Getting back to work after an accident is a process and one that you should take seriously. Hurrying back before you’re ready, or taking too long without cause can both leave you hurting, so it’s important to hit the bullseye when returning.

Businesses lost over $52 billion to wages and productivity because of accidents in 2018, the most recent data from the National Safety Council. When you’re adding to that number, it can be hard to know the right time to return, but threading the needle can be crucial to your recovery.

Workers’ compensation can be a complex process, with lots of steps to get help and keep it. Once you have your benefits, it’s still important to understand that it’s an ongoing matter that can change as soon as your status does.

Too soon

You might put yourself at risk if you look to get back to work too soon. There’s a risk of reinjuring what took you away in the first place, and you could put your benefits at risk if your earnings are too high. If your doctor recommends that you head back to work, you could seek another opinion, request limited duty or try your hand at a less demanding position until you improve.

Too late

On the other side of the coin, you may run into trouble if you overstay your welcome with workers’ compensation. If your doctor gives you the green light, you may be forfeiting your coverage if you don’t return to work. And while workers’ compensation covers income, it doesn’t protect your job itself. Your employer may need to fill your position, leaving you out of the job.

Just right

If you’re ready to leave behind continual workers’ compensation, you’ll have to inform the Workers’ Compensation Board and whoever is paying for your benefits. This could lead to a termination of your financial assistance, but there are conditions where you might continue to get some help. If your injury causes you to earn less than you were before, then you may be able to make up some of that difference.

Marking the right date on your calendar can be a complicated process that takes a team of people to figure out. Make sure you’re fit to return, and you could leave that work accident behind you.