Often when an Illinois worker is hurt his or her doctor will impose medical restrictions during treatment that require the worker to stay off work for a period of time. Similarly, the doctor may impose restrictions limiting the type of work the injured worker may due. If this happens, a workers' compensation attorney can help insure that you are afforded compensation for the time you may be forced to miss, among other benefits you are entitled to under Illinois workers' compensation law.
However, when a doctor makes recommendations regarding your ability to handle physically demanding activity, it is not just a free pass to stay off work. The doctor's diagnosis and restrictions should be taken seriously and applied to everyday life as well. Ignoring the doctor's directions may not only be detrimental to your recovery, but also may have negative repercussions on your eligibility for workers' compensation benefits.
In order to avoid paying workers' compensation benefits to their injured workers, employers may use surveillance techniques to try and prove the worker is not actually hurt, or that they are not as hurt as they claim they are. Even if the worker has a note from his or her doctor, if the employer can produce surveillance evidence that the worker is capable of physically demanding work, the courts may agree to cut off benefits. In recent cases in and around Chicago, workers' benefits have been discontinued due to video evidence of participation in activities such as raking gravel, dumping trash, or even carrying bags of groceries.
These instances make it clear that it is important to follow your doctor's instructions. Even though you may feel capable of typical daily household chores, if your doctor has placed restrictions on your physical exertions, you should heed his or her advice. Not only is it important for your recovery from whatever condition you may be suffering from, but also to ensure your employer doesn't find a way to get out of providing you the benefits you deserve.