Returning To Light Duty After A Workers’ Compensation Injury

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Robert Golan

In the majority of states, if a worker files for Worker’s Compensation benefits but is able to perform light duties, it is imperative that the employer permit the individual to return to the position he or she held previously, or an equivalent position.

What Does it Mean Compensation Wise to Return to Light Duty?

On the contrary, in some states, returning to work with a light duty status can signify that the employee will need to be paid Workers’ Compensation to account for the difference in salary; meaning that the person needs to be earning the same amount as before. Unfortunately, there are some employers who will say they do not have any positions available that could be classified as “light” in an attempt not to pay Workers’ Compensation.

Laws Change – How Does It Impact Permanent Disability Benefits?

Keep in mind that there are several states where the law has recently changed in an attempt to encourage employers to offer alternative or modified work to employees. The choice of whether or not to accept this offer can impact permanent disability benefits being awarded. For example, in California, if an employer offers a modified or alternative position, there will be a decrease in the amount of permanent disability benefits by 15 percent (the insurance company of the employer pays less). This is regardless whether or not the offer is accepted. The offer of a modified position must be work that is realistic and can be performed by the employee. If the employer does not offer this type of alternative work, permanent disability benefits will then increase by 15 percent (The employers insurance company will be obligated to pay more).

Decide to Return to Work?

If the decision is made to return to work for the previous employer, make certain that all restrictions given by a physician are known ahead of time. For example, not being able to lift over 20 pounds or sitting for than three hours at a time are just two examples of the types of restrictions that could be imposed. If the aforementioned employer does provide modified or light duty type of work, the employer cannot fire the employee if a physician deems it unsafe.

Contact Our Nassau Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Help

With all of the above said, if you are in need of information and further advisement, our Nassau Workers’ Compensation attorney, Robert Golan, PC, helps guide you through these sometimes uncertain waters. Additionally, our Nassau work injury lawyer can ensure you receive all benefits that are rightfully owed. Contact Robert Golan, PC to learn more at 516-586-3910.

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