When returning to work after suffering a work-related injury, you may still be recovering and not able to perform all the duties you were responsible for before your injury. If so, your doctor may issue a light-duty work restriction. This restriction lets your employer know that you are unable to perform tasks that are physically or mentally demanding.
Unfortunately, employers often disregard these orders and pressure employees into doing work they are not physically fit to perform. At Miller, Dawson, Sigal & Ward Injury Attorneys, we can help if your employer is abusing their power. Our experienced legal team will fight to protect you and ensure that your employer gives you the time you need to heal.
Reach out to us today for a free case review with one of our workers’ comp lawyers in North Charleston.
Details About Work Restrictions
If you were hurt on the job, your doctor may issue a work restriction when you return to work if you have not fully recovered from your injuries. Depending on your injuries, a work restriction can be temporary or permanent. When planning to return to work, your doctor will submit a work restriction letter to your employer detailing the terms of the restriction.
Once your employer has received this letter, they will contact you to discuss your options for returning to work. Your employer will have the choice to let you return or wait until you have fully healed from your injuries. If they let you return to work, they will be required to provide reasonable accommodation to help you complete your job duties.
Reasonable accommodations can include:
- Assigning you to a different job than the one you previously performed
- Changing your work hours
- Making modifications to your workspace
- Providing you with tools that can assist you in completing your duties
If your employer ignores your work restrictions, you have the right to sue your employer to recover damages if your injuries worsen as a result.
What Qualifies as Light Duty
The specifics of a light-duty restriction will depend on the type of injuries you sustained and their severity. If you have not fully recovered from a back injury, your light-duty restriction may state that you are unable to lift heavy objects. Meanwhile, if you are recovering from a wrist or hand injury, you may be limited in the amount of time you can spend typing on a keyboard.
If you sustained a traumatic brain injury, your light-duty restriction may limit the amount of time you can spend staring at a computer screen. Whatever the restrictions imposed by a light-duty order from your doctor, the details will be included in the letter they send to your employer.
The Effect of a Light-Duty Work Restriction on Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits
When you return to work on a light-duty work restriction, you need to understand that your workers’ compensation benefits will end or be significantly reduced. Workers’ comp benefits are awarded based on the limitations that an injury puts on your ability to earn income.
Therefore, your benefits will stop if you return to work at a light-duty job that pays as much or more than your previous position. However, if you return to work at a reduced pay rate from your previous position, you’ll still receive partial disability benefits to make up for the gap between your pay rates.
Know Your Rights
It is critical that you understand your rights after suffering a workplace injury. From claiming workers’ comp benefits to returning to work on a light-duty restriction, you need to know your options for protecting yourself.
The best way to ensure you are taking all the steps necessary to protect yourself after a workplace injury is by working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Your personal injury lawyer can explain all your legal options and protect you from misconduct by your employer or the insurance company.
Get Help From an Attorney After Suffering Further Injury Due to a Violation of Your Light-Duty Restriction
When your employer allows you to return to work after receiving a light-duty restriction from your doctor yet fails to uphold the light-duty order and pressures you into performing tasks you are not yet physically or mentally equipped to do, you have the right to pursue legal action. An experienced lawyer can help you file a lawsuit to get the money you deserve.
The Thumbs Up Guys have a long history of helping those who suffered further injury due to an employer violating a light-duty restriction. Our team of experienced workers’ comp lawyers will work diligently to ensure you recover the compensation you need. Contact us today by phone or through our website to schedule a free no-obligation case evaluation.