If you were injured on the job, reported the accident to your employer, received the medical attention you needed, and are now approaching the end of your convalescence, there may be the option to take on light duty work as your condition improves. Light duty assignments can serve a few purposes. For the employer, assigning an employee who has been out on workers’ compensation light duty work can reduce their costs, but the employer is not required to do so. For the employee, light duty work allows them to be productive again without returning to their full work duties.
If your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer assigned you to light duty work. they likely believe that your condition is approaching MMI (maximum medical improvement), so they are easing you back to work.
Before the doctor can give you light duty restrictions, they must see the job description and decide if it fits within your current physical limitations. For example, if the doctor has limited you to lifting no more than 10 lbs., a light duty assignment that requires the ability to lift 20 lbs. would not be appropriate. The Tennessee Department of Labor rules requires that the authorized treating physician’s instructions and restrictions be followed always when it comes to light duty work assignments.
An employer is not required to offer a light duty assignment, and an employee is not required to take a light duty assignment that violates their doctor’s restrictions.
When you are out of work collecting workers’ compensation benefits, it creates a financial burden for your employer and their insurer. Insurance companies can put pressure on their doctors to assign workers to light duty assignments as soon as possible so they can reduce the amount of money they have to pay out for that employee. If you were injured doing your job, you have the right to take as much time as medically necessary to recover from your injuries before you return to work. Sometimes, light duty assignments can interfere with the healing process.
Until you have reached MMI, you can continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you do find a light duty assignment that fits your medical restrictions, but it pays less than you would receive from your disability benefits, or if the so-called light duty assignment is still too strenuous for you, it might be time to consult with a Chattanooga workers’ compensation lawyer who can advise you on how to proceed.
At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, we do not want you to experience any additional frustration. When you call our firm, you speak to a Chattanooga workers’ compensation attorney directly. You work with your lawyer one-on-one. To learn more, contact us today by calling 423-756-7923 or by using our contact form. We serve clients in North Georgia, Cleveland, TN, Chattanooga and all surrounding counties.