One thing that you, your employer and your employer’s workers’ compensation provider can agree on after a work injury is that everyone wants you to be able to return to work as quickly and as safely as possible. For many injured workers, the prospect of returning in a full capacity may not be an option while they work to recover, but they could be physically able to perform some light duty work. But what happens if you agree to take on some part-time or light duty work and your employer doesn’t follow the restrictions put forth by your treating physician? We explain what you should do if your employer isn’t complying with your work restrictions after an on-the-job injury
Employer Not Following My Restrictions
After a work injury, you will visit a doctor who will perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine the extent of your injuries. This evaluation will be the basis of your injury claim, but it also helps to establish any restrictions. If you have limited use of an arm, leg or shoulder, your doctor may say that you can return to work so long as you don’t operate any heavy machinery or you avoid lifting more than 20 pounds. Your restrictions may be pretty broad or they may be highly specific to the tasks you perform every day at your job.
Once these restrictions have been put in place, your company needs to do a couple of things. Your employer is required to:
- Accommodate your restrictions as best as possible
- Find alternative work for you, if possible
- Provide vocational rehabilitation or training to help you transition to a new role if you will no longer be able to do your old job.
If they cannot reasonably find work within your restrictions, you will have to collect workers’ compensation until you are healthy enough to return in a full capacity. Conversely, if light duty assignments are offered, you need to accept this work, otherwise you may be viewed as turning down gainful employment, which can lead to the termination of workers’ compensation benefits.
But what happens if you have work restrictions, your employer tells you that they have light duty work that abides by your restrictions, and it turns out that the work being offered does not fall within your restrictions? For starters, have a conversation with your employer. Perhaps they overlooked some aspects of the role and can make some simple adjustments to stay within your restrictions. If that doesn’t work and you still feel like your employer is forcing you to perform work outside of your restrictions, talk with your lawyer. Whether the act is malicious or a misunderstanding, your lawyer can work to clear things up and ensure you are not at risk of suffering additional injuries as a result of your light duty work. If another lawsuit needs to be filed or a second medical evaluation needs to take place, your lawyer can help sort everything out and protect your rights.
Don’t just continue pursuing light duty work that falls outside of your restrictions, because there’s a decent chance you’ll make your injury worse, and that just keeps you out of your old role for even longer. Talk with your employer or get your lawyer involved if things simply aren’t working out with your light duty restrictions.
For more information, or for help with a different aspect of your injury claim, reach out to the team at Hey Workers today at (844) 439-9675.