposed to make up the difference? They said I am not supposed to receive more than 100% benefit which I never was during my whole injury. And technically I was using my STD hours to make up my pay which I should not have had to use all of them in the first place. Any help would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Claims involving expectant mothers are very complicated. For one, the regs just don't address pregnancy as it relates to WC. For something like a muscle pull, given that the body is affected by pregnancy, and in particular the abdomal muscles, it can be very tough to treat. Having just dealt with a similar case and having done a lot of reseach on the matter, I am not surprised it was handled as it was. If your doctor did not want you working as a result of the injury until you gave birth, which is not uncommon, the WC carrier would pay you while you were out.

    Once you gave birth, you were still "disabled" but as a result of the birth, not the pulled muscle. You could be paid by an internal or separate STD policy, but you probably wouldn't qualify for TTD. This is the case when an injured employee has any type of unrelated disabling medical event. Say, an unrelated surgery or severe illness.

    It is also not uncommon for the WC doctor to see you even if you are not able to undergo treatment if it is even needed. In your case, I'd be surprised if you do. If treatment is recommended, then it is reasonable to ask if it is safe to undergo it before you have healed from giving birth. It may be, it may not be. Waiting 6 weeks or so until you have recovered from the birth to even follow up on the injury, doesn't help you at all. I'm not sure why you are resistant to seeing this doctor.

    I'm bit confused by how you were paid. While some employers do supplement the 2/3 pay from WC, it is your employer who should be concerned if they were underpaying you, as you received all your usual pay. If you were not paid your average weekly wage, then need to call the carrier and ask why not. I can only begin to guess why you might be paid the wrong amount.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.