What Does Light Duty Work Mean in a Workers’ Compensation Case?
You were injured on the job. After months of recovery, the doctor has given you permission to return to “light duty work.” What does this mean? And how can this affect you as an employee?
Let’s give you a brief explanation of light duty. After a workplace accident, the employer and insurance want to make sure you get back to work as soon as possible. However, it’s up to the doctor to make that call. Sometimes, a doctor will allow an injured worker to return to work with restrictions. So for example, if you work in a warehouse and were injured, the doctor may allow you to go back to work but you won’t be able to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds. This may mean the employee may be reassigned to do another job until the worker is well enough to return to his/her old position.
Light duty work is considered a temporary measure for an employee to get back to full-time work. The employer has its worker back and the employee can be productive once more. However, there are problems with the system.
As we stated, both employers and insurers want injured employees to return to work sooner rather than later. By doing so, workers’ compensation benefits will lessen when the employee returns to work. This means both employers and insurance agencies may pressure injured workers into coming to work, even if it’s against medical advice.
Is it possible to turn down light duty work? No. Your employer then has the right to terminate your temporary disability benefits and fire you. This is especially the case if you have been cleared to return to work. However, if you do feel that you are being rushed into light duty work, you should speak with your doctor about your reservations.
It’s important that your employer knows exactly what your limitations are. Make sure your doctor includes things such as how long you can sit or stand, weight lifting restrictions, and if you need to avoid doing certain tasks such as bending or reaching.
If you feel you are being pressured into doing light duty work for by your employer, You need to know what legal options are available to you. Contact workers’ compensation attorney Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.