If you are injured at work, your employer may be financially responsible for your injuries. Typically, this means that they must give you workers’ compensation. Light duty assignments can help injured employees gradually transition back to work while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. But many states offer an additional option as well: light duty.
Light Duty and Workers Compensation
Light duty and workers compensation provide similar benefits to an injured worker. Workers’ comp pays for your medical bills and lost wages while you are recovering from an injury. Light duty allows you to receive wages while performing work that is safe despite your injuries.
Your employer can offer you light-duty work in place of some of your workers’ comp benefits. In some situations, you are required to accept the offer. However, employers won’t always offer light duty, even when it is an option.
Injured workers typically recover faster when doing no work. Thus, even light duty might slow down how long it takes for you to return to your full duties.
Can You Receive Light Duty and Workers Compensation at the Same Time?
Most workers who receive light-duty work also receive workers’ comp at the same time. While light-duty work will pay for most or all of your wages, it doesn’t cover your medical bills. Workers’ comp still pays for those expenses.
Additionally, you may still get some of your salary from workers’ comp while performing light duties. Your employer is not required to pay you the same amount for light duties that they paid for your past duties. In this case, workers’ comp will make up the difference.
Light duty and workers compensation generally work together as much as they compete with each other.
When You Can Refuse Light Duty
While you are required to accept light duty when it is safe, this doesn’t ensure that your employer will always offer the right light-duty options. Your doctor makes the final decision about whether a specific type of light duty is appropriate.
Usually, your doctor will assess your condition as part of your treatment. Based on that assessment, your doctor will identify what type of work you can safely perform and how many hours per day or week you can safely work. Your employer must stay within those limits when offering you light duty.
Also, if you believe the light duty that your employer wants you to do is too strenuous, you can request your doctor to evaluate it. Even when an employer is acting in good faith, they might try to assign you a duty that is more than what you can currently endure.
What to Do if Your Employer Ignores Your Doctor’s Orders
Sadly, some employers will ignore your doctor’s restrictions and insist you continue to perform your normal duties. This risks aggravating your injuries. Even worse, employers often enforce these edicts by threatening to fire you.
This is illegal, and you should consult with a workplace injury lawyer immediately if this happens to you. Your attorney can contact your employer and request compliance with these laws. And if your employer refuses, your attorney can file a lawsuit to get you compensation for these actions.
Make sure you don’t accept the demands of your employer. Besides the risk to your health, doing so may also cost you compensation for your injuries.
Contact The Joel Bieber Firm to Learn More About Light Duty and Workers Compensation
When you suffer an injury on the job, your employer might offer you light duty while you recover. You may be eligible for other compensation for your injuries as well. To learn more about workers’ comp and light duty, contact the skilled team at The Joel Bieber Firm today.