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Home | Blog | Work capacity and failed attempts to return to work

When a person is seriously injured or ill and has to cease work, the number one goal for the injured person and their medical team is usually getting back to work. If you cannot return to your usual occupation then alternatives will be considered and tried. When an insurance claim for TPD benefits is made the focus is often on the date last worked. So does a failed attempt to return to work alter that “date last worked?” It can legitimately be argued that it does not.

Date last worked

An example of this includes where you only return on restricted hours or light duties due to the illness or injury. If you get work with a host employer arranged by an insurer or some other sympathetic employer such as a friend or family member then it is likely your attempt to return to work can be ignored for TPD purposes. Other examples of where you may be able to discount or ignore a return to work are if you have not been able to carry out the full extent of duties required of the role due to the ongoing effects of injury or illness, had time off due to the injury, can only do the duties with increased pain medication and after work you are incapacitated for non work activities and need to rest.

Ultimately what counts is if you struggle to complete and ultimately do not succeed in your attempt to return to work due to the same injury or illness you are claiming for. In those circumstances chances are you can ignore that return to work for insurance purposes.

Things to consider

If you are considering making a TPD claim this should not deter you from attempting a return to some form of work if you can. Often a return to work trial that fails can be used as the best evidence of your capacity (or incapacity) for work. Quite often insurers and independent doctors engaged by insurers will speculate that if someone has not attempted a return to work that they may be able to. This can make a TPD claim difficult to succeed. Where an attempt has been made but failed then this avenue of speculation is taken away from the insurer.

Turn to Turner Freeman

TPD claims and the insurance terms which govern them can be complex. If you would like a free no obligation review of your circumstances and prospects of claiming please contact us on 13 43 63.

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