(910) 341-3202

Can My Employer Force Me to Return to Work Early After an Injury?

Have you been injured at work? Speak with one of the Workers Compensation Attorneys at Prior, Criner & Edwards.

Call today to discuss your options (910) 341-3202


It can be very frustrating when you’ve been injured due to a workplace accident and your employer is requesting your return before a full recovery. Your job is important, but so is your health, and that should always be your number one priority.

Returning to work can only happen when you’re physically capable of doing your job. Your doctor determines when that time is, and your employer cannot override an authorized approval. If you go against your physician’s orders and return to work, you’ll lose your workers’ compensation benefits. That also means that if you then decide you should not have returned yet and try to take more time off, you will not receive any benefits and you’ll be at risk of your employer replacing you.

One option your employer has is creating a temporary position that fits within your physical restrictions. They must present this as a formal job offer, otherwise you are not obligated to take it. A temporary job offer must also be approved by your doctor first, which you must accept if it’s accepted. If the job is approved and you decide not to take it, you will lose the right to compensation for loss of wages. You’ll still be entitled to medical care coverage, but you won’t receive any wages until you return to work.

If you believe you’re ready to return to work but still have some doubts, you have the option to try a “trial” return to your position, the conditions of which are agreed upon by you, your doctor, and your employer. Keep in mind that this trial period cannot last more than nine months. If, during the trial period you decide you cannot fulfill your duties, you may leave your position until you’ve recovered enough to return at 100% capability. You will still receive full workers’ compensation even if the trial is not successful.

No employer should ever pressure you to return to work if you’re legally permitted to recover at home for a specified time. At Prior, Criner & Edwards Attorneys, we have worked with clients that battled with their employers over this issue, sometimes even losing workers’ compensation rights due to an employer violation. It’s important to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney when it comes to these situations to maintain your workers’ compensation rights. Don’t fight this alone. We offer free consultations at our firm to get you started on your case. Contact us today so we can help you through any issues you may be having with your employer.

Call today for a free consultation and explore your options - (910) 341-3202

Our Attorneys

Our attorneys specialize in workman's comp, personal injury, and dispute resolution services.

We have have a long history of building long-term client relationships founded on trust and mutual respect.


Frank Prior - Attorney

Frank Prior

With over 25 years of experience in civil litigation and thousands of cases mediated, Frank specializes in the fields of workers compensation and personal injury law.

Sherman Lee Criner - Attorney

Sherman Lee Criner

Sherman is Licensed to Practice Law in North and South Carolina. He has extensive education in law and the mediation practice, professional experience and impressive memberships in many noteworthy political, civic and business organizations.

Ashley Edwards - Attorney

Ashley M. Edwards

Ashley is a NC attorney and certified mediator in North and South Carolina, Ashley has represented hundreds of clients and mediated thousands of cases for attorneys, insurance carriers and private companies. 

Client Feedback

“These guys are awesome and care about their clients very much. I would suggest anyone hurt on the job to contact them. Cannot express my appreciation enough to them!"

Trevor P.

“Ashley Edwards genuinely cares about his clients and holds himself to the highest standards in all of his professional interactions. I am happy to recommend him to anyone who needs help navigating the workers compensation process."

Patrick H.

“Ashley has been practicing compensation law in the greater Wilmington area for 15+ years. I have often turned to him for advice and counsel. He knows the law, is trustworthy, listens to his clients, and fights to do the right thing for them. He is my first call!"

Channing E.

“Mr Edwards made my case feel like it was his most important case. He is so caring and attentive."

Renee M.

“This was the first and only law firm I contacted after being injured. Everyone there has been on point concerning my case and extremely professional. I highly recommend contacting workers comp first if injured. It will be as if it's the most important case they have and they will not disappoint. Thank you to the entire team."

Stephen H.

“Wonderful Experience under difficult circumstances. They helped me understand my rights and options under the law. Mr. Edwards took the time to help and meet with me whenever I had questions. He is highly recommended for his expert advice and service. "

Ashley M.

“This is the place to go if you get hurt on the job Ashley and his paralegal Janet are really nice and super easy to talk to and they take the time to really listen to your problems and get you the help you need and deserve."

Anthony R.

“They came out took out time to listen very smart he knows what he's talking about he heard me out and took my case under difficult sircumstances and i highly advise this is the law firm to consider."

Marlo C.

“Sherman is one of the best mediators that I know---he is extremely proficient in Workers' Compensation Law and he is an outstanding communicator. I give Sherman my highest rating!"

Peer Review - Lawyers.com

“Great Experience with a caring lawyer who took the time to actually meet with me. He handled my case to the end and explained everything. Highly recommended."


“Ashley is very knowledgeable and relatable to his clients, to opposing counsel, and to all parties when acting as mediator. "

Peer Review - Lawyers.com

“Ashley didn't always tell me what I wanted to hear but he always told me the truth. He is very knowledgeable and professional... I would highly recommend Ashley if you feel the need to hire an attorney. "


Get in touch with our team for a free consultation.

Call (910) 341-3202 or complete the form on this page and we'll follow-up with you as soon as possible.


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Wilmington Workers Compensation Attorneys