One of the most common problems people face in a worker’s comp case is the tendency for employers to utterly violate or ignore the doctor’s light duty orders. They often figure that once they have you back at work that you’re at their mercy and they can make you do anything they want. They may even be trying to pressure you into quitting your job so that they can stop paying the workers comp claim.
When this happens it’s important to fight back, and it’s important to do it in the right way. Otherwise you could either exacerbate your injury or lose your job.
What are light duty restrictions?
You may be able to return to work before you have reached maximum medical improvement. Many employees prefer to do this when their disability award is much lower than the money they’d make at work.
In many cases you have to return to work as soon as you’re medically able to retain your other benefits.
Yet if you haven’t reached MMI then doctors may help you along by outlining restrictions on the kind of work you can do. Employers are supposed to honor these “light duty” restrictions. For example, your doctor may indicate you should not lift any object over 50 pounds.
How are employers supposed to handle light duty restrictions?
New Jersey law requires employers to accommodate these restrictions to the best of their ability and to allow a workers comp claimant to remain at work without termination as long as they continue to do their light duty work in an acceptable fashion. They may even be required to provide new vocational training.
Keep in mind that you should get updated restrictions at each appointment as you gradually get better. Doing this provides future evidence that you are attempting to do your job to the best of your ability.
How can you fight back when employers violate light duty restrictions?
There are several steps you can take.
First, remind your supervisor of your restrictions. If your immediate supervisor is causing the problem, go to their immediate supervisor.
Then notify your case manager that you’re being pressured to return to work.
Finally, notify your attorney. If you don’t have one yet, now is the time to find one. You are dealing with an employer who isn’t going to deal fairly with you, and you may need an attorney’s help to ensure you don’t lose your income or your workers comp support.
Get Help Today
Talone Law has helped dozens of New Jersey residents fight back when employers treat them unfairly. If you’ve been injured at work, call us.