If you were injured while in your place of work or while performing a work-related task off-site, you might be offered light duty work if your doctor believes it will not harm your ability to recover from your injuries. This type of work could be a modified version of what you typically do, but it is often a totally new assignment that is unlike your previous assignment. Any light duty work you engage in must be in accordance with the medical restrictions your doctor provides.
Examples of light duty work might include shorter hours, duties that involve less physical labor, or work that permits you to operate at a slower pace that does not overexert you or aggravate your injuries. Additionally, these types of jobs might also involve supervising or reporting on job sites, performing office work, monitoring surveillance cameras, or performing equipment maintenance.
However, before you accept or refuse an offer of light duty work, it is important to understand how either decision might potentially affect you.
Here is what you should know about light duty work:
- Light duty work can possibly threaten your workers’ compensation claim: Whether you accept or refuse light duty work, your workers’ compensation claim can ultimately be impacted by either decision. How is this possible? If you accept light duty work and the wage you earn is either more or the same as what you made prior to your injury, your payments for lost wages will cease. If the wage you earn is less than what you made prior to your injury, you will receive partial disability benefits. On the other hand, if you refuse light duty work, your employer might petition a judge to modify or terminate your workers’ compensation benefits.
- If you are forced back to work by a doctor employed by your company, you can seek a second opinion: In some cases, employees might be forced back to work by their employers through a company-paid doctor. The worst part is that these workers are often much too injured to return to work, but still accept their new light duty jobs out of fear that their benefits will come to an end. However, you have the right to pursue a second opinion, though it will be at your own expense. If your doctor agrees that you are too injured to return to work, you can refuse to accept light duty work. Chances are that your employer will file a petition to have your benefits modified, suspended, or even terminated, but they will not actually stop until your case is reviewed by a judge.
- Your workers’ compensation benefits are still available while you are performing light duty work: If the light duty work you perform pays less than what you made before you sustained your injury, you would be entitled to receive partial disability payments. Additionally, you workers’ compensation will continue to pay for all necessary work-related medical expenses. If you are laid off, fired without cause, or if your doctor advises you to no longer perform your light duty assignment, your full workers’ compensation benefits may resume.
If you are being pressured or forced to return back to work after sustaining a job-related injury, but are still too injured, it is crucial to seek skilled legal representation to protect your rights.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Orange County
Injured workers in California have the right to receive crucial workers’ compensation benefits that can assist them during their time of need. At Alvandi Law Group, P.C., our team of Orange County attorneys have served Southern California for over 30 years and recovered over $300 million on behalf of our clients. You can be confident in our ability to effectively represent you.
For the legal assistance you deserve, reach out to our team today and call (800) 980-6905 and schedule your free case evaluation.